Fifteen recognized by Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Fifteen Vanderbilt students and alumni have been recognized by the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for 2017-18. The program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and alumni to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide.

Named for the late Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the program was established by Congress in 1946 to “enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” Fulbright operates in more than 140 countries worldwide and awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study.

This year, Vanderbilt endorsed 37 candidates, 17 of whom were named semi-finalists at the end of January. Of this group, 10 were offered grants (“finalists” in Fulbright parlance). Five students have been named alternates, an important designation, as many alternates subsequently become grantees.

Finalists for 2017-18 are as follows:

  • Brianne Berry, English/Latin American Studies ’17 – English teaching assistantship, Spain
  • Rebecca Burke-Aguero, Bioinformatics/Spanish ’17 – English teaching assistantship, Spain
  • Julia Gabriel, Human and Organizational Development ’17 – English teaching assistantship, Czech Republic
  • Yasmina Haddad, Special Education ’17 – English teaching assistantship, India
  • James Leathers, Medicine/M.D. candidate – research, Spain
  • Danielle McKeiver, Elementary Education ’17 – English teaching assistantship, Mexico
  • Bryton Merritt, Economics/German ’17 – English teaching assistantship, Germany
  • Patricia Soo, Human and Organizational Development ’14 – English teaching assistantship, South Korea
  • Logan Stroburg, Biology/Medicine, Health and Society ’15 – English teaching assistantship, Andorra
  • Tiffany Wong, Medicine, Health and Society ’17 – English teaching assistantship, Taiwan

Vanderbilt’s Fulbright alternates are as follows:

  • Melissa De La Torre, Public Policy/Sociology ’17 – English teaching assistantship, South Africa
  • Zachary Ferguson, Philosophy/Spanish-Portuguese ’17 – English teaching assistantship, Portugal
  • Jessica Lowe, History/Ph.D. candidate – research, Germany
  • Katie McGinnis, Global Health/M.P.H. candidate – research, Kenya
  • Anna Whitus, Human and Organizational Development/Spanish – English teaching assistantship, Spain

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs named Vanderbilt among the U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most Fulbright U.S. students in 2016-17. Among research institutions, Vanderbilt ranked 13th, tying with five other universities. Of the institutions recognized, Vanderbilt had the seventh-highest yield (31.7 percent) of applicants receiving awards.

Vanderbilt students and alumni interested in learning more about Fulbright opportunities should contact the Office of Honor Scholarships to discuss their interests and qualifications.

Because all candidates are interviewed for endorsement by faculty committees, the application deadline for all Vanderbilt candidates for next year’s Fulbright competition is Sept. 10, 2017.