Three students from MSU selected as Fulbright finalists

Jenny Baldwin (Submitted photo)
Hanna Clark portrait
Hanna Clark (Photo by Jonah Holland)
Valencia Epps portrait
Valencia Epps (Photo by Grace Cockrell)

Chelsea, Michigan native Hanna Clark, along with Jenny Baldwin from Madison, Alabama, and Starkville’s Valencia Epps, have been selected as recipients of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants for the academic year 2024-2025.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum praised the students for attaining this prestigious accolade.

“Mississippi State students lay a solid groundwork for their education, and we urge them to expand their horizons without limits. Their journey to pursue their aspirations and turn their dreams into reality knows no bounds,” Keenum expressed. “I am confident that these exceptional students will represent our institution with excellence as part of this distinguished group of scholars. I also extend my gratitude to our faculty who have instructed, mentored, and equipped them for this enriching opportunity.”

Clark, who specializes in educational leadership, will be matched with a secondary school in Thailand under the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program. A graduate of Central Michigan University in 2020, she previously worked as an English as a Second Language teacher at the Al’iikhwa School in Israel and interned at The Foundation for Older Persons’ Development in Thailand. A semifinalist for the 2020-2021 Fulbright program and a certified teacher in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Clark is anticipated to graduate in May.

Baldwin, presently an English as a Second Language and substitute K-12 teacher in Alabama, will be connected with a secondary school in the German state of Hesse through the ETA program. She has prior experience teaching English to German students during her role as a counselor and leader for Camps for Friends based in Munich, Germany. Baldwin also undertook individual study-abroad trips to the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Germany during her undergraduate years. A former Dean’s and President’s Scholar, Baldwin earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary English education accompanied by a minor in linguistics from MSU in 2023.

Epps, a Stephen D. Lee Scholar and member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, will collaborate with South Korea’s Mokpo National University to study English-Korean co-teaching with the aim of enhancing collaboration and professional well-being for native Koreans and English-speaking expatriates from other countries. She previously served as an after-school English teacher in South Korea through the Teach and Learn in Korea program from 2018-2020 and obtained both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education from MSU in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

“Our ongoing success in the Fulbright U.S. student program truly reflects how MSU’s educational offerings, international study opportunities, and research initiatives adequately prepare our students to engage with the Fulbright program’s central objective of fostering mutual understanding between nations through cultural exchange,” stated David Hoffman, director of MSU’s Office of Prestigious External Scholarships. “It is especially gratifying to observe that the three awardees hail from the College of Education, as they are certain to bring back insights from their international encounters to benefit classrooms, students, and educational institutions in Mississippi and beyond.”

The Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s premier international educational exchange initiative, receives support from individuals in the U.S. and partnering nations globally. It is financed through an annual allocation by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, with additional backing from participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations worldwide.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has enabled over 400,000 individuals from more than 160 countries to pursue educational opportunities, teaching engagements, research endeavors, idea exchanges, and collaborations to address common international challenges.

For more details regarding the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State, visit eca.state.gov/fulbright.

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