14 UMass Amherst Students, Alumni Awarded Fulbright Grants

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AMHERST, Mass. – Fourteen University of Massachusetts Amherst students and alumni have been awarded Fulbright grants for 2018-19, reports the university’s Office of National Scholarship Advisement (ONSA).

The Fulbright recipients will embark on a variety of roles in their chosen host countries. Conducting research, teaching English or pursuing a master’s degree abroad, the new cohort of Fulbright scholars will be living and working in countries including South Korea, Romania, Brazil, Germany and South Africa.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as a record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered at UMass Amherst through ONSA.

“We are very proud of our awardees who are eager to study abroad and to experience new cultures and new educational settings. They are the greatest representatives of our university internationally and major actors in cultural exchange around the globe,” says Madalina Akli, director of ONSA.

Akli notes that the high number of Fulbright awards reflects the commitment by UMass Amherst to a culture of internationalization, as she acknowledged faculty support of all Fulbright applicants. “ONSA supports candidates in numerous ways, but the faculty advising students, writing recommendation letters for them and serving on the campus faculty committee are key to our Fulbright success.” 

The 2018-19 recipients are:

Christina Bosch, a graduate student in special education, who will research teacher attitudes toward inclusive education in Chile.

Michelle Chung, a graduating senior in sustainable community development, who will teach English in Brazil.

Arielle Gillette, a 2015 graduate who earned a B.A. in English and political science and a master’s in education. She will teach English in Norway.

Durga Kolla, a graduate student in environmental health sciences, will study the effects of phthalates on male reproductive health in Denmark.

Dhanya Kumar, a graduating senior in microbiology, will travel to the United Kingdom to pursue a master’s degree in biological sciences at the University of London’s Institute of Cardiovascular Research.

Priscilla Mollard, a graduate student in anthropology, will conduct bioarchaeology research in Romania.

Niamh Mulrooney, a 2017 graduate in public health and pre-med, will work with the nonprofit organization mothers2mothers in Swaziland, researching the role of women as peer supporters in the country’s health infrastructure.

Brooke Parziale, who received a B.A. in history in 2017, will teach English to primary or secondary school students in South Korea.

Andrea Pulido, a 2017 graduate in women, gender, sexuality studies, will travel to the Philippines to research the impact of Filipino culture on sex education.

Alexandra Saulenas, who received a B.S. in biology last year, will teach English in the Czech Republic.

Kira Tait, a Ph.D. candidate in political science, will study how language, culture and historical experience can hinder people in South Africa to assert their constitutional claims to social and economic goods and services, such as housing, health care, food and water.

Tenzin Thargay, a graduating senior in political science and Chinese language and literature, is going to Seoul, South Korea, where he will conduct survey research on how citizens’ political party affiliations impact their attitudes toward nuclear energy.

Jane Viviano, a 2018 graduate in Middle Eastern studies, will teach English in Morocco.

Allison Yelgin, a graduating senior in English, will teach English in Germany.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program has provided funding for more than 380,000 participants. Chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential, Fulbright recipients are granted the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Over 1,900 U.S. students, artists, and early-career professionals in more than 100 fields of study are offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English, and conduct research annually in over 140 countries throughout the world.

The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation by the United States Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.

In the United States, the Institute of International Education supports the implementation of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, including conducting an annual competition for the scholarships.     

For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit http://eca.state.gov/fulbright. For additional information on ONSA and the Fulbright recipients, go to https://onsa.umass.edu/.