Lafayette College is among the colleges and universities that produced the most U.S. Fulbright students for the 2022-23 academic year, according to an announcement by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 

Fulbright is the federal government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Top-producing institutions, a designation begun in 2009-10, are highlighted annually in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Lafayette also received the honor for the 2011-12, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2017-18, and 2020-21 academic years.

“Fulbright student grants provide two distinctive means for graduating seniors and alumni to ‘round out’ their academic and co-curricular interests,” says Julia Goldberg, associate dean of advising and co-curricular programs and director of the scholarships and fellowships program. “We have had students return from study abroad determined to return in order to engage in independent study and research. For others, they might never have that deep-dive opportunity without Fulbright.”

Lafayette Again Named Top Producer of US Fulbright Students

Lafayette again named Top Producer of US Fulbright Students

On campus, Lafayette offers few barriers for students interested in a Fulbright student grant beyond the basic eligibility requirements (graduating seniors or graduates with U.S. citizenship), Goldberg notes. Most Fulbright Student Programs have no GPA requirements. However, each host country will have its own eligibility requirements that have to be met. Host country language skills will vary. Many programs are taught in English and/or require no prior host country language skills.  

“We work closely with all applicants, supporting them throughout the application and selection process,” Goldberg says. “In the process, we may encourage applicants to consider different host countries or host country offerings that may be better suited for the applicant. We will also try to connect current applicants with past recipients.”

Unsuccessful applicants are encouraged to reapply, and many do. Additionally, Fulbright scholars can apply for a second grant.

The Fulbright Top Producing recognition is based upon last year’s applicant pool to which Lafayette submitted 14 applications, with eight of them initially named semifinalists. Of the eight semifinalists, five received a Fulbright student grant. Five of the four accepted the award; another, who was named an alternate for the grant, is currently in graduate school in the U.S. on a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. 

Fulbright student grantees awarded for 2022-23: 

Celeste Fieberg ’22 (English teaching assistantship in Kyrgyzstan; awarded but declined the award)

Ayat Husseini ’20 (Research in Jordan)

Kevin Manogue ’22 (English teaching assistantship in Colombia)

Anna Zittle ’22 (English teaching assistantship in the Czech Republic)

Henry Hinchey ’20 (English teaching assistantship in Brazil)

Kristen Steudel ’22 (alternate, graduate study in the United Kingdom). 

This year, Lafayette submitted seven applications for 2023-24 Fulbright student grants. Of those, five are currently named semifinalists. Their applications have been sent to their respective host countries for final determination of their award status. Those five semifinalists are:

Mackenzi Berner ’23 (English teaching assistantship in Spain)

Nathan Kornfeind ’23 (Research in Germany)

Maria Bossert ’23 (Research in Nepal)

Andrea Rivera ’23 (English teaching assistantship in the Czech Republic)

Maya Nylund ’23 (English teaching assistantship in South Korea)

Significance of Fulbright student grants at Lafayette

Fulbright student grants offer many diverse opportunities for candidates to explore their interests and discover new ones—the possibilities are endless. All disciplines and interests can find an outlet through Fulbright, including those in the creative and performing arts. 

The Study/Research route provides the means for applicants to either earn a graduate degree or conduct independent study/research in their designated host country, while the English Teaching Assistantships offer opportunities for candidates to teach English in a host country. In both cases, Fulbright students are expected to serve as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. while abroad and for the host country upon their return. During their Fulbright year, recipients are expected to be meaningfully engaged in and with their host country. 

During the course of their Fulbright year, awardees experience life abroad in a far more realistic manner than they would have during a typical undergraduate study abroad program. 

“Awardees are essentially embedded in all aspects of the host community from their housing and daily transportation to establishing professional and personal routines,” Goldberg says. “For some, this is the first time they have spent any significant time abroad; for others, it is an opportunity to further engage with their host country or an opportunity to familiarize themselves with another.”

Many of Lafayette’s English teaching assistants use the opportunity to enhance their undergraduate tutoring, teaching, and mentorship skills while others use the opportunity to strengthen or acquire their host language skills and/or explore teaching as an option. 

Last year, Wendy Wilson-Fall, professor and chair of Africana studies, and Angelika von Wahl, John L. ’67 and Jean A. Hatfield Professor of International Affairs and international affairs program chair, served on Fulbright’s U.S Student Grant Program National Screening Committees. Those screening committees evaluate and select the first round of U.S. applications. Applicants who make it through the first round of screening are then recommended to their host countries for final selection. Recommended candidates, in Fulbright’s nomenclature, are known as “semifinalists.”

More information

  • The Fulbright Student Program is open to graduating seniors and alumni with no age restriction. Interested applicants should contact Julia Goldberg, associate dean of advising and co-curricular programs. For information on campus application procedures, visit the Scholarships and Fellowships Office website. The Fulbright 2022-23 application season has closed; the 2023-24 awards cycle will open in the spring.
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