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Ole Miss Senior Earns Fulbright Award Honor

A University of Mississippi student is set to study and teach next year in Moldova, thanks to the 2020 U.S. Fulbright Student Program.

William “Wills” Hay, a senior public policy leadership major with minors in Russian and intelligence and security studies, is a Fulbright award recipient. A West Point native, Hay will be an English teaching assistant, or ETA, in the Eastern European country, once a Soviet republic.

University of Mississippi senior William Hay plans to use his 2020 Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Moldova. Submitted photo.

Outside the classroom, Wills will work in the community to develop extracurricular activities depending on age group. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the beginning of Hay’s nine-month term has been delayed until January 2021.

“The Fulbright offers a platform for individual growth and community engagement,” Hay said. “These two aspects sparked my interest in the program. I am blessed to receive an opportunity to better myself and those around me.”

Hay is eager to highlight Ole Miss staff members who supported his application and interview process.

“Dr. Vivian Ibrahim, professor Ashleen Williams and Mr. Tim Dolan helped me begin this journey last July,” he said. “These incredible mentors and advisers ensured my application would hold up against immense scrutiny. I would not have gotten this far without all three of them.”

The highly selective program chooses college or university seniors, graduate and terminal degree students from the U.S. to study or teach English around the globe.

“Wills is an exceptionally qualified candidate for the ETA in Moldova,” said Ibrahim, director of the UM Office of National Scholarship Advisement. “His commitment to learning Russian and his prior civic engagement means that he will make a great cultural ambassador during his Fulbright.”

Hay will receive his bachelor’s degree in public policy leadership from Ole Miss in May.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries. The program’s primary source of funding is an annual appropriation made by Congress to the U.S. Department of State and its Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

“Working through the Office of National Scholarship advisement, the Fulbright awards offer students the opportunity to engage as global citizens and implement the university’s commitment to experiential learning,” Ibrahim said.

Students interested in applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Award are encouraged to contact the Office of National Scholarship Advisement at vibrahim@olemiss.edu.

By Edwin B. Smith, UM Communications

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