Murray State University scholars selected as Fulbright program finalists

By Kaitlyn Black | May 6, 2021

Elena Hammann

Murray State University student Elena Hammann

Elena Hammann and Dylan Glunt are granted the distinct honor of representing Murray State in a U.S. student program competition


MURRAY, Ky. A pair of Murray State University students have been selected as Fulbright program finalists, receiving the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award (ETA).

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the United States government. This program provides Murray State students with grants to study, teach and conduct research in more than 160 countries. Fulbright recipients are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement and a record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. This year's award recipients also had to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language in order to qualify for the ETA programs in Colombia and Brazil.

The first finalist for the Fulbright program for this academic school year is Elena Hammann, who will complete her ETA service in Colombia. A senior from St. Louis, Missouri, Hammann is majoring in engineering physics and Spanish with a minor in mathematics. 

My grandparents met on their voyage to both of their Fulbrights in France in 1951. During my freshman year, I learned through the Honors College that they help with the Fulbright application process. After that, I decided I would apply for my senior year. My grandparents have both passed, but as soon as I found out I received this award, I felt a sweet connection to them and was excited to continue their legacy 70 years later. Who knows, maybe I'll make a lifelong connection on the way over to my Fulbright too!” Hammann said, when asked about her discovery of the Fulbright program.  

Dylan Glunt

Murray State University student Dylan Glunt

The second finalist for the Fulbright program for this academic school year is Dylan Glunt. Glunt is a December 2020 graduate from Paducah, Kentucky. During his time at Paducah Tilghman High School, he took interest in foreign languages and went on to pursue a degree in Spanish along with a teaching certification while studying Portuguese as well. Glunt currently works as an ELL teacher with Paducah Public Schools. 

Excitedly, Glunt applied for a Fulbright grant that would send him to Brazil. While there, he plans to lead projects related to media literacy as well as to begin his master’s degree in education with the University of Nottingham along with his normal duties as an English teaching assistant. Although Glunt has a rare visual impairment which has rendered him legally blind, he has made no compromises with this obstacle and has pursued his dreams, of which Fulbright is the next step. 

“Both Dylan and Elena are going to be outstanding representatives of Murray State and the United States during their service as Fulbright ETA's,” said Dr. Robert Fritz, assistant professor of Spanish. “We are proud of both of these students and thrilled that their studies of foreign languages here at Murray State has afforded them these wonderful opportunities for professional growth.”

Added Dr. Tanya Romero-Gonzalez, associate professor of Spanish: “I met Elena Hammann in the Spring of 2016 when she took my SPA 202 course. It was apparent to me that she would excel in any field she chose to major in and I was really happy when she declared a second major in Spanish, as well as in Engineering. Dylan Glunt has been an outstanding student in our Spanish/Teaching Certification track and his vocation to become a teacher has been a constant ever since he joined our program. He also has an innate ability for languages, and witnessing Mr. Glunt develop and master his linguistic and pedagogical skills has been an absolute pleasure.”

"The Fulbright Scholarship ETA (English Teaching) Program is an excellent opportunity to combine living abroad, serving others and representing your culture in exchange for experiencing another culture,” said Carole Inman, student development counselor in the University’s Honors College.

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