Three Appalachian State University Students named semi-finalists for the 2022-2023 Fulbright Student Program Award

Appalachian State University is pleased to announce that three students have been named Fulbright U.S. Student Program semi-finalists from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as a record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

All three semi-finalists have been selected for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award (ETAs). Recipients of the ETA award are matched with schools in their host countries ranging from kindergarten to university level. ETAs will teach and assist with English language classes and serve as cultural ambassadors in their schools and communities. 

Sophia Donadio was named a semi-finalist for an ETA position in Malta. Donadio graduated from App State in December 2022 with a masters degree in English Literature and a concentration in college teaching. Donadio says she applied to the Fulbright ETA program to “have the opportunity to teach in a place that is unfamiliar to me and a bit more heterogeneous. Going to teach abroad would give me the chance to see what teaching is like in a different culture under an entirely different set of environmental circumstances”. 

Two applicants have been identified as semi-finalists for the Germany ETA position. Brennah (Bre) Alderfer will graduate in May 2023  with a degree in Languages, Literatures, and Cultures with a concentration in German and minors in TESOL and English.  Niamh Sinclair graduated from App State in June 2020 with masters degrees in Romance Languages: French K-12 Teaching and Romance Languages: Spanish K-12 Teaching. Sinclair commented on what she hopes to gain from the Fulbright ETA program: “ I hope to gain language and cultural skills, of course; but, I also hope to expand my own world view and learn even more about myself. Hopefully, this confidence will make me a better teacher, citizen, and member of my community”. 

“Seek out your school representative in preparation for the Fulbright application! I cannot stress enough how much help I received through my Fulbright Program Advisor. Another word of advice is to apply; whether you think you'll receive it or not. So many individuals are discouraged from applying because of how competitive it is - but you won't be sure unless you try!” -Bre Alderfer  

As semifinalists, applicants have passed through the on-campus Appalachian State Fulbright Committee and the U.S. based National Screening Committee process and will now advance to the final round of selection with in-country Fulbright Commissions. Final selections will be made later this spring on a rolling basis from now until May. Congratulations to our semi-finalists for their achievements and good luck as you advance to the final round of selection! 

For more information about the Fulbright Program at Appalachian State or Nationally Competitive Scholarships reach out to Johnna Reisner Assistant Director of Nationally Competitive Scholarships. Or visit


About The Fulbright Program

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.  The program operates in over 160 countries worldwide and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given more than 400,00 students, scholars, teachers, artists, professionals, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.  Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all areas while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 59 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 82 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government. For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit

About Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Nationally Competitive Scholarships (NCS) works with the Appalachian community to recruit and support students for nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships, including those that support research, teaching and critical language learning. This is achieved with outreach, mentorship and advising throughout the entire application and selection process. NCS is committed to helping undergraduate and graduate students find ways to connect their Appalachian education to their future endeavors through scholarship opportunities.

About The College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at Appalachian State University is home to 17 academic departments, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. CAS aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. More than 6,400 student majors are enrolled in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing App State’s general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at

Compiled and Written by Johnna Reisner

February 13th, 2023

Boone, N.C.

Published: Feb 21, 2023 8:59am