Florida Southern College


Learning Outside the Lecture Hall: Empowering Students Through Engaged Learning

LAKELAND, Fla. (Feb. 28, 2022) – The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has again named Florida Southern College a top producer of Fulbright U.S. Students for the 2021-2022 academic year. The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program. With a focus on engaged learning, Florida Southern empowers students to join the countless leaders and changemakers who carry forward the Fulbright mission of enhancing mutual understanding.

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FSC Top Producer of Fulbright Students

“It is a tremendous honor for Florida Southern College to achieve distinction as a top producer of students being selected for Fulbright awards,” said Dr. Anne B. Kerr, president of Florida Southern College. “FSC has world-class talent among our student body, with students who have stellar abilities and educational experiences that will support their aspirations to make a positive and consequential impact on society. The Fulbright experiences are transformational for the participants and provide a profound global perspective in their respective areas of study. Our FSC learning community is also enriched as they return to share all they have learned, as well as impart this knowledge in their future professions and communities.”

Three students from Florida Southern College received Fulbright awards for academic year 2021-2022, including Anya Larson ’21 and Cesar Maldonado ’21. Fulbright grant recipient Anya Larson is working as an English Teaching Assistant in the autonomous Spanish communities of the Canary Islands, off the coast of northwestern Africa. Cesar Maldonado traveled to Taiwan for his one-year adventure in the English Teaching Assistant program, which began in the fall of 2021. Additionally, two students, Zoe Perkins ’21 and Catherine Stogner ’21, were named as Fulbright alternates.

The Fulbright Program was established over 75 years ago to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

In related news, the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program selected Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies Dr. Beth Gibbs of Florida Southern College as the recipient of a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award for Teaching. During the spring semester of 2022, Dr. Gibbs is working as an instructor and collaborating with conductors and their regional choirs in northern Spain.

Dr. Beth Gibbs

Dr. Beth Gibbs is the recipient of a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award for Teaching and is currently in Spain.

“I am both proud and encouraged when our students and faculty achieve these kinds of distinctions,” said Dr. Brad E. Hollingshead, provost and vice president for academic affairs at FSC. “Such accomplishments demonstrate that the learning environment at Florida Southern empowers students and faculty to contribute to their world in positive ways, and it is so exciting to see faculty and students living our mission as they go out and make a concrete difference in people’s lives.”

The first Florida Southern student participated in the Fulbright Program in 1949, studying political science in France. Since then, nine other graduating seniors or recent FSC alumni have taken part in the program, serving as cultural ambassadors in Mexico, Thailand, Taiwan, Ghana, France, the Slovak Republic, the Netherlands, and Spain. FSC twice has been included among U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most Fulbright U.S. Students: in 2018, when four of FSC’s applicants were selected, and in 2019, when three new grantees were named and a 2018 participant was renewed for an additional year.

Currently, a total of 11 FSC students and recent graduates have submitted applications to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, a record number for the College. Seven of those applicants have been selected as semifinalists. Dr. Rebecca Brevard, associate professor of English, directs the Fulbright competition at Florida Southern College.

About Florida Southern College

Founded in 1883, Florida Southern College is the oldest private college in the state. The College maintains its commitment to academic excellence through 70+ undergraduate programs and distinctive graduate programs in business administration, education, nursing, and physical therapy. Florida Southern has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio, is an award-winning national leader in engaged learning, and boasts 30 NCAA Division II National Championships. Florida Southern is ranked at #8 among the “Best Regional Universities in the South” by U.S. News & World Report in its 2022 “Best Colleges” guide and is included in The Princeton Review’s 2022 Best 387 Colleges guide and the “Fiske Guide to Colleges 2022.” The 2021-2022 Colleges of Distinction guidebook praises Florida Southern’s AACSB accredited Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise alongside the College’s School of Education and its Ann Blanton Edwards School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Poets&Quants, U.S. News & World Report, Fortune, and The Princeton Review further laud the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise and the Ann Blanton Edwards School of Nursing and Health Sciences as foremost programs in the nation for business and nursing education. Home to the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, FSC has appeared on The Princeton Review’s top 20 “Most Beautiful Campus” national listing for 12 consecutive years. Connect with Florida Southern College.

About Fulbright

Fulbright is active in more than 160 countries worldwide and partners with participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States. Many of these organizations also provide direct and indirect support. ECA sponsors the Fulbright program, and several non-profit, cooperative partners implement and support the program on the Bureau’s behalf. For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit eca.state.gov/fulbright.