Recent Recipients - Coastal Carolina University
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Fulbright Student Award

Coastal Carolina University alumna Sydney Madden was recently named a 2023-24 Fulbright U.S. Program Student. For 10 months, beginning in March 2024, Madden will conduct research with the Discovery Bay Marine Lab (DBML) team at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. Her project focuses on monitoring, fragmentation, and restoration of the EcoReef, Discovery Bay’s artificial reef.

A native of Glen Burnie, Md., Madden graduated magna cum laude in August 2022 from the HTC Honors College and the Gupta College of Science with a Bachelor of Science dual degree in marine science and biology, a minor in environmental studies, and a certificate in sustainability. She won one of two Fulbright research grants to Jamaica.

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Boren and Gilman Scholar

Christian SimmonsCoastal Carolina University senior Christian Simmons, from Lexington, S.C., was recently awarded a David L. Boren Scholarship and Gilman International Scholarship. He received funding to study business Spanish at Casco Antiguo Spanish School in Panama City, Panama, for a year. Simmons is a senior in the HTC Honors College, Wall College of Business, and Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts. He is majoring in accounting and languages and intercultural studies with a Hispanic studies concentration.

The Boren Awards, an initiative of the Defense Language and National Security Education Office, support U.S. undergraduate and graduate students in the acquisition of language skills and experience in countries critical to the security and stability of the United States. In exchange for funding, Boren Scholars and Fellows agree to work in the federal government for at least one year. 

The Gilman International Scholarship Program enables students to study or intern abroad, providing them with skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity. Awards range up to $5,000 for study, research, or internship support abroad, with an additional $3,000 if students study a critical language as part of their experience.

Simmons competed with 538 applicants for the Boren Scholarship for undergraduates. He was one of eight selected from South Carolina and the only student in the nation awarded the scholarship to study Spanish.

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Critical Language, Gilman, and MOE Huayu Scholar

Vanessa Venegas SorianoVenegas-Soriano, a senior from Conway, S.C., is a languages and intercultural studies major with minors in Asian studies and peace and conflict studies. She was selected for the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Mandarin this summer in an eight-week intensive language and cultural immersion group-based program at the National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan. She has been studying in Taiwan at the National Taiwan University in Taipei since March after earning the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and Ministry of Education Huayu Enrichment Scholarship.

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NALCAP Participants

A Coastal Carolina University student and recent graduate have gained acceptance into an international program that will take them to Spain as teaching assistants and cultural ambassadors. Alexia Pistachio-Carrasquillo, a senior marine science major and biology minor who will graduate in August, and Logan Bellos, who earned a bachelor’s degree in languages and intercultural studies in May 2023, will participate in the North American Language and Culture Assistants Program (NALCAP) during the 2023-24 academic year, with a potential option to extend the appointment. NALCAP is a public diplomacy program sponsored by the Embassy of Spain’s Education Office. It places American college students and recent graduates in schools throughout Spain to advance language learning and mutual understanding through cultural exchange.

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Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship Recipient

Sanaa Chambers, a Coastal Carolina University sophomore theatre arts major with a physical theatre concentration, will study in Arezzo, Italy, during the 2023-2024 academic year with the assistance of a $10,000 NAFSA Tamara H. Bryant Memorial Scholarship Award from the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) and NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The endowed scholarship was established in 2019 to provide study abroad opportunities for African-American undergraduate students.

Chambers, from Jacksonville, Fla., was one of 89 students selected from over 1,300 applicants nationwide. She is the first CCU student to earn an FEA scholarship. The FEA provides scholarships and ongoing support to students who are underrepresented among the U.S. study abroad population.

During her year abroad, Chambers will continue her training in physical theatre and commedia dell’arte in the conservatory program at Accademia dell’Arte, located in the Tuscany region of Italy. Accademia dell’Arte is an exchange partner through CCU’s Center for Global Engagement.

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Gilman Scholar

Jada ForbesJada Forbes was awarded the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The Gilman International Scholarship Program enables students to study or intern abroad, providing them with skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity. Awards range up to $5,000 for study, research, or internship support abroad, with an additional $3,000 if students study a critical language as part of their experience.

Forbes, from Upper Marlboro, Md., is a senior majoring in exercise and sport science in CCU’s Conway Medical Center College of Health and Human Performance. In mid-June, she began shadowing a physical therapist at the Metropolitan General Hospital in Athens, Greece, as part of a five-week physical therapy internship through Cerca Abroad. This is Forbes’ first experience outside of the United States and will allow her to learn from practitioners around the world and expand her global perspective.

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CLS Spark Recipient

Sierra MasonIn the CLS Spark program, undergraduate students spend eight weeks studying Arabic, Chinese, or Russian virtually at the beginning level. Mason, an intelligence and national security studies major with minors in cybersecurity, journalism, and social studies, will study Russian virtually through the American Councils for International Education in Chisinau, Moldova.

Mason, a first-generation college student from Bedford, Va., was a recipient of the 2022 Rae McArthur Award, presented to a CCU freshman or sophomore student who embodies the Department of Intelligence and Security Studies’ core values and demonstrates the commitment, perseverance, and drive of McArthur. Mason holds several leadership roles on campus, including finance officer and head of the Europe desk for the Chanticleer Intelligence Brief, vice president of communications for Women in National Security, and vice president for the International Association for Intelligence Education Zeta Chapter.

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Learn more about our past national scholarship recipients by clicking here.