UNCSA students receive Fulbright fellowships

Two students from the UNCSA School of Music are the recipients of the U.S. Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) and Austria Fulbright U.S. Teaching Assistantship (USTA) programs. This year makes the second year in a row that multiple UNCSA students have been awarded Fulbright-related awards during the same academic year. Both programs fund American students to study, conduct research or teach abroad through a diverse range of awards and academic disciplines.

"We take immense pride in the accomplishments of our students as they stand poised to transition into the professional space," said Dean Rachel Williams of the Division of Liberal Arts (DLA). "The recognition by this esteemed organization serves as a testament to the exceptional standard of education at UNCSA. We look forward to witnessing the profound contributions our students will undoubtedly make through their participation in these programs."

Fourth-year voice student Bentley Dorics of Leonardtown, Maryland, has been selected for a Fulbright ETA fellowship in Germany with placement in Berlin. Fourth-year voice student Onyx Velez of Morganton, North Carolina, was selected for the Fulbright-affiliated USTA with placement in Austria. He is the fourth UNCSA student ever to be awarded the assistantship through Fulbright Austria. Velez follows in the footsteps of Ruby Moore (B.M. ’23) and Jake Anderson (B.M. ’23), who received Austria USTAs last year.

From left to right: Voice students Onyx Velex and Bentley Dorics

From left to right: Voice students Onyx Velez and Bentley Dorics

Additionally, A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute fellow Robbie Raso of Conway, Pennsylvania, was named an alternate for a USTA with placement in Italy, one of only seven fellowships for the English teaching Fulbright track. 

This year's finalists are both are in their third year of UNCSA’s German Studies minor in DLA. Alongside their voice training, their courses in the program have given the undergraduate students a level of German necessary to qualify for these awards.

“Given the centrality of German-language culture in the traditional classical music repertoire and the many study and job opportunities in Germany in classical music, it is deeply gratifying to me that UNCSA is able to support our students this way,” said Professor of German Studies Hans Gabriel. “To see this support of German studies at UNCSA bearing fruit in all of our finalists’ well-deserved success over the past two years is proof that these Liberal Arts courses provide our students the skills they need to take advantage of these opportunities to enrich their artistic endeavors and their lives.”

Professor of German Studies, Hans Gabriel

Professor of German Studies Hans Gabriel

“This opportunity is a great experience to further my German speaking skills,” said Velez. “I wouldn't have been able to get this opportunity without the training I have received through the German Studies minor here at UNCSA.”

“I am looking forward to cultivating connections in a new community and learning all that I can from the people around me,” said Dorics. “It will be my first time in Europe and I think this will be quite a marvelous first visit in this fully immersive experience.”

Alumnus Anderson was also recently awarded a second year of a USTA through Fulbright Austria. Through his award last year, Anderson has taught English at a high school music conservatory and is part of a community orchestra in Austria.

School of Music alumnus Jake Anderson.School of Music alumnus Jake Anderson.School of Music alumnus Jake Anderson.

“Enrolling in German class was one of the best decisions I made in college,” said Anderson. “I never would’ve thought I’d develop such a strong passion for an academic subject on a campus where violin cases and ballet shoes are far more common than traditional textbooks.”

Alumna Moore attributes Professor Gabriel’s guidance and encouragement during the application process and the German Studies minor at UNCSA for preparing her for the Fulbright Austria USTA program.

“Working as a teaching assistant has been an incredibly rewarding and unforgettable experience. I have loved getting to know my students, building relationships in my new community, and slowly but surely getting the hang of the Styrian dialect,” said Moore. “It has been wonderful to learn about Austrian customs and traditions while simultaneously sharing the traditions I’m accustomed to in the U.S. I’m really happy other students from UNCSA are being accepted in the program and I hope they enjoy their time here as much as I have.”

School of Music alumna Ruby Moore.School of Music alumna Ruby Moore.School of Music alumna Ruby Moore.School of Music alumna Ruby Moore.


The 2023-24 finalist results mark another banner season for the recently rekindled UNCSA Fulbright program, which is administered by DLA. Faculty members Andrew G. Britt and Professor Gabriel work closely with prospective Fulbright applicants at each stage of the process. The 2023-24 Fulbright Campus Committee consists of School of Music String Department Chair Kevin Lawrence, School of Music Woodwind Department Chair Stephanie Patterson, School of Drama Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Entrepreneurship Krisha Marcano, and School of Dance faculty member Abigail Yager.

More about the U.S. Fulbright Program

Since 1946 the Department of State’s Fulbright Program has been the flagship international educational exchange opportunity sponsored by the U.S. government. The U.S. Student Fulbright Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. Applicants pursue one of three categories of awards, including English Teaching Assistantships and Creative & Performing Arts through the Open Study/Research Award track, in which applicants propose their own independent projects of research and study. Students and alumni are eligible to apply.

More on Fulbright Austria’s USTAs Program

Since 1962, Fulbright Austria has been responsible for selecting U.S. citizens to spend a paid year abroad in Austria assisting in the teaching of American English language and U.S. culture. Selection criteria include German language proficiency, cultural awareness, and a demonstrated interest in linguistic and cultural exchange as well as modeling and teaching U.S.-English language and culture. Selected students will spend the upcoming academic year at an Austrian secondary school or schools as a teaching assistant, a position they can apply to extend for a second year.

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April 10, 2024