UCA alumna earns Fulbright Award

CONWAY– A recent graduate from the University of Central Arkansas has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award for the 2023-24 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Shelby Morris

Shelby Morris of McAlester, Oklahoma, has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA).

Morris earned a degree in elementary education this May, with a minor in honors interdisciplinary studies. During the 2023-24 academic year, she plans to use the ETA to teach English and American culture in Taiwan, China.

Morris is one of over 800 U.S. scholars who will study, conduct research and teach abroad for the 2023-24 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected in a merit-based competition that considers academic and professional achievement, as well as their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

“I have dreamt of becoming a ‘Fulbrighter’ since my first semester at UCA. Before completing my honors capstone, I described the Fulbright application as the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Morris. “Still, it hadn’t stopped me from anything so far, so I carried on with encouragement and sound mentorship from my recommenders, Dr. Story Matkin-Rawn, Dr. Vaughn Scribner and Dr. Allison Wallace. Without their support, I would not have stepped within a mile of this feat.”

Throughout her time at UCA, Morris was involved with Student Government Association (SGA), she served as a representative for the College of Education during the 2022-23 academic year, and she acted as an Honors College ambassador from 2020-23. Over the years, she has also helped out as a local volunteer, offering a hand to both the City Church elementary and middle school ministries. 

“Though I come from a family of educators, I am the first to receive the Fulbright and to teach overseas,” said Morris. “My accomplishments reflect the decades of work my parents and grandparents have done before me. I am enormously proud to honor their efforts within their own careers by striving for success in mine. UCA has allowed me to reach that goal and I look forward to repping the Bears in Taiwan!”