Jordan Lor, a 2019 UNC Asheville graduate and 2019 Teach for America Corps Member in Eastern North Carolina, has been named a Fulbright finalist to teach in Thailand for the 2021-2022 academic year.
The award comes from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, and Lor is one of more than 2,100 U.S. citizens who will study, conduct research, and teach abroad for the 2021-2022 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.
“I was interested in teaching outside the United States, so I knew that the Fulbright U.S. Student Program will provide me just that and additionally build upon my leadership, and expand my cultural worldview,” Lor said. “In the Hmong community, many Hmongs believe that we do not have a motherland. My father and many Hmongs across the world consider Thailand to be our motherland, because they were born and raised there. I am very excited to use this opportunity to finally visit Thailand and learn all that I can about their rich culture and history.”
Lor’s award, pending final details, includes working as an English teaching assistant, and his goals are to earn his certification and work with students and staff at the college level – a goal that stems from his own experience as a first-generation college student from Mount Airy, North Carolina. He attended UNC Asheville as a Golden Leaf Scholar.
“The Golden Leaf Scholars Leadership Program grounded me in my leadership, purpose, and values. Growing up in a rural town and almost not going to college, the Golden Leaf Foundation has really supported me through my college career,” he said.
Lor also expressed gratitude for his faculty advisors in both of his majors, psychology and sociology, including Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Heidi Kelley, who serves as the Fulbright Program Advisor along with Chair and Professor of Political Science Linda Cornett; Breman Professor of Psychology Evelyn Chiang; and Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Lyndi Hewitt.
“I discovered the power of storytelling from an academic point of view through the Ethnographic Method class with Dr. Heidi Kelley. I always thought storytelling and academia can never be combined, but Dr. Kelley’s class has taught me otherwise. I hope with my sociological background and experience, I can share with my host country a unique perspective of what it is like to be a Hmong-American in the United States. Additionally, I hope to bring back with me stories and experiences that I can share with others as well,” Lor said.
To see more stories from UNC Asheville’s Student Fulbright Scholarships, which number nearly 50, visit https://stories.unca.edu/around-the-world-1. See the worldwide scholarship of UNC Asheville’s faculty and staff Fulbright scholars at https://stories.unca.edu/around-the-world.
ABOUT THE FULBRIGHT PROGRAM
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 other countries, counter misunderstandings, and help people and nations work together toward common goals. Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has enabled more than 390,000 dedicated and accomplished students, scholars, artists, teachers, and professionals of all backgrounds to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and find solutions to shared international concerns. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.
For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit http://eca.state.gov/fulbright.