CLEMSON, South Carolina — Clemson University graduates Courtney Fink and Jenna Kohles have received prestigious Fulbright Awards to teach in Europe.

Fink, of Orland Park, Illinois, graduated from Clemson in 2016 with a degree in history, a minor in Spanish and a degree in secondary education. She will be a teaching assistant at I.E.S. (Institute of Secondary Education) Manuel Fraga Iribarne in Spain. Her main job will be to prepare students for the model U.N. program.

During her time as an undergraduate Fink was a volunteer at Clemson Community Care, section editor for TAPS Yearbook, a member of Calhoun Honors College and a Campus Advance Christian Ministry small group leader.

“I had no idea when my adviser, Dr. Meng, suggested I should pursue a Fulbright grant how that one moment would change my future,” Fink said. “The Fulbright grant gave me a specific dream and direction for my future abroad. I am incredibly grateful for the faculty who inspired my passion for Spanish, education and international travel, as well as the faculty who guided me and supported me as I pursued the Fulbright grant.”

Kohles, of Cary, North Carolina, earned her 2015 degree in wildlife and fisheries biology. She received many awards during her time at Clemson, such as the Research Experience in the Tropics fellowship, the Most Outstanding Undergraduate award and the Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation award.

Kohles will use her Fulbright grant to begin a master’s program in biology with a focus in ecology, evolution and behavior at the University of Konstanz and Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany. Her thesis research in the lab of Dina Dechmann will explore the social lives of a common bat species. This research will help predict how bat colonies can persist through emerging environmental stresses such as climate change, habitat destruction and disease.

“I am really grateful for my time and experience at Clemson for preparing me for this Fulbright opportunity in Germany,” Kohles said. “Through study and collaboration with an international research network I hope to answer larger questions regarding social behavior in wild bat populations and foster global connectivity for our ongoing efforts to protect and conserve these cryptic animals.”

Fink’s future plans include teaching Spanish to U.S. middle or high school students. Kohles hopes to pursue a Ph.D. program in animal behavior.

In existence since 1946, the Fulbright Student Program is the U.S. Government’s premier program of international education and exchange, offering opportunities for study, research and language teaching in more than 155 countries. According to Clemson’s Fulbright Program adviser, Stephen Wainscott, “the selection of Courtney and Jenna is a testament not just to their academic excellence, but, more importantly to their commitment to the Fulbright mission: fostering mutual understanding and good will between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

For more information about the Fulbright Student Program, contact Wainscott at shwns@clemson.edu.

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