UMW Graduates Continue Prestigious Fulbright Tradition

For three recent University of Mary Washington alumni, the next year will be one of travel, teaching, and learning a new culture. Aubrey Elliott, Peter Hawes and Michaela Sands, all 2012 graduates, are the 11th, 12th and 13th students, respectively, to receive prestigious U.S. Fulbright grants in the university’s history. The scholarships continue a tradition of Fulbright awards over the past six years.

(from left): UMW graduates Peter Hawes, Michaela Sands and Aubrey Elliott have received Fulbright grants for 2013-2014.

“This is our best showing ever, providing further evidence that UMW’s students are among the best in the nation,” said Nabil Al-Tikriti, associate professor of history. “We also should congratulate the campus Fulbright committee of Patricia Reynolds, Melina Patterson, Rosemary Jesionowski and Dianne Baker for their hard work in advising Aubrey, Michaela and Peter in the application process.”

Aubrey Elliott

Aubrey Elliott

Through the Fulbright, Elliott will spend eight months in Turkey as an English teaching assistant.

“I’m really looking forward to learning a new language, teaching others and experiencing life in another country,” the Culpeper native said.

Elliott graduated from Mary Washington in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in history followed by a master’s degree in secondary education in 2013. He played on the UMW rugby team throughout his time at Mary Washington, including one year as the team’s senior representative. As a senior, Elliott became a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, and Phi Beta Kappa.


Peter Hawes

Peter Hawes

As a Fulbright scholar, Hawes will work for one year as an English teaching assistant in Nepal. In addition to providing classroom instruction, he will assist the Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association (NELTA). Hawes will leave for his placement at a rural school in July.

“I am expecting it to be pretty challenging in a lot of ways,” he said. “For me personally, I feel there is a lot I can learn from people who live in traditional communities like that.”

Hawes, a native of Centreville, received a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in creative writing in 2012. While at Mary Washington, he was a member of several campus organizations and was a co-founding officer of the Outdoors Club. He spent his summers and vacations at small-scale, sustainable farms in Virginia and Vermont and at local agricultural conferences. Hawes received departmental honors in English and became a member of Phi Beta Kappa.


Michaela Sands

The Fulbright scholarship will enable Sands, a native of Burke, to spend one year as an English teaching assistant at a school in Thailand. She will leave for her placement in September.

Michaela Sands

“I love traveling and exploring, so this is a great opportunity for me to explore the sociological and anthropological aspects of another culture,” Sands said. “This will be a great journey, both personally and professionally.”

Sands graduated from Mary Washington in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology followed by a master of science in elementary education degree in 2013. While an undergraduate, she volunteered with several campus organizations and was a member of the varsity cross country team. She received the Barbara Bishop Mann ’66 Virginia Educator Award in 2013.

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.