Five Elon students, alumnae selected to teach and research abroad through Fulbright Program

Three members of the Class of 2023 and two members of the Class of 2022 have been selected for the prestigious program that offers opportunities for recent graduates in more than 140 countries.

Three members of the Class of 2023 and two members of the Class of 2022 have been selected to teach English or conduct research abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. One alumna from the Class of 2022 has been selected as an alternate.

The largest exchange program in the country, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards approximately 2,200 grants annually in all fields of study. Recent graduates and graduate students undertake graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary teaching worldwide. Founded in 1946, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries.

Elon has been repeatedly recognized for the number of its alumni who participate in the Fulbright Program as teachers and researchers and has been named a top-producer of Fulbright students in six separate years.

Those receiving awards this year are:

Joycelyn Bentley ’22

JoyceLyn Bentley, who graduated in 2022 with degrees in cinema & television arts and religious studies, has received a Fulbright grant to teach English in Botswana. Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Bentley currently serves as the Coordinator of Advancement Communications at Elon. During her undergraduate years, she was an Odyssey Scholar, a Multifaith Scholar and the President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Bentley, motivated by her deep connection to her identity as a Black American and her desire to engage with Black people across the African Diaspora, is eager to arrive in Botswana. “My goal in teaching in Botswana is to introduce students to American identities that exist outside the confines of whiteness and display the rich diversity of American culture and daily life,” she says.

Bentley is looking forward to embracing Fulbright’s core value of cross-cultural exchange during her grant year. “At the end of the day, it’s all about connection,” she says. “I hope the students I teach, the teachers I work with and everyone I encounter can say that the time they spent knowing me enriched their lives and that they learned something about the world and themselves from that experience, because I know that that will be case for me.”

Madeline Fayne ’23

Madeline Fayne, a psychology major, has received a Fulbright grant to teach English in France. From Los Angeles, California, Fayne holds leadership positions at Elon within her sorority, Sigma Kappa, as well as Elon Hillel. She also works in Residence Life and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society.

Fayne became inspired to pursue an English Teaching Assistantship after studying abroad in France and teaching English at a Parisian middle school. “I knew that pursuing a Fulbright ETA grant in France would give me the opportunity to return to the French education system and challenge me to teach in a way that honored these French traditions while bringing my own teaching styles into the classroom,” she says.

Teaching English through the Fulbright Program is the first step in Fayne’s career in school psychology. “I know that participating in a cultural exchange program such as Fulbright will help me in my future endeavors in school psychology, a career where I will work with students and their families who may come from a variety of cultures and backgrounds, thus requiring me to be knowledgeable of the difficulties that come with acclimating to a new country and its culture,” Fayne says.

Emily Katz ’22

Emily Katz has received a Fulbright grant to teach English in Spain. A member of the class of 2022, Katz majored in psychology and is from Gaithersburg, Maryland. Katz is a member of several honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi, and was deeply involved with Elon Hillel during her time as an undergraduate. She currently serves as the Administrative Manager at a Jewish Preschool.

“I applied to Fulbright for several reasons,” says Katz. “First, I desired the valuable experience of living abroad, which I missed out on during my undergraduate studies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, I wanted to fully immerse myself in a Spanish-speaking country to enhance my Spanish skills and intercultural competence. Lastly, I hoped to work with children in a more hands-on capacity, with the ultimate goal of becoming a school counselor in a region of the United States with a high population of native Spanish speakers.”

Katz will spend her time in Spain on the Canary Islands, which will allow her to work with children and the Islands’ Jewish population. “I found the tumultuous history of Spain’s Jewish population particularly fascinating, especially after learning about the expulsion of the Jewish people in 1492 and the creation of the unique Ladino language, which combines Hebrew and Spanish… I am excited to work with two of my favorite communities: children and the Jewish population,” she says.

Louisa Malchodi ’23

A psychology and strategic communications double major, Louisa Malchodi has received a Fulbright Award to teach English in Taiwan. During her time at Elon, Malchodi has been the Team Lead of The Elon Challenge, the Vice President of Member Development for Alpha Xi Delta sorority, and a tutor with Elon Learning Assistance.

The Acton, Massachusetts native is most excited about the opportunity to teach and engage with a new culture. Malchodi says, “I am excited to learn more about teaching! I am also excited to live in a country different from the U.S. since I have never studied abroad. I hope to make friends, gain a better understanding of collectivist cultures, explore post-graduation hobbies and learn some Chinese.”

In addition to teaching, Malchodi is eager to learn more about Taiwan’s “industrial environment, since it is so different from that of the U.S.” This experience uniquely prepares her to return to the United States and earn a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology.

Natalie Triche ’23

Natalie Triche, who majored in religious studies and international & global studies, has received a Fulbright grant to conduct independent research in Morocco. A Lumen Scholar, as well as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Iota Rho, and Theta Alpha Kappa honor societies, she has conducted research at Elon that examines secularism in Egypt through an ethnographic lens under the mentorship of Brian Pennington, professor of religious studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society. During her time as an undergraduate, Triche spent a semester studying abroad in Morocco and is excited to return with the support of Fulbright.

“I chose to apply to Morocco because after spending a semester abroad there, I came home with a deep love for the customs and traditions of the country, and a craving to learn more and to expand and add depth to my knowledge of Morocco – from language to culture,” Triche says.

Triche’s research in Morocco will investigate how the implementation of Article 19 of the post-Arab Spring Moroccan constitution has impacted the daily lives and practices of women. She looks forward to expanding and adding depth to her knowledge of Morocco in preparation for her future career in international law. She is from Sammamish, Washington.

One member of the Class of 2022, Heeba Chergui, has been named an alternate for an award to teach English in Albania. Alternates are still in the competition and have the chance to be promoted to finalists (recipients of the grant) up until the official start of the grant period.

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 for grants in 2024-25, students should visit the Fulbright Application Process page and contact Ann Cahill, director of National and International Fellowships, or Nicole Galante, assistant director of National and International Fellowships.