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UNF student receives prestigious Fulbright Scholarship

himmelreich headshotThe University of North Florida is pleased to announce that Kaitlynn Himmelreich has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award in Education for the 2020-21 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Himmelreich graduated Summa Cum Laude from UNF this May and earned two degrees, a Bachelor of Arts in Deaf Education and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. She was an active member of UNF’s Hicks Honors College and the recipient of several awards for academic excellence throughout her collegiate career.

She will conduct research abroad for the 2020-21 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields. 

“We are very proud of Kaitlynn—she availed herself of experiences that the Hicks Honors College offers, such as funded study abroad and funded undergraduate research, in order to become the exceptional scholar and global citizen that made her competitive for this award,” said Dr. Jeffery Chamberlain, dean of UNF’s Hicks Honors College.

For her Fulbright project, Himmelreich will travel to Cambodia to conduct her research titled “Cambodian Sign Language: Development Process and Impacts on Deaf Cambodians.” Through this research, she seeks to satisfy a need for accessible instructional tools to teach Cambodian Sign Language to Cambodia’s population of over 51,000 Deaf people. Specifically, she is interested in developing a tool that can provide access to language learning for Deaf Cambodians who reside in rural provinces.

While in Cambodia, Himmelreich will collaborate with faculty at Cambodia Mekong University in Phnom Penh and with the co-directors at the Deaf Development Programme, a non-government organization that provides education, job training and community development activities for the Deaf population in Cambodia.

“Kaitlynn is an incredibly devoted student. It was an honor to work with her to secure this grant and help fulfill her mission of working with the Deaf community,” said Dr. Tiffany Kershner, associate director of fellowships in Hicks Honors College and administrator of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program at UNF.

Himmelreich, a 2016 graduate of Bishop Kenny High School, is UNF’s third Fulbright recipient and first recipient of a research grant. UNF’s previous recipients, Amanda Wind (2018) and Erica Langston (2011) were awarded English Teaching Assistantship awards to Thailand and Bulgaria, respectively.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. 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 and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. 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.