Fulbright Scholar gives back

As a Fulbright Scholar, Ashleen Williams ’11, took a sense of community and generosity with her as she traveled to Bahrain this fall to teach English.

"My mother is very oriented toward giving things to others,” Williams says. “She’s generous and over the years has taken in anyone who needs a home. Since I was a kid I was really immersed in that idea.”

Williams, former ASUM president at UM, headed to the Middle East at the end of August to work under the 10-month prestigious grant. She also took with her a love of the Arabic language and culture. She studied Arabic for several years and was looking forward to honing her language skills and finding a community of women in Bahrain that might possibly teach her how to cook.

“I cannot cook to save my life,” she said before she left for Bahrain. “I’m hoping to hang out with Middle Eastern women and learn a few things.”

Williams left behind a proud university community that helped her along the road to her Fulbright. As a nod to those who came before her, she also left a monthly contribution to the Davidson Honors College study abroad fund.

“I love UM,” she says. “I think every student should have the opportunity to go abroad and have the experience of studying somewhere else.” Williams says that her consistent gift will help her establish a pattern of sustained giving while helping other students travel and learn.

“UM has been an awesome place for me to find what I wanted to do, and I wanted to give back,” she says.

Ashleen and friends at the International Food and Culture Festival

Students Liz Higgins (left), Yamina Belabassi (center) and Ashleen Williams (right) at the International Food and Culture Festival.

Liz and Ashleen are wearing dresses from Morocco that are souvenirs from their travels.