Fulbright Scholar Recipient Had Plenty of Support

Apr 29, 2022

by FSC Staff

Florida Southern College continues to earn acclaim from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), with five current students and alumni earning Fulbright Scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year. The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between nations, advancing knowledge across communities, and improving lives around the world. Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. 

Catherine Stogner ’21 was close to becoming a Fulbright Scholar last year.

This year Catherine would not be denied.

Catherine, a Florida Southern College double-major in History and Political Science, with a minor in Pre-Law, did not let being selected as an alternate in 2021 stop her from putting in the work to become a Fulbright Scholar in 2022.

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program offers over 400 awards in more than 130 countries for U.S. citizens to teach, conduct research and carry out professional projects around the world.

Catherine will be headed to Montenegro to work at either a top high school in the capital of Podgorica, or a placement at the University of Montenegro in Niksic.

If Catherine gets the University position she will teach English, and if she gets the high school spot she will teach a subject, like history, in English.

Catherine is also planning on continuing her outreach and educational advising work with American Corners/EducationUSA which she was introduced to during a remote internship with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.

The hardest part about the process for Catherine came from within, however she had an enormous support system helping her along the way.

“Overall, the hardest part of any application is stopping revisions,” she said. “As long as you are proud of what you create, it takes the pressure off of waiting out the decision-making timeline, especially for the wait-intensive Fulbright. Your application is submitted in Early October and most people hear back in mid-April.  Throughout my time at Florida Southern College, I received great mentorship from my advisor and professor Dr. Zachary Baumann, who is now currently teaching at Nebraska-Wesleyan University. Without Dr. Baumann’s encouragement and guidance, I would not have had as strong of an application or education.”

Catherine remembered one conversation she had with Dr. Baumann and a fellow classmate that really stuck with her through the application process.

“One of the best pieces of advice I was given at FSC happened during a conversation Brayden Lacefield and I were having with Dr. Baumann,” she said. “They were discussing the old adage: ‘You didn’t come this far to only come this far.’ I think this is a really important mindset to have. It is motivating in a way that encourages you to build off of your prior successes. You never know what you can do until you try.”

The support did not end with Dr. Baumann.

Catherine had fellow Fulbright Scholar and Florida Southern student Morgan McDermott and a cadre of Florida Southern educators and professionals to help her along the way.

“My biggest supporter throughout both applications was Morgan McDermott,” Catherine said, referring to  a fellow FSC student currently on a Boren Scholarship to Taiwan and a recipient of the 2022-2023 Fulbright ETA Grant to Thailand. “We went through the Fulbright application process together twice and spent most of the time writing these applications together. Even just the silent writing time we shared made the application not seem as insurmountable as it first appeared. Being able to share this success with Morgan has made it even more special than if I had gone through the application process alone.”

Catherine also credits Florida Southern Assistant Professor of English Dr. Jennifer Moffitt, Assistant Professor of History Dr. Anna Caney, Associate Professor of English Dr. Rebecca Saulsbury Bravard, and Annette Pitts, who works in the Florida Southern Justice Teaching Center for Civic Learning.

Go Mocs!