By: Kasey Andrade
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, America’s largest exchange program, offers research, study, and teaching opportunities in more than 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students. The opportunities for international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching available through this prestigious award are granted to approximately 1,900 individuals annually in all fields of study. Alumni of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program include ambassadors, members of Congress, judges, heads of corporations, university presidents, journalists, artists, professors, and teachers.
BSU encourages students to apply for the Fulbright by providing resources and mentoring to applicants through the application process. The Fellowships Advisory Board (FAB) is a coalition of faculty and staff who advise applicants on national scholarships and fellowships, including the Marshall, Goldwater, and Truman. Faculty and staff members serving on FAB include Dr. Teresa King (chair), Amy Couto, Dr. Deborah Nemko (Music), College of Humanities & Social Sciences Dean Dr. Paula Krebs, Dr. Alba Aragon (Global Languages), Dr. James Crowley (English), Dr. Diana Fox (Anthropology), Professor Magaly Ponce (Art), Dr. Saritha Nellutla (Chemistry), Professor Jenifer Sarver (Dance), Dr. Ellen Scheible (English), Jenny Shanahan (Office of Undergraduate Research), and Dr. Wing-kai To (History).
Fulbright applicants are encouraged to participate in BSU’s Fulbright Boot Camp, a weeklong intensive preparatory program that is among the few of its kind nationwide. Sponsored by the Honors Program, Office of Undergraduate Research, and Academic Affairs, Fulbright Boot Camp was held from May 16-20 and was coordinated and co-facilitated by Dr. Deborah Nemko and Amy Couto. During the week, Dr. Nemko, Ms. Couto and faculty guests advised students on application requirements, country requirements, and project ideas. Throughout the week, students drafted and peer-edited personal and grant statements. Students also visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for creative inspiration and peer bonding.
Future Fulbright applicant Madison Forbes attended Boot Camp and revealed, “The Fulbright Boot Camp encouraged and supported strongly my interest in pursuing academic research while in an ambassadorial role after I graduate, by giving personal feedback on my project proposal and personal statement.” Madison added that attending the boot camp allowed her to gain support from her peers, and she believed the most beneficial aspect of the program was reviewing personal statements.
After the Fulbright Boot Camp, Amy Couto and Dr. Deborah Nemko provided additional support for candidates. Dr. Nemko and Ms. Couto held workshops with applicants over the summer to discuss and edit statement drafts. Dozens of faculty mentors acted as Campus Committee Evaluation committee members and letter recommenders. BSU’s Fulbright Experience mobilizes all of campus, as faculty and staff members from a variety of departments and offices work together to provide applicants with the support and guidance needed to produce the highest quality applications for this competitive and respected award.