The Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarships Advisement (ONSA) has announced that a total of 16 Arizona State University students have been offered Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards for 2023–24.
This is an increase from both 2022–23 and 2021–22, in which ASU had 12 and seven Fulbright student awardees, respectively.
The Fulbright program annually awards over 2,000 grants to support independent study or research, teaching, graduate study or artistic practice abroad. The program was founded in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries through the exchange of people, knowledge and skills. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, it is the largest and most prestigious educational exchange fellowship program in the world.
In the most recent application cycle, ASU was named both a Hispanic-Serving Institutions Leader by the Fulbright program, as well as a top-producing institution for both U.S. student and faculty scholar Fulbright awards, one of only nine universities to do so.
Over the past decade, 169 ASU applicants have received Fulbright awards, an achievement that ranks ASU 14th overall, ahead of Johns Hopkins, Berkeley, Rutgers, Duke and the University of Texas. ASU also ranks second overall among public universities, behind the University of Michigan, and ranks first among ABOR-designated peer institutions.
“Our continued success with the Fulbright program is a testament to the breadth of our academic offerings and the diversity of our student body,” said Kyle Mox, associate dean for national scholarships and ASU Fulbright program advisor.
“One of the truly remarkable qualities of the Fulbright program is that it does not have a preference for one academic field or type of student over another,” added Mox. “It’s just looking for ambitious students who are motivated to serve as ambassadors for the U.S. through meaningful academic exchange, which aligns well with the culture that we create at ASU.”
This year’s cohort of ASU recipients represents this diversity well. Of the 16 recipients, 11 are bachelor’s degree graduates and four are graduate or professional students, in fields of study ranging from anthropology to economics, elementary education, film, musical theater and law.
Isabela Huckabee, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics with honors from Barrett, The Honors College, received a Fulbright award to the Philippines, where she will be based in Quezon City at Ateneo de Manila University beginning in late August. While there, she will conduct research on inclusive astronomy education and develop undergraduate course material, organize a lecture series and work with other universities to write grant proposals for mentoring programs.
“I feel very lucky. I’m being funded to reconnect and give back to my roots — I’d say that’s pretty cool,” said Huckabee, who has family ties to the Philippines.
Huckabee said her goal is to help connect Filipinos with astrophysics learning and research opportunities through several projects, one of which will focus on creating classes with instructor guides designed so that they can be facilitated by anyone with general astrophysics knowledge. Upon her return from the Philippines, Huckabee will enter a doctoral program at Cornell University.
Collin Frank, who received bachelor’s degrees in Russian and global studies with honors from Barrett in 2022 and a master’s degree in political science in May, was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) award. For the 2023–24 academic year, he will teach English to students at Yerevan State University in Armenia.
“I can’t wait to explore a region of the world that I’ve studied but haven’t had the chance to visit,” said Frank, who spent four months last year studying Russian, Eurasian and East European languages at the London School of Languages and Cultures in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, under a U.S. Department of State grant.
“I remember writing my (Fulbright) application essays in a coffee shop in Bishkek in July of last year. The whole application process involves a lot of waiting, so having all of that anticipation resolved is really a great feeling,” he said.
Frank has plans for the next few years locked down. He has also been awarded a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship, so after completing his Fulbright ETA year, he will intern with the U.S. Department of State and enter Georgetown University for a master’s degree in foreign affairs, after which he will join the U.S. Foreign Service.
“Fulbright ETAs are supposed to function as student diplomats, and the work of a teacher is very similar to that of a diplomat. I’m excited to learn the practicalities of diplomacy so that I can do my job better down the line,” he said.
Isabella Werner, who graduated ASU in May with a bachelor’s degree in computer systems engineering (cybersecurity) with honors from Barrett, has also been awarded a Fulbright ETA award, which will take her to the Slovak Republic in September. She will be posted at a high school in Sečovce.
“I feel grateful and excited to be a Fulbright ETA because I felt accomplished just submitting my application, hoping for the best but proud of myself regardless of the outcome. I gained a lot of clarity about my values and goals by writing my personal statement and statement of grant purpose,” Werner said.
Werner said as a student worker in ASU’s Office of Applied Innovation, she developed an interest in working at the intersection of education and technology.
“In my role as an English teaching assistant, I will further cultivate my leadership skills and continue broadening my perspective,” said Werner, who plans to pursue a master’s degree in business administration after completing her Fulbright year.
The application cycle for the 2024–25 Fulbright award year is currently open, with an ASU campus deadline of Sept. 12.
“Current seniors who are interested should reach out quickly,” said Mox. “These deadlines come at you very fast, and the best way to improve your chances of winning a Fulbright are to write several drafts of the application essays. It can be more work than people anticipate.”
Despite the effort required, the current cohort of ASU Fulbright awardees encourage other students to commit to the process.
“If you are even slightly interested in applying for a Fulbright ETA, do it,” said Werner. “Ask for guidance on selecting a country if you’re unsure where to start; I did. Tell your story in written statements that no one but you could share and implement the feedback from your campus interview.”
Werner also suggested that, for inspiration, students take a look at the photos of the many Fulbright award recipients displayed on the wall in Honors Hall in the Barrett Tempe complex.
“Pick up your ‘I Hit Submit’ sticker at the ONSA office and celebrate in a way that best suits you! It’s not a small feat to submit a Fulbright application. Be proud of yourself,” she said.
Frank also strongly encourages students to apply for the Fulbright program.
“I wish that I applied earlier. A lot of students self-select out of opportunities that they're completely qualified for. The application process is a bit daunting, but the payoff is definitely worth the effort,” he said.
The complete cohort of ASU Fulbright U.S. Student Program awardees for the 2023–24 academic year is as follows:
Joseph Bergs, bachelor's degree, elementary education, ETA to Spain
Max Biederman, bachelor's degree, Arabic studies and global health, ETA to Tajikistan
Fausto Burruel, bachelor's degree, political science, economics, mathematics, ETA to Germany
Quinne Daoust, JD, law, open study/research to Israel
Brian Fahey, doctorate, anthropology, open study/research to South Africa
Eli Fox, bachelor's degree, Russia studies, ETA to Kazakhstan
Collin Frank, master's degree, political science, ETA to Armenia
David Gowey, doctorate, sociocultural anthropology, open study/research to Philippines
Usame Gunes, bachelor's degree, film, ETA to Turkey
Bailey Hardt, bachelor's degree, anthropology ETA to Taiwan
Isabela Huckabee, bachelor's degree, astrophysics, open study/research to Philippines
Kelsey Kerley, bachelor's degree, English and secondary education, ETA to Greece
Erin Kong, bachelor's degree, performance, open study/research to Ireland
Justin Kopek, bachelor's degree, economics and global studies ETA to Brazil
Christian Shousha, bachelor's degree, Russian and Italian, ETA to Georgia
Isabella Werner, bachelor's degree, computer systems engineering, ETA to Slovak Republic
Current ASU students who apply for the Fulbright awards receive significant advising from ONSA, but must apply by the preliminary campus deadline of Sept. 12. An overview of the application requirements and process are available at fulbright.asu.edu.
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