Welcome to Arkansas State University!

News Article

Student with Triple Major Selected for Fulbright Grant to Teach in Spain


JONESBORO – Arkansas State University student Rachel French has been offered a grant from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board to teach in Spain during the next academic year.

The Collierville, Tenn., student is a senior at A-State, where she is managing a triple major of Spanish, biological sciences, and chemistry. An Honors College student, she will graduate during Spring Commencement Saturday, May 8.

"I am thrilled to have this opportunity to serve as a cultural ambassador to Spain," French commented as she expressed excitement about the selection.

She will serve as an English teaching assistant and engage with the community in the La Rioja region. She has accepted the grant and is scheduled to leave this fall, or whenever pandemic travel restrictions are lifted. After her Fulbright year, she plans to enter the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for medical school.

“We are very proud of Rachel and her achievements at Arkansas State, and to have her recognized by a national scholarship program as prestigious as the Fulbright is a compliment to both her hard work and to the faculty who have been an important part of her academic career,” Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said.  “The opportunity to return to study abroad is also very special after the past year, and I know it will be something that she will cherish.”

French’s other campus activities include serving as vice president of the American Chemical Society and secretary/treasurer of Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish honor society.

“Rachel is graduating with our top distinction, ‘In University Honors,’ with the gold Honors medallion,” noted Rebecca Oliver, director of the Honors College. Her honors senior thesis, under the mentorship of Dr. Allyn Ontko, is titled "The Evolution of Pharmacologic Options Used in the Treatment of COVID‑19."

“Rachel is a brilliant scholar, but in addition to that, she has the ability to effectively communicate and engage with others from all cultures and backgrounds,” added Jennifer Salo, competitive fellowships and scholarships coordinator at A-State and adviser in the College of Liberal Arts and Communication. “In her compelling Fulbright proposal, she discussed plans to combine her love of science with English language learning with her students in Spain. Her experience encouraging learning across many age groups, from large classrooms to one-on-one tutoring, will make her an adaptable teaching assistant. She will be an excellent representative of the United States and our university.”

Her parents are John and Barbara French of Collierville.

French is one of more than 2,100 U.S. citizens who will study, conduct research, and teach abroad for the 2020-2021 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected in an open, merit-based competition that considers leadership potential, academic and/or professional achievement, and record of service. 

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to forge lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of more than 160 countries worldwide.

Rachel French
Rachel French