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SLCL-affiliated graduates among 14 Fulbright grant recipients

7/28/2017  8:00 am

{Pictured: Maura Benson.}

 

Two U of I graduates with connections to the SLCL are among 14 current Illinois students or recent graduates who have been offered student Fulbright grants to pursue international educational, research and teaching experiences this coming year throughout Eastern and Western Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.

Maura Benson, of Mount Prospect, Ill., will participate in the program this fall as an English teaching assistant in Mexico. A graduate of Prospect High School, Benson in May 2016 earned a B.A. in Spanish with a chemistry minor as a James Scholar in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. At Illinois, Benson was an active mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and also served as the president of the Illinois women’s club basketball team.

She is currently serving with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps at the Workers Defense Project in Austin, Texas, where she advocates for the rights of immigrant workers in the construction industry. Long-term, Benson plans to practice nursing and eventually teach future nursing students at the university level while researching ways to remove health care barriers for low-income immigrants.

Kimberly Sam, of River Forest, Ill., and a graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct medical research in Ecuador. Sam’s project seeks to highlight the effects of high altitude on stroke patients and the community, and to explore ways to develop specialized neuro-critical units to care for these individuals.

A first-generation college student, Sam in May 2017 earned a B.S. in molecular and cellular biology in the honors concentration with minors in chemistry and Spanish.

The flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is designed to build international relations to solve global challenges. Based on their academic and professional achievement, as well as their demonstrated leadership potential, approximately 2,000 U.S. citizens will travel abroad for the 2017-18 academic year through the Fulbright program.