UNCW Honors Student Receives Fulbright to Study in Netherlands

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

After graduation, Tiffany Ernst ('17) will be traveling to the Netherlands thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship. The New Jersey native and marine biology and chemistry double major will be studying at Radboud University, where she is pursuing their research-focused master’s program in biology with a specialization in adaptive organisms.

Ernst applied for the Fulbright to merge her current passion of studying intermolecular signaling in marine organisms with the opportunity to conduct her graduate studies abroad.

She had just left a weekly meeting her research advisor, UNCW marine biology professor Heather Koopman, when she received the news she had been selected for a Fulbright.

“My first thoughts were, “I have to tell her,” she said. “Dr. Koopman’s guidance has made me the scientist and academic I am today. I’m thankful for all the incredible UNCW faculty whose passion and guidance helped me receive such a prestigious award.”

Ernst just finished a two-year term as a student member of the National Collegiate Honors Council board of directors. She was nominated for the role by Kate Bruce, director of the UNCW Honors College.

After graduating with honors in May, Ernst and a group of fellow chemistry graduates plan to travel to Disney World to celebrate. International student orientation at Radboud University begins in late August. Having only been out of country once before, she looks forward to stopping in Iceland on her way to the Netherlands.

“Once I arrive, I want to take the opportunity to explore the city and interact with the Dutch people as much as possible before classes begin. I hope to get involved in some of the city's local initiatives to teach grade-school children about green practices that can be implemented in an urban environment,” she said.

After earning a master’s, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. Her ultimate goal is to be a professor at a university and to continue marine chemistry and biology research.

The Fulbright Program is a highly competitive, merit-based grant for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists. The U.S. Student Program is designed to give recent graduates and master’s and doctoral candidates opportunities for personal development and international experiences.

In 2016, UNCW was recognized as a top producer of Fulbright Scholars. Excellence in teaching, scholarship and having a global focus are priorities as outlined in UNCW’s Strategic Plan. Having students, faculty and staff consistently honored with Fulbrights is a measure of UNCW’s continued success. 

-- Caroline Cropp