UMass Amherst Graduates Awarded Fulbright Scholarships for International Teaching and Research

AMHERST, Mass. - Five University of Massachusetts Amherst alumni, including four 2010 graduates, have been awarded Fulbright scholarships for international studies for this academic year. They are among more than 1,500 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad during the 2010-11 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

The latest awards continue a record of success for UMass Amherst, which last year was named a "Top Producer of Fulbright Students" by the Chronicle of Higher Education, said Susan K. Whitbourne, professor of psychology and director of the UMass Amherst’s Office of National Scholarship Advisement.

"Once again, our students have demonstrated exceptional academic skills and a determination to stand out during the selection process," Whitbourne said. "It is also a proud achievement for the faculty and staff who worked with the students as they pursued these highly competitive scholarships."

The newest group of Fulbrights includes three students who graduated with distinction this year from UMass Amherst’s Commonwealth Honors College:

Lucian Bessmer, a history major from Needham, is pursuing studies in Turkey.

Kerry Shields, of Needham, who completed studies in international relations and community development through the Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration program, is studying public health in Senegal.

Kelsey Whiting-Jones, a classics major from Cummington, is teaching English in Malaysia.

The other Fulbright awardees are:

Leif Walcutt, of Marstons Mills, who received his degree in journalism, is teaching English in Indonesia.

Jacob Dyer-Spiegel, of Amherst, is studying comparative literature in Brazil. He is a 2002 UMass Amherst graduate with bachelor''s degrees in Comparative Literature and Spanish and Portuguese and is currently a Ph.D. student in English.

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 111,000 Americans who have studied, taught or researched abroad and 183,000 students, scholars and teachers from other countries who have engaged in similar activities in the United States. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education.