Senior Randi Parks receives prestigious Fulbright Student Award

Oglethorpe University senior Randi Parks ’24 has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Belgium for the 2024-2025 academic year.

Headshot of Randi Parks

Oglethorpe senior Randi Parks

Noted for its merit-based selection process and academic prestige, the Fulbright Program is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program, devoted to increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

Awards are administered by the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which since 1946 has provided more than 400,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals from the U.S. and 160 countries with the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research abroad.

While in Belgium, Parks will help teach the English language while serving as a cultural ambassador for the United States.

“Being chosen as a Fulbright scholar is a milestone I hold in high esteem,” said Parks. “It’s a source of immense pride for me, and I’m eager to extend my support to fellow students keen on exploring international avenues like the Fulbright program. My journey is fueled by a profound belief in the power of representation; I strive to inspire students from similar backgrounds, recognizing the transformative impact of seeing oneself reflected in positions of success and leadership.”

An international studies major, with French and politics minors, Parks intends to pursue a law degree following her year as a Fulbright scholar.

The Fulbright awards — made in recognition of leadership and contributions to society — are made possible through funds appropriated annually by the U.S. Congress and, in many cases, by contributions from partner countries and private parties.

Randi Parks (second from left) pictured with Senator Jon Ossoff and fellow congressional interns.

Randi Parks (second from left) pictured with Senator Jon Ossoff and fellow congressional interns.

In fact, as an intern in U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff’s Atlanta office this semester, Parks had the chance to personally thank the Senator last week for his support of Fulbright funding.

Parks’ position in the congressional office follows a series of other impressive internships at The Carter Center, Teach for America, and the Law Office of Jonathan W. Johnson, LLC, among others.

On campus, the JEO Scholar has served as senior class president in the Student Government Association, a resident assistant and community advisor, and a member of President’s Emerging Leaders and Honors Council. Parks also studied abroad at Université Catholique de Lille in France in 2022, and was inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society in 2023.

“Initially, the notion of taking a gap year terrified me,” said Parks. “However, after immersing myself in a transformative study abroad experience and engaging in an unexpected conversation with [President] Jimmy Carter’s grandson, Jason Carter, during my internship at the Carter Center, where we discussed his time in the Peace Corps and other gap year opportunities, my perspective shifted.”

This led Parks to Oglethorpe’s Global Education office to explore additional avenues for international engagement and practical experiences abroad before law school.

“I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity and want to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported me,” shared Parks, who specifically called out Oglethorpe faculty and staff Dr. Iona Wynter Parks, Dr. Marisa Atencio, Blake Petty and Karlie Burrell for their assistance in the research and application process for the award.

“[I’m] feeling a mix of excitement and nerves for this next adventure, but I can’t wait to dive in and make a difference!”

Since its inception in 1946, more than 400,000 Fulbrighters have participated in the Program. Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists and teachers. They include 62 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 80 MacArthur Fellows, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email