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2 UK students awarded Fulbright Canada-Mitacs Research Internships

By Daily Bates and Emily Sallee 

Photos of students
Rachel Hwang, left, and Ella Brown-Terry will complete their Fulbright Canada-MITACS Globalink Research Internships this summer.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2024) — The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that Ella Brown-Terry and Rachel Hwang have received Fulbright Canada-MITACS Globalink Research Internships, which will be completed this summer.

The program provides exceptional undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct research under the supervision of Canadian university faculty members in a variety of academic disciplines.

Ella Brown-Terry

Brown-Terry, an English major in the College of Arts and Sciences and member of Lewis Honors College, will spend 12 weeks co-authoring a paper on the native Icelanders of Manitoba with Andrew McGillivray, Ph.D., at the University of Winnipeg.

The project will involve comparative analysis of early Icelandic mythology and narratives related to migration from Iceland in the 19th and 20th centuries. The goal is to better understand how Manitoban Icelanders' medieval past shaped the evolution of their collective attitudes, morals and ideals.

As a Chellgren Fellow, Brown-Terry completed research last year on constancy and the female revenger in Early Modern revenge tragedies under Emily Shortslef, Ph.D, assistant professor of English in UK Arts and Sciences.

Brown-Terry, a Gaines Fellow, will also complete a thesis project chaired by Melanie Goan, Ph.D., professor of history in UK Arts and Sciences, on life, love and cultural heritage in rural Western Kentucky’s “Land Between the Rivers.” The project will be based on letters written between her great-great grandparents during the early 20th century.

A Murray native, Brown-Terry plans to earn a Ph.D. in English, teach literature and poetry at the collegiate level, and continue to expand her understanding of research in her field.

“My first few weeks at university impressed upon me the indispensability of the humanities,” Brown-Terry said. “I realized the world would be a much harsher place without them, and my purpose is to protect them.”

Brown-Terry credits Shortslef and Shauna Morgan, Ph.D., associate professor of English, for serving as mentors during her time at UK.

Rachel Hwang

Hwang, a psychology, sociology and philosophy major in the College of Arts and Sciences, will work on the “Common Ground” project with Jared Wesley, Ph.D., of the political science department at the University of Alberta.

“We will study people’s conceptualization of the ‘average Joe’ to understand the foundations of Alberta’s political culture,” said Hwang, a Paducah native and Chellgren Fellow. “This, in turn, can help us uncover the underlying values that guide political decisions.”

During her time at UK, Hwang has worked with Angel Armenta, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology, on “Perceptions of Demographic Change, Racial Homogeneity, and Support for Abortion.”

Last summer, she participated in the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at Vanderbilt University under Emily Hencken Ritter, Ph.D., associate professor of political science.

Hwang developed an independent project titled “Global Criminal Justice Practices and Public Safety,” which received second place in the social science category in UK’s 2023-2024 Oswald Research and Creativity Competition.

“I strive to understand the psychological, sociological and philosophical elements that constitute the power structures in our society,” she said. “With this knowledge, I hope to bring awareness to these invisible control mechanisms and help change these systems for the better.”

Upon graduating from UK, Hwang plans to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology and work at a non-profit organization helping marginalized populations.

“I faced a lot of racial discrimination growing up in a small, predominantly white community,” she said. “I initially went into psychology to help those who were struggling with depression and anxiety from discrimination. When I came to college, I realized that I could be a part of the change through research and advocacy, which is what I do now and hope to continue doing in the future.”

Hwang credits Armenta and Ritter for serving as mentors during her undergraduate career and expresses gratitude to the Chellgren Center, particularly Lynn Hiler and Isabel Escobar, Ph.D., for helping her explore opportunities outside of the university and introducing her to the possibility of pursuing a global research experience.

The UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards assists current undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external fellowships and scholarships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. The major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin working with the office's director, Pat Whitlow, in advance of the scholarship deadline.

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