Thinking ahead, ASU students encouraged to apply for Fulbright


With all the worry going on right now, it can be hard to think too far ahead. But Arizona State University is encouraging students to consider representing their country abroad in the prestigious Fulbright program.

This year’s Fulbright Day, previously scheduled to be held in the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus, will be held online at 3 p.m. Wednesday via Zoom, the same platform that students are currently using for classes.

“Current events have shifted so rapidly, and we’re looking at global affairs with a little trepidation, but this too shall pass,” said Kyle Mox, director of the Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarships Advisement at ASU and associate dean of Barrett, The Honors College.

“And once it has, we can’t just hit ‘restart’ then. We have to start planning in advance.

“The Department of State is planning on operating Fulbright as planned and all models show that we’ll be in the clear before students are packing to go,” he said.

The prestigious Fulbright program, created in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between Americans and the people of other countries, provides the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research abroad. ASU has been a top 20 university for Fulbright awards every year for the past 10 years. For 2019-20, 19 Sun Devils were accepted into the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program.

“The fundamental purpose of Fulbright is cultural engagement and ambassadorship,” Mox said. “At its core, the program was designed to put people in face-to-face interactions. And we can agree that we need that now more than ever.”

The next application cycle opens March 31 for people who would be going abroad in the 2021-22 year. Fulbright recipients must have a bachelor’s degree, so applicants would be rising seniors, graduate students and recent grads. Applications will be submitted in the fall and acceptances will be sent out next spring.

The virtual Fulbright Day will include a panel of alumni who will share their experiences and a question-and-answer session.

The current online-only method of working won’t affect support for students who decide to apply.

“We are way ahead of the curve in terms of distance education with Fulbright in my office,” Mox said.

“So much of the work happens over the summer that we have a digital learning platform for students to engage with. There’s a whole Canvas setup that we piloted last year for the enrollment and intake process.”

The Office of National Scholarship Advisement holds webinars every other Friday on individual aspects of the application process, such as the best way to get a letter of recommendation or how to think about cultural engagement.

“With a campus the size and scope of ASU, we can’t depend on conventional office hours, so we do video appointments,” Mox said.

“We want to get the number of applicants up because we think there are a lot of ASU students who would be great Fulbrights, so we want to be as inclusive as possible.

“The best way to combat uncertainty is to take positive action and make long-term plans.”

Top image courtesy of Pixabay

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