ANN ARBOR—University of Michigan students received 24 Fulbright grants for the 2018-19 academic year—the most of any public university in the nation for the 14th year in a row, the U.S. State Department announced.
The grants—one of the U.S. government’s most prestigious awards—fund the students’ research or teaching overseas for six to 12 months. This year, their interests range from researching social and economic transformations in China to studying ethnographic study of reproductive health care professionals in Burkina Faso.
“U-M’s commitment to international education helps students and scholars gain new perspectives and higher levels of understanding that make our world a better and safer place,” said U-M President Mark Schlissel. “I commend our newest Fulbright awardees for their dedication to making lasting positive impacts around the globe.”
Fulbrights were also awarded to four U-M faculty scholars.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright program seeks to increase mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries, as well as help the recipients achieve their academic goals. Nearly 1,100 U.S. students, artists and young professionals from 100 different fields are offered Fulbrights each year.
The staff at U-M’s International Institute have been crucial to the university’s Fulbright success. They provide individual advising and resources necessary to put forth a compelling and competitive application throughout the application process.
“We have a seasoned team consisting of Fulbright Program advisers and faculty that is very invested in our applicants’ success,” said Heather Johnson, fellowships adviser at the U-M International Institute. “It also helps that U-M students are perennially impressive in their own right.”
Recipients are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential. Former grantees include actor John Lithgow, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, opera singer Renee Fleming and economist Joseph Stiglitz.
Etzcorn says that the Fulbright scholarship is helping him “become a leader in sustaining and expanding direct interactions between Chinese and American citizens, beyond the narratives provided by their governments and media.”
Johnson adds that Fulbright offers a chance to the students and scholars to promote mutual understanding.
“It is key that applicants demonstrate a desire to genuinely engage on an individual level and to embrace the ambassadorial role expected of them as Fulbrighters,” she said.