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Four ACU students receive major scholarships

A record number of Abilene Christian University students have been awarded major national scholarships this spring. Among the recipients are two graduating seniors who have been honored with Fulbright grants, a third student who will be participating in a Fulbright summer research institute, and a student receiving a 2024 Goldwater Scholarship.

Erin Hodgson, a senior political science major from Lubbock, Texas, and Ashlee Reed, a senior communication major from Cibolo, Texas, have been selected as recipients of prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards for 2024-25, and Macey Bridgeman, a junior chemistry major from Plano, Texas, will participate in Fulbright’s Canada-Mitacs Globalink Research Internship this summer. Additionally, sophomore biochemistry major Jermiah Polk was named a 2024 Goldwater Scholar through the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. 

These accomplishments highlight the exceptional academic and research opportunities available at ACU, said Dr. Phil Schubert, ACU president. 

“We are incredibly proud of Erin, Ashlee, Macey, and Jermiah for their remarkable achievements,” Schubert said. “Their success is a testament to their hard work, dedication and the exceptional education they have received at ACU. We are confident that they will continue to make significant contributions to their respective fields and positively impact the world around them.”

Fulbright U.S. Student Program


Erin Hodgson

Emily Rose

Erin Hodgson will be an English Teaching Assistant in Germany, a country she is already familiar with thanks to spending a semester in ACU’s Study Abroad program in Leipzig in 2022 and completing an internship with the German American Institute in the summer of 2023. As a political science major with a concentration in international relations and a minor in German and global studies, Hodgson said the opportunity to live, learn and work in Germany couldn’t have been a better fit for her education and career aspirations.

“It’s my dream to work in foreign relations and explore how the U.S. relates to the rest of the world,” she said. “The Fulbright program being an outgrowth of Senator William Fulbright, who contributed to foreign policy, is such an honor. It’s exciting to think about joining a long line of people who have done this and are committed to being salt in the world. I see myself as contributing to that mission with a uniquely Christian perspective. This will help distinguish me in ways that, when combined with ACU education, make me a really interesting candidate for future career opportunities.”

In addition to her experience with Study Abroad and completing an international internship, during her four years at ACU Hodgson took part in the student chapter of the American Enterprise Institute, participating in several conferences and seminars in Washington, D.C. She also worked with ACUTV, worked as a photographer for athletics, was a member of Ko Jo Kai sorority, volunteered with the local office of the International Rescue Committee, worked as intern for Congressman Jodey Arrington, was part of ACU’s Honors College and participated in undergraduate research projects.


Ashlee Reed

Connor Mullins

Like Hodgson, Ashlee Reed studied abroad in Leipzig in 2022, and the two friends interned together the following summer in Germany as well. Now, they’ll both be embarking on yet another international adventure, with Reed serving as an English Teaching Assistant in Switzerland.

“I applied to teach English in Switzerland due to my love for teaching, German language skills and desire to familiarize myself with a new culture,” Reed said. “Living in Switzerland, home of the United Nations European headquarters and the International Committee of the Red Cross, provides opportunities for professional connections that could support my desired career as a communication officer for international humanitarian organizations.”

In her four years at ACU Reed has volunteered with the Abilene office of the International Rescue Committee, participated in the Honors College, served as an ambassador for the Department of Communication and Sociology, worked as a peer leader and participated in ACU’s FilmFest. She also co-founded a creative writing club, The Writers Guild. 

Fulbright Canada-Mitacs Globalink Research Internship


Macey Bridgeman

Jacey Lam

Macey Bridgeman will spend this summer at the University of Guelph in Ontario, as part of a chemistry research group exploring the effects of radiation on ions and working on research related to nuclear reactors and their waste containment vessels. This type of research isn’t new to Bridgeman who has worked for ACU’s Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing Lab as well as other research projects in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She’s also been a member and chaplain of the Big Purple, ACU’s marching band; a teaching assistant; and was a member of Alpha Kai Omega sorority.After hearing about the Fulbright summer research program from a friend who was applying, the opportunity to live and study in a new setting appealed to Bridgeman.

“When I heard about living out of the country, I was excited to apply,” she said. “I studied abroad in Oxford and knew I wanted to live and study abroad again. I think going to different cultures is a way God can teach you that our home isn’t here on earth, and it’s important to learn about other people and cultures because that helps us all feel more at home with each other. ”

Bridgeman is the first ACU student to participate in the Fulbright Canada-Mitacs Globalink Research Internship.

Barry Goldwater Scholarship 


Jermiah Polk

In another success for ACU students and the Office of Major Scholarships, Jermiah Polk learned he had been named a 2024 Goldwater Scholar through the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. This prestigious national recognition is awarded to exceptional undergraduate students pursuing careers in the fields of natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. 

Polk intends to pursue research opportunities in graduate school and beyond, and through ACU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry he’s gotten a jump start as an undergraduate, assisting faculty in organometallic research. Faculty in his department encouraged him to apply for the Goldwater Scholarship, and Polk said it’s already benefited him in more ways than one.

“Even just the application process was helpful to me in thinking about how to write and share about research, which is a skill I’ll need to cultivate,” Polk said. “I was honestly very surprised when I was selected because it’s a very competitive national scholarship. I was mostly in disbelief when I first got the email.”

The award provides up to $7,500 per year, which Polk said will be a significant financial help as he finishes his degree. During his first two years at ACU, he was involved in the Big Purple marching band, Gamma Sigma Phi fraternity, the Honors College, ACU’s club pickleball team and Sing Song, and he worked as a resident assistant in Mabee Hall.

ACU’s Office of Major Scholarships

Students or recent alumni interested in applying for Fulbright grants, Goldwater Scholarships or other prestigious scholarships utilize ACU’s Office of Major Scholarships. This office is part of the Honors College and assists all students interested in applying for competitive awards. ACU was named a top-producing Fulbright institution for 2018-19.

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