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Two Loyola seniors win Fulbright awards

| By Stephanie Weaver
Hunter Flynn, '18, and Sandy Abboud, '18
Hunter Flynn, '18, and Sandy Abboud, '18. Photo of Sandy taken by Kamilia Arroyo, '18
Loyola University Maryland students Hunter Flynn, ’18, and Sandy Abboud, ’18, have won Fulbright awards. The Fulbright program provides grants for recent graduates do research or teach English abroad for one academic year.

"It is personally and professionally very meaningful for me to work with students who commit themselves to global peace and prosperity through teaching and learning of languages, study, and research." said Maiju Lehmijoki-Gardner, Ph.D., director of Pre-Health Programs and the faculty member who oversees the Fulbright application process for Loyola students.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program facilitates cultural exchange provided in over 140 countries around the world through opportunities to engage in research in a foreign country or teach English for students of various age groups. Through engagement in the community, grantees interact with their hosts on a one-to-one basis in an atmosphere of openness, academic integrity, and intellectual freedom, thereby promoting mutual understanding. The program is sponsored by the US Senate and various organizations in the host countries.

Loyola has annually had at least one Fulbright winner each year throughout the past ten years, and in many years the University has had more than one winner—including four last year.

Hunter Flynn, an English literature major and Asian studies and film studies minor from Timonium, Md., will travel to Japan to do research on his favorite author, William Faulkner. Faulkner left his hometown of Oxford, Miss., in 1955 when the Department of State sent him to Nagano to hold a seminar on American literature. Flynn will be documenting materials from Faulkner’s visit at the Nagano Prefectural Library and interviewing members of the Faulkner Society of Japan. For Flynn, this research project is the perfect blend of two of his interests: Faulkner and Japanese culture.

Flynn is excited to travel outside the United States for the first time. He hopes to become a professor of literature and/or film.

“I expect going to Japan will teach me a lot about the sheer diversity of human experience in the world,” Flynn said. “I'm mostly hoping to forge human connections—to make contact with people who've also been moved by Faulkner's novels across the Pacific.” 

Sandy Abboud, an interdisciplinary biology and chemistry major from Bel Air, Md., will travel to France to conduct research on the impact of a health educator program and how it may be used to prevent the acquisition of non-communicable disease among the Syrian refugee population. Abboud has been working with refugee populations in Baltimore and in Lebanon since she was 12, right after she and her family came to Maryland from Lebanon in 2000.

“I was overwhelmed with excitement and gratitude—excitement for my next adventure during my year off between undergraduate studies and medical school, and gratitude for all of the support that I had received from my family and professors at Loyola,” said Abboud. “It is a rare and incredibly humbling experience to appreciate the confidence and support that others have invested on your behalf.”

Once back in the U.S., Abboud plans to attend medical school.
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