Record number of UAB students and alumni selected for prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program

UAB has set a new institutional record for Fulbright Scholarship finalists.
Written by: Karen Templeton
Media contact: Yvonne Taunton

2560x800 fullbright banner 1Eight University of Alabama at Birmingham students and recent alumni have been selected to receive Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards. This is the largest cohort of Fulbright recipients from UAB in a single year. An additional four students have been named alternates.  

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants to study, teach and conduct research in more than 160 countries. This year, more than 2,100 United States citizens were selected for awards on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

During their time with the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, UAB scholars will work, live with and learn from the people in their host countries. The program’s goal is to promote mutual understanding through academic exchange and community engagement.   

“I am impressed by the diversity of academic programs — Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Public Health, and Health Professions — found within our group of recipients,” said Ashley Kuntz, Ph.D., director of UAB’s National and International Fellowships and Scholarships. “It’s exciting to see students from nearly every corner of campus pursuing international teaching, study and research opportunities.”

Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all disciplines while building relationships, knowledge and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 59 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 84 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.

“We are thrilled to have set a new institutional record in Fulbright recipients,” said Suzanne Austin, Ph.D., senior vice provost and senior international officer, UAB Office of the Provost. “Our scholars stood out in a highly competitive selection process, and that speaks volumes about their dedication and talent as well as the incredible support and opportunities at UAB. I’m grateful to our faculty and the National and International Scholarships and Fellowships team for walking our students through this process.”

Five finalists along with two alternates are all part of the UAB Honors College.

Recipients include:

  • Grace Kennedy (medicine): Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowship in public health, Ghana
  • Kenneth Davis (chemistry, mathematics): study/research scholarship, Germany
  • Garrett Sager (physics, neuroscience): study/research scholarship, Germany
  • John Stephen Hutchinson (international studies, individually designed major): English teaching assistantship, Germany
  • Martha Cati Pudner (international studies): English teaching assistantship, Russia
  • Riley Yager (physics, civil engineering): study/research scholarship, Poland
  • Ayla McCay (international studies): study/research scholarship, South Korea
  • Kerri Tang (public health): study/research scholarship, Germany

Alternates include:

  • Andrew MacLean (foreign languages): English teaching assistantship, Peru
  • Tamara Montes (biology): English teaching assistantship, Peru
  • Sandra Cutts (civil engineering): study/research scholarship, Greece
  • Stephanie Diei (biomedical sciences): English teaching assistantship, Thailand 

“UAB is dedicated to innovation and the proliferation of knowledge, as well as improving our local community and global society,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “These impressive students and their academic pursuits reflect that commitment, and we are proud to have them represent UAB around the world. Their experiences while studying, teaching and conducting research abroad will help prepare them for dynamic careers and leadership roles in their fields.”

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given more than 390,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. In the United States, the Institute of International Education supports the implementation of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, including conducting an annual competition for the scholarships.       

For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit