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With sights on medical school, graduate earns Fulbright to S. Korea

Sarah Lee
Sarah Lee

UNL graduate Sarah Lee of Omaha will travel to South Korea to work as an English teaching assistant on a Fulbright scholarship. She will also volunteer in local hospitals and medical clinics during her trip.

Lee graduated from UNL in May with majors in Spanish and chemistry, and a minor in mathematics. She wants to go to medical school after her Fulbright experience.

To prepare for medical school, Lee has volunteered with Bryan LGH East Hospital, traveled to Nicaragua on medical mission trips with her church and worked on a two-year UCARE project with Deb Brown, assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences. The Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience program lets students work with faculty to participate in research at an early stage in their academic careers. Lee's UCARE project had a great impact on her undergraduate experience.

"It has given me countless hours of experience in the lab, using new instruments and various techniques, neither of which I would have had the opportunity to learn or use outside of my lab," she said.

Lee was a hard-working and enthusiastic UCARE participant, said Brown. "She has really matured this year as an undergraduate research participant."

Lee has experience traveling abroad and adapting to new cultures. During summer 2008, she studied in Lima, Peru. Lee said the "eye-opening experience" helped her improve her Spanish-speaking skills and experience new cultures.

"It was really my first experience abroad, alone, and for a significant period of time," she said. "I met a lot of people -- both from Peru and the U.S. -- got to practice my Spanish speaking skills, and had the opportunity to experience many new cultural experiences."

Lee's awareness of cultural differences around the world and the opportunity to experience South Korean culture first hand will be an "incredible" experience, Brown said.

"She will experience a new culture, meet new people and be able to step outside her comfort zone and I'm sure will do exceedingly well in adapting to her new role as a teacher," Brown said.

The Fulbright Program, established in 1946 and funded by the U.S. Department of State, is designed to foster understanding between the United States and other countries. The U.S. Student Fulbright program gives recent graduates, graduate students and young professionals the opportunity to conduct research, study or teach in one of the 155 countries that the program operates. The Fulbright program is the flagship international education program sponsored by the U.S. government. About 8,000 grants are awarded annually, and about 1,600 of those grants are awarded to U.S. students.

Lee is the seventh Fulbright from UNL announced this spring. At least two more will be featured.

- Christine Scalora, Undergraduate Studies