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Three U. of I. students win grants to study in United Kingdom this summer

5/30/2012 | Madeline Ley, News Bureau intern | 217-333-1085;

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Three University of Illinois underclassmen have received fully funded awards to study in the United Kingdom this summer.

James Addison, of Charleston, Ill., will study at Nottingham Trent University; Jennifer Speaker, of Norridge, Ill., will study at King’s College; and Gary Yin, of Buffalo Grove, Ill., will study at Cardiff, Bangor and Aberystwyth universities in Wales.

They are among the 43 freshman and sophomore undergraduates from around the U.S. who will be traveling to the United Kingdom for a three- to six-week academic, cultural and social program at select educational institutions.

“No other university had more young scholars selected for these summer institutes than the University of Illinois,” said David Schug, the co-director of the National and International Scholarships Program at Illinois, which offers assistance to current Illinois students pursuing nationally competitive awards.

Students are chosen based on their academic achievements, as well as their dedication to their local communities. Students are also selected for their desire to act as U.S. ambassadors while in the United Kingdom.

The Fulbright Summer Programs cover all participant costs. In addition, Fulbright summer participants receive support in visa processing, a comprehensive pre-departure orientation, enrichment opportunities in the United Kingdom, a re-entry session and an opportunity to join Fulbright alumni networks.

• Addison is one of eight students selected to participate in the Nottingham Trent University Summer Institute. He was salutatorian at Charleston High School, where he played golf, basketball and baseball, and he was vice president of the National Honor Society and treasurer of Spanish National Honor Society. As a James Scholar honors student at Illinois, he just completed his sophomore year in architectural studies.

Addison is involved in Habitat for Humanity and is on the design team for the Illinois entry in the 2013 Solar Decathlon in China. An avid photographer, he also loves to cook and try new foods, and he enjoys watching and competing in sports. At the Nottingham Trent University Summer Institute, he hopes to gain a new perspective on the local culture, meet new friends from all over the world, and explore the historical and contemporary architecture of the United Kingdom. There, he will get the opportunity to follow a variety of art and design courses in subjects that include photography, fine art, graphic design, product design, fashion and textiles, decorative arts, interior design and architecture. Part of the four-week institute also will include volunteering in the local Nottingham community as well as experiencing an academic program that examines Midlands culture, history and heritage.

• Speaker will participate in “The Olympic City: Global Games, Local Impact,” a three-week summer program at King’s College London. She will gain insight into Olympic history, Olympic politics and Olympic urban geography, all while being in the city where the games will be occurring. The program aims to provide a global perspective on both the people and culture of the United Kingdom.

Speaker attended Ridgewood High School, where she was captain of the varsity volleyball team, percussion section leader in the symphonic band, a member of National Honor Society and student council, and vice president of varsity athletics club. She entered the U. of I. in the Division of General Studies and now, having completed her sophomore year, is pursuing a degree in urban and regional planning with a minor in business. At Illinois, she is a James Scholar honors student, a committee chair for Habitat for Humanity, and a member of the Student Planning Organization and Sigma Alpha Lambda Honors Organization. Her interests outside of school include volleyball, rollerblading, volunteering, art and music.

• Yin is one of eight students who will travel to Wales to experience a six-week program at three universities. He was born in China and moved to the United States when he was 3 years old. He is entering his third year of pursuing degrees in economics and accountancy at Illinois. He is a member of the Campus Honors Program and a James Scholar honors student. On campus, Yin is an active brother of Delta Sigma Pi and a project manager of a student-run consultant group known as OTCR Consulting. He recently put together a proposal for the superintendent of Clark County School District to better serve the growing English-as-a-second-language population in Las Vegas.

The Wales Summer Institute’s program, “Contemporary Wales: Industry, Politics, Culture and Change,” seeks to convey the role and influence of Wales, both nationally and internationally. Participants will be taught about Welsh culture, history and geographical differences, as well as the role that industry has taken in shaping the historical, political and cultural landscape of Wales. As a participant of the Fulbright Wales Summer Institute, Yin hopes to develop a better understanding of the education landscape in Wales, particularly examining the development of bilingual students in Welsh and English.

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