Two UAB students awarded Freeman-ASIA Scholarship to study abroad

Sophomore David Kovakas and freshman Dionna Walker will travel to Japan this summer to study abroad.

Written by: Tiffany Westry

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japan tsSophomore David Kovakas of Chelsea, Ala., and freshman Dionna Walker of Daphne, Ala., will spend the summer in Japan after being awarded the Freeman-ASIA Scholarship.

The Freeman Awards for Study in Asia are designed to support U.S. undergraduate students with a demonstrated financial need to study overseas in East or Southeast Asia. Both Kovakas and Walker will study in Tokyo on an official exchange program through UAB Education Abroad.

Kovakas is majoring in English in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences with a concentration in linguistics. He aspires to teach English as a second language in Japan through the JET Program.

“This scholarship will push me to significantly improve my Japanese, and I couldn’t be more excited,” Kovakas said. “Through this experience, I hope to mold myself into a more competitive applicant for all future endeavors, as well as experience a society completely opposite of my own. The lessons I will learn in Japan will surely be priceless.”

Walker, a biology and international studies major, says the opportunity will help her with current course requirements and future career goals.

“This scholarship will help meet the language proficiency requirements for my international studies major,” Walker said. “ The trip will also give me valuable experience living overseas, which will help me get my dream job of being an environmental researcher for an international, non-governmental organization.”

Walker is also in the UAB Honors College’s Science and Technology Honors Program.