By Marie Sutton
A University of Alabama at Birmingham student has been named to an elite group that includes heads of state, CEOs and Nobel Prize winners. Krish Varma, a senior majoring in economics and Spanish, has been awarded a 2011 Fulbright scholarship to teach in India for a year.
"I feel pretty lucky," said Varma, a 21-year-old Mobile resident. His mother, Jyotsna Varma, M.D., called him with the news. "I was elated and very humbled."
The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. government, gives students the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research overseas as part of the organization's goal to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. Participants are selected based on academic merit and leadership potential and help contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
Varma, a member of the University Honors Program, is the 14th UAB student to receive this honor since 1993.
"Krish exemplifies the caliber of students coming to UAB in increasing numbers to prepare for dynamic careers and leadership roles that impact our state, nation and world," said UAB President Carol Z. Garrison. "His appointment reflects UAB's continued tradition of academic excellence and commitment to serving our local and global community."
Varma, who graduates in May, will go to Washington, D.C., in June for orientation and then to India in July. While abroad, he will teach English to middle- and high-school students. And, as part of his service project, Varma plans to form a youth dance group based on a fusion of hip-hop, jazz and Bollywood music.
"I love to dance and want to share this with the students there," said Varma, who is of Indian descent.
This won't be Varma's first trip to India. He spent the summer at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Jaipur and studied Hindi on a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship. Varma plans to go to law school and work in international trade.