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Roanoke College student receives an international honor

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SALEM (WSLS 10) - A Roanoke College sophomore receives a rare opportunity.

Sophomore Hannah Bear is one of four students across the country to spend part of her summer at King's College in London.

Bear's participation is due to the Fulbright Summer Institute.

The U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission allows certain U.S. undergraduates to visit the U.K. to experience an exciting academic program, explore the culture, heritage and history of the U.K. and develop their academic ability.

Read the full release below.

Hannah Bear one of four U.S. students selected for Fulbright Summer Institute

Salem, Va. – Roanoke College sophomore Hannah Bear will spend part of her summer at King's College London through the prestigious Fulbright Summer Institute. Bear, a communications major from Mechanicsville, Maryland, is one of only four students from the U.S. in this program on a Fulbright.

The theme for the institute is Leading, Inventing and Reinventing: Britain Past and Present. In 2016 participants will attend a three week session titled Wonderland: 100 years of children's literature.

"I grew up on Winnie the Pooh and my mother and I read the Harry Potter books," Bear said. "I can't wait to explore the childhood literature I grew up on and learn more about the foundations of the cultural context it was written in." In addition to her communications major, Bear is a sociology minor and a member of the Honors Program.

"It's truly an honor to be chosen for such a unique and life-altering experience," Bear said. "It wouldn't have been possible without the help of some incredible individuals I've met along my educational journey so far. I hope that being a Fulbright Summer Institute participant will give me the opportunity to make more unique connections with amazing people, to learn lessons I could have never learned or understood in the classroom, and to continue to instill in myself a deep sense of respect for the cultures of the communities into which I am being welcomed. Roanoke College and the Fulbright Commission are both founded firmly on learning through experience and respect, and I believe in that wholeheartedly. I just can't say enough how incredibly grateful I am for this wonderful journey, and for all the people who are making it possible."

"Hannah is a unique student I've had the pleasure of working with here at Roanoke," Dr. Shannon Anderson, assistant professor of sociology, said. "She is extraordinary in the fullest meaning of that word. I've had the great privilege of working with her in the classroom and one-on-one since her first semester here, and am looking forward to two more years of learning together. She will be a remarkable ambassador for the College, and will bring even more back to share with our community here in Salem."

Bear is a campus founder of Eye to Eye, a national mentoring movement that pairs kids who have learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with college and high school mentors who have been similarly labeled.

"I love Eye to Eye," Bear said. "I discovered I live for it! Eye to Eye has changed the lives of kids and students here. We've built a community we didn't have before." The program uses an arts-based curriculum, mentors help their mentees understand their unique way of learning and thinking, building self-esteem and skills they need to become self-advocates.

"In the 70th year of the Special Relationship, we can celebrate American students seeking study abroad opportunities through our Summer Institute programme," Penny Egan CBE, Executive Director, US-UK Fulbright Commission said. "This is a unique opportunity to get a taste of British higher education while interacting with students from across the globe. As part of a diverse and high-achieving cohort, these students will gain immensely from the experience."

The Commission selects participants through a rigorous application and interview process. In making these awards the Commission looks not only for academic excellence but a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright Program and a plan to give back to the recipient's home country upon returning.

Roanoke College has been one of The Fulbright program's top producers in the bachelor's college division for three consecutive years.