HAMPTON, Va. (Sept. 14, 2017) – Hampton University graduate Jordyn Hawkins-Rippie (’17) is off for an 11-month foreign exchange study in Malaysia after being chosen for the prestigious and highly competitive Fulbright Program.
The Fulbright Program allows American college graduates to study, conduct research, or exercise their talents in more than 140 countries. Established by Congress in 1946, the Fulbright Program is meant to promote international goodwill through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science. He is the first Hampton University Fulbright scholar in 44 years.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Jordyn,” said Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey. “He represents everything that’s right about our university and the young Americans who graduate here every year. Well done!”
In April, Hawkins-Rippie was notified that he had been selected as an alternate for the scholarship, originally requesting to study in Thailand. But, when the good news came that he was a finalist and selected, it was slightly modified.
“I was nearly speechless when I heard from them five months later with an opportunity to pursue the Fulbright in a different country,” said Hawkins-Rippie. “I took a lot of time to reflect on it and what they may have seen in me to send me somewhere else.”
Without hesitation, Hawkins-Rippie accepted a position teaching Malaysian students how to read and write in English.
After graduating from Hampton University, Hawkins-Rippie interned for U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
While in Malaysia, he plans to use his political knowledge and skills to impact public health policies.
“I am still in the process of learning about Malaysia and their social norms,” he said. “It’s exciting. It is one of those things where you look at it and say this process has almost been a year-long process. It is a great thing to say and do.
During his time at Hampton University, Hawkins-Rippie's high academic standing allowed him to join the Freddye T. Davy Honors College and the Dr. William R. Harvey Leadership Institute.
Hawkins-Rippie was offered a full-time position at Oracle Corporation. As one might imagine, he declined the offer to pursue the Fulbright Scholarship.
“I’m at a time in my life where I want to pinpoint what I want to do,” he said. “Fulbright will give me the clarity and focus on the next steps to take for what that desired goal or outcome might be.”