Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Three graduating Transylvania University seniors and one alumna will travel to Asia in the fall to teach English through grants from the highly competitive Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program.

Thomas Amburn from Fisherville, Ky., will travel to Thailand; Courtney Marshall from Louisville will go to Malaysia; Rachel Smith from Mayfield, Ky., will head to South Korea; and 2013 graduate Leslie Bartley from Bardstown, Ky., will be in India.

All four of the recipients spent time abroad during their Transylvania careers studying and tutoring. They were chosen in part because of their extensive community service and campus leadership. They will teach English for the 2015-16 academic year.

The Fulbright program, sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, was established in 1946 by legislation introduced by Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. Its purpose is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries.

More than 1,900 U.S. citizens will travel abroad for the 2015-16 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.

Fulbright recipients

Amburn participated the TUTORS (Transylvania University Tutoring Organization for Refugee Students) program and volunteered as an English conversation tutor in China, Hong Kong and Cambodia during the summers. He plans to attend medical school and eventually train aspiring physicians in rural Southeast Asia. Ambrun graduates in May with a chemistry degree and minors in Asian studies and biology.

Bartley studied in India while at Transylvania and has spent the past two years as an AmeriCorps literacy coach and tutor at Tates Creek Middle School in Lexington. She plans to establish a virtual pen pal network between Tates Creek and Indian students. Bartley, who plans to pursue a graduate degree in social work and a career in education, earned a degree in writing, rhetoric and communication. 

Marshall participated in the TUTORS program and volunteered as a tutor in Jamaica. She has also worked with Foodchain and Seventh Street Kids’ Cafe in Lexington. Marshall plans to pursue an advanced degree in public health and infectious disease studies. Marshall graduates in May with degrees in biology and Spanish and a minor in chemistry.

Smith, who was born in South Korea, studied at Yonsei University in Seoul. She has studied Chinese and Korean and volunteered as an English teacher at the Seoul Senior Citizens Welfare Center. Smith, who plans to pursue an advanced degree in international media and work in journalism, graduates in May with a degree in international affairs and a minor in writing, rhetoric and communication.