Fourth Texas Tech Student Promoted to Fulbright Finalist

Gretchen Williams will travel to Spain to research the history of the Calé people in the 16th Century.

Gretchen Williams

Gretchen Williams

A fourth Texas Tech student was promoted to a finalist for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Gretchen Williams, a doctoral candidate in the Department of History, was originally named as an alternate for the program. This month she was notified that she was promoted to a finalist and will receive funding for research abroad.

“It is an amazing surprise to be promoted to a finalist. More than just the financial support, for me professionally, it is also the recognition that my project has merit,” Williams said. “Outside agencies see its importance and I’m excited to have this opportunity.”

Four finalists is the largest number of students to be awarded by the Fulbright U.S. Student Program in an academic year at Texas Tech. Students at Texas Tech have been participating in the program for many years with the help of various faculty and staff, and more recently the Office of National and International Scholarships and Fellowships (NISF) and the Graduate School. The university’s previous record for three finalists was first achieved in 1981.

“This achievement is representative of the quality of the student body at Texas Tech University,” said Lawrence Schovanec, president of Texas Tech. “I congratulate the students on their scholarship and the faculty and staff who serve as educators and mentors. In her role as director of the Office of National and International Scholarships, Wendoli Flores has been diligent in identifying many top students for prestigious honors and she is to be commended.”

Three other Texas Tech students also were chosen as finalists for the Fulbright Program. Erin Grogan, a doctoral fine arts candidate in the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts, will travel to Ireland to study Irish identity on stage. Ivette Noriega, a doctoral candidate in the department of Human Development & Family Studies, will travel to Colombia to research the neurocognitive effects of posttraumatic stress disorder on children exposed to violence. Michelle Jones, a master’s student specializing in special education and visual impairment through the College of Education, will travel to India to learn how vocational training impacts the social mobility of women who have disabilities.

“Although breaking the Texas Tech record of Fulbright Students is an exciting accomplishment, our work has just begun,” said Wendoli Flores, director of NISF. “We are privileged to be among a community of highly intelligent and talented scholars who are deserving of awards such as Fulbright, and we plan to continue the upward trend of Texas Tech students earning this prestigious honor.”


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