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Record Fulbright Award year led by 24 Arts and Letters students

Author: Mike Westrate

Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Programs Orientation Brunch

Twenty-four Notre Dame students who study in the College of Arts and Letters have received 2016-17 grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, offering students grants to conduct research, study, and teach abroad. Top-producing institutions are highlighted annually in The Chronicle of Higher Education. This year’s number is expected to raise Notre Dame’s national ranking to one of the top 10 universities in the country for 2016-2017.

Forty-eight Notre Dame students and alumni were recognized by the Fulbright program in 2016-17, with 30 finalists, eight alternates, and 10 semifinalists named. The number of students and alumni recognized is nearly double the previous University record, and the number of finalists is 70 percent higher than the previous Notre Dame record of 17, set last year. 

“This is wonderful news. Fulbright is one of the oldest, most respected, and most effective programs in the world for international student engagement,” said Thomas Burish, Charles and Jill Fischer Provost. “On behalf of all the faculty, I offer heartfelt congratulations to our applicants whether or not they received an award. We know that going through the process required considerable time and effort, and that it can lead to a much greater understanding of global issues. To those who received the award and will be traveling to places all around the world, we send our best wishes for much success and fulfillment in their work.”

Arts and Letters undergraduates named Fulbright finalists are:

  • Lauren Antosz, Spanish — study and research grant to Chile.
  • Whitney Bellant, psychology and German — English Teaching Assistantship to Germany.
  • Prinz Jeremy Llanes Dela Cruz, French and philosophy — English Teaching Assistantship to Andorra
  • Rose Doerfler, Chinese — study and research grant to Taiwan.
  • Charlie Ducey, English and German — study and research grant to Germany.
  • Bridget Galassini, international economics — English Teaching Assistantship to Spain.
  • Adam Henderson, political science — English Teaching Assistantship to Malaysia.
  • McKenzie Hightower, film, television and theater — English Teaching Assistantship to Poland.
  • Ray’Von Jones, sociology and Spanish — English Teaching Assistantship to Mexico.
  • Joseph Massad, political science and Arabic — English Teaching Assistantship to Bahrain.
  • Emily Migliore, political science and peace studies — English Teaching Assistantship to Mexico.
  • Andrew Scruggs, international economics — study and research grant to Jamaica.
  • Monika Spalinski, Spanish and German — English Teaching Assistantship to Germany.
  • Luke Wajrowski, philosophy and psychology — English Teaching Assistantship to Argentina.
  • Kyle Witzigman, political science and Glynn Family Honors Scholar — English Teaching Assistantship to Vietnam.

“Going into my senior year, I knew that I wanted to take a gap year before law school, but I had no idea what I wanted to do," Migliore said. "The Fulbright application process was absolutely invaluable in that it helped me to figure out what my goals were for personal and professional development between undergrad and law school. Even if I had not gotten it, I would have been immensely glad that I went through the process, as it really helped me find direction with regards to what my next step after graduation should be.”

Arts and Letters graduate students named Fulbright finalists are:

  • Elizabeth Baker, history — study and research grant to India.
  • Catherine Brix, literature — study and research grant to Chile.
  • Andrea Castonguay, history — study and research grant to Morocco.
  • Raymond Drause, history — study and research grant to Russia.
  • Garrett Fontenot, history — study and research grant to Canada.
  • Angela Lederach, anthropology and peace studies — study and research grant to Colombia.
  • Sean Sapp, history — study and research grant to Belgium.
  • Brandon Sepulvado, sociology — study and research grant to France.
  • Danae Yankoski, history — study and research grant to Canada.

“The Fulbright fellowship enables me to complete extensive archival work in France, supporting a dissertation that otherwise would not have been possible," Sepulvado said. "I am indebted the Office of Grants and Fellowships for the invaluable support they provided during each step of the application process, and I recommend anyone preparing an application to meet with the team.”

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 360,000 participants — chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. More than 1,900 U.S. students, artists and young professionals in more than 100 different fields of study are offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English and conduct research annually in more than 140 countries throughout the world.

The Fulbright competition at Notre Dame is open to all current students and alumni, and is administered at the graduate level by the Graduate School Office of Grants and Fellowships; the undergraduate level is administered by the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE).

Students and alumni create an application for the fellowship program in conjunction with their faculty adviser and under the direction of either the Graduate School or CUSE. The rise in awards won by Notre Dame applicants this year corresponds to the increasing efforts by the Graduate School and CUSE to provide both one-on-one consultations and group support for students throughout the application process, including conceptualization of projects, writing and revising proposals, and interview preparation and practice.

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