University of Central Arkansas

UCA alumna earns Fulbright Award

Conway Institute of Music

CONWAY– A recent graduate from the University of Central Arkansas has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award for the 2023-24 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Shelby Morris of McAlester, Oklahoma, has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA).

Morris earned a degree in elementary education this May, with a minor in honors interdisciplinary studies. During the 2023-24 academic year, she plans to use the ETA to teach English and American culture in Taiwan, China.

Shelby Morris
Shelby Morris

Morris is one of over 800 U.S. scholars who will study, conduct research and teach abroad for the 2023-24 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected in a merit-based competition that considers academic and professional achievement, as well as their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

“I have dreamt of becoming a ‘Fulbrighter’ since my first semester at UCA. Before completing my honors capstone, I described the Fulbright application as the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Morris. “Still, it hadn’t stopped me from anything so far, so I carried on with encouragement and sound mentorship from my recommenders, Dr. Story Matkin-Rawn, Dr. Vaughn Scribner and Dr. Allison Wallace. Without their support, I would not have stepped within a mile of this feat.”

Throughout her time at UCA, Morris was involved with Student Government Association (SGA), she served as a representative for the College of Education during the 2022-23 academic year, and she acted as an Honors College ambassador from 2020-23. Over the years, she has also helped out as a local volunteer, offering a hand to both the City Church elementary and middle school ministries.

“Though I come from a family of educators, I am the first to receive the Fulbright and to teach overseas,” said Morris. “My accomplishments reflect the decades of work my parents and grandparents have done before me. I am enormously proud to honor their efforts within their own careers by striving for success in mine. UCA has allowed me to reach that goal and I look forward to repping the Bears in Taiwan!”

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered at UCA through the Department of Exemplary Studies.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given more than 390,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all disciplines while building relationships, knowledge and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 60 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 88 who have received Pulitzer Prizes and 37 who have served as a head of state or government. In the United States, the Institute of International Education supports the implementation of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, including conducting an annual competition for scholarships.

For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit

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