February 28, 2021

COVID Delays, But Fails to Deter Fulbright Scholars

2019 alumna Hannah Rothwell is one of several recent UMW graduates going abroad as a Fulbright Scholar this year. The international program recently announced that educational exchanges would continue after being halted last year due to the pandemic.

2019 alumna Hannah Rothwell is one of several recent UMW graduates going abroad as a Fulbright Scholar this year. The international program recently announced that educational exchanges would continue after being halted last year due to the pandemic.

Hannah Rothwell ’19 was recently in the middle of a meeting for her internship at a D.C. think tank when she received a text out of the blue: Call the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan immediately.

Rothwell, who majored in economics and international affairs at the University of Mary Washington, was suddenly flooded with memories of being named months earlier as an alternate for a Fulbright award. Knowing she was only a backup and that COVID-19 had suspended all Fulbright endeavors, she had “put it completely out of mind.”

Despite – or, possibly, due to – COVID, Rothwell learned she was needed in Uzbekistan, formerly part of the Soviet Union, as soon as possible to teach English under the auspices of the Fulbright.

Designed to increase mutual understanding between countries, Fulbright is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Its student exchange program is the largest for American students and young professionals who want to undertake international graduate study, advanced research or teaching English worldwide. More than 2,000 grants are awarded annually in all fields of study for the program, which operates in more than 140 countries. Read more.

About Anna Billingsley

Anna B. Billingsley, associate vice president for university relations, has worked at UMW since 2004.