By Alyssa Freyman
For the Forsyth County News
Most college graduates dream of traveling the world. Cumming resident Kendall Chamberlain is able to fulfill this dream through her acceptance into the Fulbright Summer Institute.
The Fulbright program is considered to be one of the most prestigious scholarships awarded. The Fulbright Summer Institute covers airfare to and from the UK, tuition and fees at one of the universities in the UK and accommodation. Chamberlain, who graduated from West Forsyth High School and currently attends Kennesaw State University as a journalism and emerging media major, was inspired to apply by the dean of the Honors College and her professor Dr. Rita Bailey.
“She (Dr. Rita Bailey) shared with me that she saw potential in me to be able to achieve what was already a dream and goal of mine, and that was to earn a prestigious fellowship/scholarship such as the Fulbright, Mitchell, Rhodes, etc.,” Chamberlain said. “I have never traveled outside of the United States, so I was immediately drawn to this program (Fulbright Summer Institute) as it would grant me the opportunity to not only travel, but to study and learn about facet.”
Chamberlain will be fulfilling this dream by attending Queen’s University in Ireland for four weeks. The application process was anything but easy. Along with fulfilling requirements, such as be a U.S. citizen or have a U.S. passport, have a minimum GPA of 3.7, be at least 18, and have at least two years of undergraduate study left after participating in the summer program, an applicant must also write a series of essays. One of the essays asked Chamberlain to write about a U.S. current affairs issue that she was passionate about, for which she wrote about something personal.
“I wrote mine on childhood cancer and the lack of funding that it receives for research,” Chamberlain said. “I became an advocate for the cause after losing my best friend to childhood cancer our freshman year of high school.”
After passing a series of rounds, Chamberlain finally got the exciting news of her acceptance.
“I was in complete disbelief,” Chamberlain said. “I received the email notifying me of my acceptance in my Writing for Public Communication class and had to have my friends that I sit with read it to reassure me that I was reading it correctly, because it seemed too good to be true.”
Now that she has been accepted into the summer program, Chamberlain is preparing to leave the country for the first time. At Queen’s University, she will be on the Irish Studies track, where she will be learning in the classroom and on various field trips. She looks forward to being immersed in the Irish culture and exploring the land.
In the interview process for the program, Chamberlain was asked what she would do in her free time, to which she replied “absolutely everything and anything that I possibly can.”
Participants of the Fulbright Summer Institute also have the chance to gain credit for their universities in the U.S. by being assessed when they get back from the UK.
Chamberlain doesn’t take all of the credit for her being accepted into the program. The staff of Kennesaw State University and her family are the ones who Chamberlain believes got her this far.“I truly believe that I would not be here without the help and support of my village,” Chamberlain said. “My family is the most supportive one I believe you will ever find, with my parents always encouraging, challenging, believing in, and pushing me beyond what I even believe myself to be capable of.”