Elon University named a top producer of Fulbright students

Elon is featured on the annual list of U.S. doctoral institutions whose graduates were offered Fulbright student awards for 2020-21.

For a sixth time, Elon University has been named a top producer of Fulbright students for 2020-21 after 10 recent graduates were offered the prestigious international fellowship to study, research or teach English overseas.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced on Feb. 15 its list of U.S. doctoral institutions that last year produced the highest number of Fulbright offers to students.

Elon is recognized among national doctoral institutions and with 10 Fulbright offers, tied with Boston University, Miami University, Stony Brook University, the University of Nebraska and the University of South Carolina. Along with Elon, other North Carolina institutions recognized as top producers are Duke University, Wake Forest University, Davidson College, the University of North Carolina and Appalachian State University. The full list of top producers is published annually by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Fulbright competition is administered at Elon through the National and International Fellowships Office which is directed by Professor Ann Cahill and Sarah Krech, who serves as associate director.

“Elon’s success in the Fulbright selection process has everything to with its relationship-rich approach to engaged learning,” Cahill said. “With a wide breath of academic achievements, including study abroad courses, internships, and mentored undergraduate research, as well as extra- and co-curricular commitments, Elon students have developed the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that the Fulbright student program values, and that contribute to the success of the sustained cross-cultural engagements that Fulbright offers.”

Cahill noted that being recognized as a top producer by Fulbright is also a testament to the extraordinary dedication and talent of Professor Janet Myers, who concluded her 16-year tenure as director of National and International Fellowships Office last year. “It is fitting that the final cohort of Fulbright applicants to be guided by her is among Elon’s strongest,” Cahill said.

Receiving awards from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to teach English in a foreign country in 2020-21 were Sarah Barron ’20 (Spain), Junie Burke ’20 (Spain), Anneliese Daggett ’20 (Vietnam), Emily Ford ’20 (Spain), Taylor Garner ’20 (Colombia), Sara Gostomski ’20 (Ecuador), Franceska Karasinski ’20 (South Korea), Kristen O’Neill ’19 (Greece) and Jacob Stern ’20 (South Korea). Kathryn Gerry ’20 received a Fulbright Award to study and conduct research in Bahrain in 2020-21. Due to the uncertainties of COVID-19, some recipients are completing truncated grants that began in January 2021, while others have elected to defer their grants for the 2021-22 grant year.

Along with being named a top producer of Fulbright students, Elon ranks among the top doctoral institutions in the percentage of applicants who receive Fulbright awards. Among the 24 Elon students and alumni applying for the 2020-21 grant year, 10 were offered Fulbright awards, the fourth-highest yield among the nearly 60 U.S. doctoral institutions recognized this year as top producers.

Earlier this month, 16 Elon students and alumni were named semifinalists for Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards. Award offers will be made later this spring.

The Fulbright Program was created to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program. Celebrations throughout the year will highlight the impressive accomplishments and legacy of the program and its alumni over its first 75 years, both in the United States and around the world. A dedicated 75th-anniversary website (www.fulbright75.org) will be updated throughout 2021 to showcase Fulbright alumni, partner countries, and anniversary events.

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Since its inception in 1946, over 400,000 people from all backgrounds—recent university graduates, teachers, scientists and researchers, artists, and more—have participated in the Fulbright Program and returned with an expanded worldview, a deep appreciation for their host country and its people, and a new network of colleagues and friends. Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists, and teachers. They include 60 Nobel Laureates, 88 Pulitzer Prize winners, 75 MacArthur Fellows, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors.

Elon students and recent alumni interested in the Fulbright program or other nationally competitive fellowships are invited to contact the National and International Fellowships Office. In order to begin the Fulbright application process in 2021, students should visit this page to register for one of the following Fulbright webinars during spring semester:

  • Monday, Feb. 22, 4 to 5 p.m.
  • Friday, March 26, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 8, 4:15 to 5:15 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 25, Noon to 1 p.m.