UCR Student Receives Prestigious Fulbright Award

Phong Au-Hong is one of few recipients selected for the program's high-impact "Diversity Group" placement

Phong Au-Hong

Phong Au-Hong, a senior in entomology, has received a Fulbright Award to help support English language development in immigrant and refugee students living in Germany.

Au-Hong will teach as part of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Programs, which place awardees in classrooms abroad to support local teachers. ETAs help teach English while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S.

Au-Hong is one of 140 ETAs chosen to teach in Germany during the 2018-19 academic year and one of only 19 selected for the “Diversity-Group,” which supports schools with a high proportion of students with immigrant/minority backgrounds.

This will not be Au-Hong’s first time in Germany. After graduating high school, he completed a one-year Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship to study the German language and culture. In his sophomore year at UCR, he received a DAAD RISE scholarship to conduct research at Leuphana University in northern Germany, where he experienced firsthand the efforts of German students to support immigrants and refugees.

Inspired by what he saw, Au-Hong returned to California and founded the Refugee Empowerment Project to address structural barriers faced by Afghan refugee women in Riverside. The project is funded by the Strauss Foundation and the Critical Refugee Studies Collective with support from a local nonprofit, Glocally Connected.

“As a Vietnamese immigrant myself, I believe the Fulbright program will allow me to continue my work igniting social change for immigrant and refugee communities. This experience will solidify my future career goal of working in a public health setting to address the needs of marginalized communities,” Au-Hong said.

The highly competitive Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program for research and study abroad that seeks to increase understanding between the United States and the 160 countries it engages with. Nearly 18,000 Americans have traveled overseas as part of the ETA program, impacting an estimated 18 million people around the world.

Au-Hong will teach in Germany from September 2018 to June 2019. The award includes a monthly stipend, all travel costs, and the opportunity to attend a mid-year meeting in Berlin with other recipients.

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