Medlin, Din to travel, teach English on Fulbright grant
On the same day Hogan Medlin left office as student body president, he came home to find his next chapter in life waiting in his mailbox.
“It was almost like getting into college all over again,” he said.
Medlin learned that he, along with best friend and fellow senior Emma Din, was offered a Fulbright grant to teach English overseas.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, gives grants for individual research projects or English teaching assistantships.
In September, both Medlin and Din were interviewed during the initial stages of the selection process. They learned they were finalists in January.
On Monday, the two finally got the news they had been awaiting.
Medlin received a text from his neighbor Bryanna Schwartz —who is also Din’s roommate — saying there was a large envelope in the mail.
“I called Emma, but I wasn’t sure that it was the envelope, and I went over and checked Hogan’s mailbox and saw his envelope,” Schwartz said.
Medlin immediately left his office for home, where he left his car running while rushing to open the envelope.
Overwhelmed and surprised, Medlin said he and Schwartz jumped up and down, screaming in celebration.
Din, who was in class at the time, said Medlin and Schwartz called and texted her multiple times after finding the same large envelope in Din’s mail.
“I’m still flipping out,” she said.
Medlin will leave in July to teach primary education in South Korea for a little more than a year.
In addition to teaching English, he said he also wants to start a project to develop leadership in young people.
Din said she will leave by mid-August for Colombia, where she will remain until May 2012.
There, she will teach students at either a high school or a university between 15 and 28 hours a week.
Aside from teaching English, Din said she wants to spend her time in the field of public health.
“I would really like to get involved in a health-related project,” she said.
Two UNC Ph.D. students, George Gerolimatos and Derek Holmgren, also received awards, both of them for research or study opportunities in modern history, which they will pursue in Germany.
Medlin and Din said the grant amount varies depending on the country, and neither of them know how much they will receive.
Both agree that one of the biggest benefits from the program is the large alumni network, consisting of scholars, writers, heads of state and Nobel laureates.
“I think it sort of is an entry point of working in the State Department,” Medlin said, adding that he hopes to work on foreign relations with South Korea, especially between the North and South.
“I think that the U.S. is going to have a role in the diplomacy between those two countries,” he said.
Medlin said he decided to apply for the Fulbright program after teaching English in Thailand.
“I came back thinking, ‘Hey, life’s set,’” he said.
The two friends, who went through the entire process together, agreed that the situation couldn’t have ended better.
“She literally is my best friend at Carolina, or like ever, actually,” he said. “I could not have asked for a better situation to end senior year.”
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