Four UVM students have been awarded prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student grants for the coming academic year. Three of the students are members of the Class of 2015: Stephanie Burrows, Benjamin Teasdale and Meg Ziegler. The fourth Fulbright recipient this year is Lindsey Ruhl, who graduated with a master’s degree in soil science last December.

Stephanie Burrows ’15, a native of Georgia, Vt., has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Malaysia for next year. Burrows will assist an English language teacher in a secondary school in a rural area. As a psychological sciences major at UVM, Burrows spent many hours as a research assistant in the Social Development Lab and as the treasurer for the International Honors Society for Psychology. She also worked with children in a variety of school settings and as a personal care assistant for a child on the Autism spectrum. After her return from Malaysia, Burrows plans to attend graduate school for developmental psychology so that she can conduct cross-cultural research on Autism.

Another native Vermonter, Benjamin Teasdale ’15 of Williston, has been offered a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in rural Nepal. Teasdale will stay with a host family as part of his time in Nepal, which begins in March 2016. Even prior to the country’s recent devastating earthquakes, Teasdale was planning to spend some of his time there volunteering with Public Health Care Foundation Nepal to improve access to health care.

Teasdale is an Honors College student with a major in biochemistry. He has been highly active at UVM in medical research and in extracurricular activities and spent a year as the president of MEDVIDA, a UVM community service organization that is devoted to social justice in medicine, education and development. He took that passion with him to Uganda for two months, working for 52 Kids Foundation, an organization that focuses on increasing education, empowerment and employment in and around Kamuli. In addition to his medical-related interests, Teasdale has spent a considerable amount of time guiding children and college students on wilderness trips with the Outing Club and rock-climbing at Petra Cliffs. Upon his return from Nepal, Teasdale intends to go to graduate school in a health-related field.

Saunderstown, R.I. native, Meg Ziegler ’15 has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Thailand. A secondary education major, Ziegler will spend a full 12 months, starting in September, teaching English to schoolchildren in northern Thailand. She intends to engage her Thai students in a cross-cultural pen-pal exchange with her former students in Shelburne.

As befits her education major, this Honors College student has spent countless hours as an after-school tutor, camp counselor and as a student teacher. She served as president of the TOWER Society, UVM’s women’s honor society. Ziegler also played on the UVM Women’s Club Lacrosse team for four years and Club Frisbee team in addition to working on the Vermont Cynic. Drawing on her Honors College thesis research on establishing mutual respect between students and teachers, Ziegler looks forward to collaborating with her students to open each other’s minds to the different cultures. Upon returning from Thailand, Ziegler hopes to teach in a student-directed learning program and expand the viewpoints of her future students.

Lindsey Ruhl ’14 has also been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student grant and will be using her UVM master’s degree in soil science to conduct research in Turkey on cover crops. Ruhl plans to work with Turkish farmers to discover what, if any, plants are already used in vineyards to help improve soil quality and which types of cover crops would be most beneficial for vineyards in that climate.

Ruhl, who currently resides in Burlington, spent a year teaching English in South Korea after her graduation from Evergreen State College in Washington. From there, she discovered her passion for plant and soil science while working in an ecology lab and on farms. Since beginning her graduate degree at UVM, Ruhl has presented her research at a variety of workshops and conferences, including the Cornell Vegetable and Berry Expo in 2014. Beyond work and school, Ruhl has volunteered her time as a 4-H Science Teacher, a Disaster Action Team co-leader for the Red Cross, and as a co-founder of SUPER, Spaces Used for Public Enjoyment and Recreation. Upon returning from Turkey, she plans to resume her work with UVM Extension to encourage environmental stewardship on farms in Vermont.

These four UVM students will be part of a cohort of more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2015-2016 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.

Over the past five years, 121 UVM students and alumni have won or been finalists in prestigious national awards competitions like the Fulbright, Goldwater, Beinecke, Udall and Truman scholarships. Learn more about national fellowships advising at UVM.


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