University News

University third in producing Fulbright scholars

Contributing Writer
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

For the second year in a row, Brown placed third among research institutions in the number of students who received Fulbright Awards, according to a list released Oct. 24 by the Institute of International Education.

For this year’s awards, 96 Brown students applied and 24 students — 25 percent — received awards.

The Herald reported in 2009 that 106 students applied for the scholarships and 29 received awards. Northwestern University and the University of Chicago came out on top of the 2009 list, and Brown produced more Fulbright students than Yale and the University of Michigan, which placed second and first this year, respectively.

According to Linda Dunleavy, associate dean of the College for fellowships and pre-law, 82 of Brown’s applicants this year applied as undergraduates, while the remaining 14 applied as graduate students. Out of the 82 who applied as undergraduates, most were members of the class of 2010, though a few graduated in 2009 and 2008. Out of the 24 who received awards, 22 were undergraduate applicants.

The “Fulbright program has really taken off at Brown in the last five years,” Dunleavy said. She said she is eager for even more students to “know about it and at least think about applying,” though she hopes that students realize that “it really is a lot of work to write a successful Fulbright application.”

This year, most students from Brown received Fulbright awards for research projects, though a few received awards for teaching projects.

According to a booklet published by the Office of the Dean of the College, recent Brown alums are undertaking projects that range from researching “Owner-Operator Trucking in Chengdu” to “Reconciling Global Wildlife Conservation Efforts to Local Cultural Context in Cameroon.” Other projects include researching “The Role of NGOs in the Implementation of the Mudawana” in Morocco and “Teaching English in a University or Binational Center” in Venezuela.

Linda Zang ’10 was awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to study in Germany. About her research, Zang said, “I’m interested in local legislators with an immigrant background and the political dimensions of national identity in contemporary Germany.”

“This scholarship gives you a chance to push yourself out of your comfort zone and do something on your own,” Zang said. “Fulbrighters have a great deal of intellectual and creative freedom with the projects — and that’s something that Brown students value.”

Both Dunleavy and Zang emphasized the benefits that Fulbright awards offer Brown students. Zang said that as an undergraduate, she had often wished for more time to pursue research in topics that interested her, but did not have the chance.

“The Fulbright is, above all, the gift of time,” Zang said. “If you have an idea for a project, or there is something that you’ve always wanted to study, then the Fulbright is your chance to bring that project into being.”

“It’s really a world-is-your-oyster kind of program,” Dunleavy said.

In order to apply for a Fulbright award, students must undergo a campus review. Each year, a campus committee from the University interviews the Brown student applicants before they move onto review by the national committee. “At Brown, we use that as an opportunity to comply with the Fulbright regulations, but we also see that as an opportunity to support our students and offer feedback on the parts of the application that could be improved,” Dunleavy said.

Recently, the on-campus portion of the review process for Fulbright applicants has been completed and this year’s applications for Fulbright awards have been sent off to the national committee.

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