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Spartanburg student named Presidential International Scholar

Regina with Bernie
2009-05-05

Regina Fuller to travel the world on independent project

(Wofford presents academic, leadership, service and citizenship awards)

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College President Benjamin B. Dunlap has selected Regina Yvonne Fuller, a rising senior from Spartanburg, S.C., as the 2009-2010 Presidential International Scholar, the 25th year for the college’s innovative program that allows one student to travel throughout the academic year to developing countries researching an independent project.

The announcement was made Tuesday, May 5, 2009, at the annual spring Honors Convocation, held in Leonard Auditorium. Departmental awards and other special recognitions also were made during the event to honor 2009 graduates, who will receive their diplomas on Sunday, May 17, in a ceremony on the lawn of Main Building. Fuller is the 26th scholar, as two scholars were named in 2007.

The Presidential International Scholar is chosen personally each year by Wofford’s president as “the singular student best fitted to benefit humankind.” An anonymous donor funds the scholarship. The scholar spends his or her senior year visiting developing countries around the world and conducting research on an independent study project, returning for a fifth year to complete regular coursework and sharing what was learned during the travels.

“Regina Fuller has been a virtual force of nature since her first arrival on the Wofford campus,” Dunlap says. “Her brilliance and drive are matched by her compassion and creativity. She will be an extraordinary Presidential International Scholar.”

Fuller’s project will be “Exploring the African Diaspora,” in which she will spend the year studying “self image, religion and cultural traditions – such as song, dance and dress – of people of African descent who were displaced by the European and Arab slave trade.”

She says, “This topic is of importance to me because it is a continuation of scholarly research that I have done at Wofford. During my sophomore Interim, I volunteered in a crèche in Cape Town, South Africa, while studying the present-day effects of the Trust and Reconciliation Movement. Additionally, last semester in the Dominican Republic, I studied Afro-Caribbean culture and the rejection of Afro identity by black Dominicans.

“In both projects, I studied people of African descent and their current identities as a result of colonialism,” she adds. “Consequently, my Presidential International Scholar year will not be a beginning, but a culmination of my work at Wofford College.”

Fuller, a Dean’s List student, is majoring in Spanish and Intercultural Studies with a concentration in African/African-American Studies. She just completed a spring 2009 semester internship on Capitol Hill with U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., with the South Carolina Washington Semester Program. In the fall 2008 semester, she studied abroad in Santiago, Dominican Republic, and in 2007, she studied in Mexico.

She participated in Bard College’s Globalization and International Affairs Program in New York City in the summer of 2008.

Fuller is a member of the Blue Key Honor Society and Twin Towers service learning organization. She is president of the Association of Multicultural Students. She was one of the organizers of “Engaging Our World” social justice conference held at Wofford in 2007.

She was selected to participate in Wofford’s Community of Scholars undergraduate research program in 2007; her project was titled “From Slavery to Exclusion: Comparisons of African Identity in the Dominican Republic and Brazil.”

A graduate of Spartanburg High School, she is the daughter of Paulette Fuller of Spartanburg and Ronnie Crawford of Chesnee, S.C. She is a Daniel Scholar at Wofford.

Returning Presidential International Scholar Jonathan Hufford of Oxford, Ohio, was recognized at the convocation.

(Read the Spartanburg Herald-Journal article and view the photo gallery.)