Oberlin has been recognized as a Top Producer of Fulbright Students for the 14th consecutive year, an honor conferred by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which administers the Fulbright Program.
Fulbright is the United States government’s flagship international academic exchange program. It supports exchanges between the U.S. and more than 150 countries around the world. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards grants to college graduates, graduate students, and early-career professionals.
Oberlin is a perennial leader in Fulbright honorees among undergraduate institutions, qualifying 13 students to study abroad in the 2021-22 academic year. Oberlin is third on the overall list of Fulbright awardees for the past year—and remains third on the all-time list, with more than 260 Fulbright recipients.
“After all of the disruptions, disappointments, and disconnections of the pandemic, I am thrilled to see so many Oberlin students going abroad again,” says Nick Petzak, Oberlin’s director of fellowships and awards, part of the Center for Engaged Liberal Arts. “The mission of the Fulbright Program is to promote cultural exchange through direct interaction, and we certainly need more of that.”
Petzak adds that 31 Oberlin students have been named Fulbright semifinalists for 2022-23—an unprecedented number for the school. Fulbright honors are announced throughout the spring season.
Oberlin’s 2022-23 Fulbrighters
Selected for their academic merit and leadership potential, Fulbright Students earn the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to challenges facing communities around the world. Fulbrighters return home with an expanded worldview, a deeper appreciation of their host country and its people, and broader professional and personal networks.
Oberlin’s 2022-23 Fulbrighters and their international destinations are:
Raavi Asdar ’21, an Oberlin graduate in history, teaching English in Tajikistan
Elise Steenburgh ’22, a graduate in biology and environmental studies, teaching in Brazil
Abijah Ahern ’22, a former history and politics major, teaching in Serbia
Peter Stern ’22, a former creative writing and cinema studies major, teaching in Greece
Mikaela de Lemos ’21, a graduate in psychology, tutoring in Spain
Chloe Lai ’22, a former art history and East Asian studies major, teaching in Taiwan
Arman Luczkow ’22, who studied politics and English at Oberlin, teaching in Taiwan
Sarah Wong ’22, a graduate in musical studies and law and society, teaching in Taiwan
Riley Davis ’22, a former Hispanic studies and Latin American studies major, teaching in Argentina
Cassandra Gutterman-Johns ’22, a graduate in theater and creative writing, teaching in Czech Republic
Leah Fenster ’22, a former German and biochemistry major, teaching in Austria
Phoebe von Conta ’22, who studied environmental studies and Hispanic studies, earned a Fulbright to Argentina but accepted a Shansi Fellowship to India related to teaching and environmental sustainability.
Molly Gleydura ’21, a former psychology and French double major, was awarded a Fulbright to work in Luxembourg, but opted instead for a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship through which she is studying facets of grief and loss across cultures.
In addition to student honors, Fulbright also sponsors a U.S. Scholar Program that offers teaching and research grants for college faculty and administrators. Two Oberlin faculty members earned U.S. Scholar Fulbrights for 2022-23: Professor of Anthropology Erika Hoffmann-Dilloway continues her long-term ethnographic fieldwork with deaf signers in Kathmandu; and Associate Professor of Economics Evan Kresch joins the faculty at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid to teach a course he developed at Oberlin on economic development of Latin America.
The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 in the name of Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by sponsoring students and scholars to study, teach English, and conduct research overseas. Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. Sources of funding for the Fulbright Program are an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, paired with contributions from the host countries.
The number of Oberlin students receiving Fulbrights over the past decade and a half has increased substantially, in part due to expansion of the international Fulbright program, with a larger number of awards being made worldwide.
Petzak is quick to note that the overall character of the Oberlin student body—engaged, creative, curious about the world, and service-oriented—represents a natural fit for such elite programs. “That ultimately makes them some of the most compelling and competitive national applicants for awards like Fulbright,” he says. “Oberlin students are simply that good.”
Learn more about fellowship opportunities at Oberlin through the Center for Engaged Liberal Arts.
G.M. Donley is a 1983 graduate of Oberlin College.
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