Fall Fulbrights

Katelyn King and Alyssa Varhol, Kennesaw State alumnae who earned 2015 Fulbright awards

Two Kennesaw alumnae earn prestigious scholarship award   KENNESAW‚ Ga. (July 1, 2015)…

Georgia (Jun 30, 2015)

Two Kennesaw alumnae earn prestigious scholarship award
KENNESAW‚ Ga. (July 1, 2015) — Alyssa Varhol and Katelyn King are already world travelers, but their recent selection as recipients of the prestigious Fulbright award will send the two Kennesaw State graduates packing for a yearlong study abroad to earn master’s degrees this fall.
The Kennesaw State pair are among more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2015-16 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
"It’s gratifying to have multiple student Fulbright scholars for the first time in the history of Kennesaw State University,” said Michelle Miles, the honors scholarship advisor in the Honors College.“A single Fulbright recipient is in itself a distinct honor, but for KSU to have two alumnae join next year’s elite scholarship cohort speaks volumes, not only to the students’ respective characters and achievements, but to the dedication of faculty members who have nurtured them along their academic journeys."
Recipients of the Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential. The Kennesaw State alumnae will study abroad during the 2015-16 academic year to earn master’s degrees at their respective institutions. 
Varhol, 24, of Snellville, will travel to the United Kingdom to study psychological research methods at the University of Sheffield.  King, 23, of Kennesaw, will travel to Bern, Switzerland to study composition and theory in theatrical music at Hochschule derKünste.
“I hope to become a stage director, someone who can put musical events together on stage to create really unique concert experiences, and be able to insert other art forms into a musical production,” said King, who earned her first master’s degree in music performance from McGill University in Montreal in May.
Since graduating from Kennesaw State in music performance (percussion) in 2013, King has created a repertoire duo that blends poetry with percussion and projection, or stage performance. 
“This type of performance really means anything as long as there is a considerable amount of speaking involved, in any language, while musical things happen,” she said. “Right now, we are working with a San Diego-based composer who finished writing us a new piece based on Russian futurist poetry.”
King also created a theatrical trio, Dressage Percussion, which performs historical works in an effort to encourage composers to keep writing within this style. The trio has a mini tour scheduled in China later this summer.
“The Fulbright gives me enormous confidence to experiment and explore the different avenues that will be available to me once I am in Switzerland,” King said.
“KSU has laid all the groundwork for my musicianship, performance abilities and dream brainstorming,” King said. “The faculty has always pushed me to do better. They have always supported my dreams, and I’ve always felt able to achieve anything because of my time at KSU.”
For Varhol, it was having one of her most influential professors, Chris Palmer, earn a Fulbright when he was a student that inspired her to apply.
“One day, I’d like to be a professor and do language development research,” said Varhol, who was part of the Honors College and graduated from Kennesaw State in December 2013 with dual degrees in English and psychology and a minor in Spanish.
Varhol will be earning a master’s degree in psychological research methods from the University of Sheffield in England. Her Fulbright award will begin in September.
“I am excited to exchange ideas and engage in shared work, especially research, with others and build relationships between cultures,” Varhol said.
Traveling overseas isn’t new for Varhol. She studied abroad twice while at Kennesaw State, including five weeks each in Spain and Italy, and backpacked through England and Scotland after graduation.
“I love being in different countries. I have an incredible passion to meet people and these opportunities have expanded my perception of the world,” she said. “Those experiences have made me more adaptable and given me new skills in communicating with others.”
Varhol will be in the U.K. to study autism research practices as part of her graduate degree. Her interest in the field piqued when she worked for a summer at a Harvard University laboratory for developmental studies, studying pragmatic language disorders of children with autism.
She is also excited about having an experience with another educational system, and recently discovered that the U.K. has the highest concentration of English dialects.
"The Fulbright is one of the most prestigious of international scholarships,” Miles added. “Alyssa and Katelyn are stellar examples of the quality of our students and their considerable potential, particularly when their gifts are met with excellent academic support. We celebrate their success and look forward to their continued accomplishments."

- Tiffany Capuano; photo by David Caselli


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu