Brown's 2017-18 Fulbright Scholars (not all winners are pictured)

Date February 19, 2018
Media Contact

For second year running, Brown produces most Fulbright winners in the U.S.

Thirty-nine Brown students and recent graduates earned the prestigious U.S. State Department grant to teach or conduct research abroad during the 2017-18 year.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — For the second year in a row, students and recent graduates from Brown University earned more Fulbright student scholarships than from any other university in the nation, data released by the Fulbright Program reported on Monday, Feb. 19.

In total, 39 Brown students and recent graduates received Fulbright awards for the 2017-18 year — 25 undergraduates, six graduate students and eight recent alumni. Awarded by the U.S. State Department, the grants fund research or teaching abroad for up to one year.

Brown has consistently ranked in the top 10 of Fulbright-producing institutions for more than a decade, but last year marked the first time the University produced the highest number of Fulbright scholars.

“That Brown for the second consecutive year is the top-producing Fulbright school for the U.S. student program underscores the alignment of the values and commitments that Brown and Fulbright foster: intellectual courage, exploration, independence and global engagement,” said Linda Dunleavy, associate dean of the College for fellowships. “I am so proud of our enthusiastic and creative students and the work they put into their applications, and I'm grateful to Brown's Fulbright committee members who review proposals, conduct interviews and offer mentoring and feedback to our candidates.”

The students in Brown’s 2017-18 Fulbright cohort are currently in the middle of their Fulbright year, immersed in teaching English in eight different countries including Poland, Brazil and South Korea, and in research projects in 20 countries including Chile, Israel, the Philippines, Jordan and Swaziland. The English teaching assistantships range from teaching elementary school children in rural villages to assisting with university-level language teaching in big cities. Research and study projects span all disciplines including working with the unpublished holdings of the Walter Benjamin archive in Berlin to examining the factors that contribute to successful collaborations between the state and traditional medicine's approaches to mental health in India. 

David Reich, a molecular biology and biochemistry concentrator who graduated in 2017, is in Jordan studying the building of a major bus rapid transit (BRT) project there.  

“The Fulbright emphasizes intellectual ambassadorship between countries, and I think that the BRT system in Amman, Jordan, if successful, is something that many of our cities in the U.S. could learn from,” Reich said when he received the award. “I plan to use my background in biochemistry to study the Amman BRT in a very scientific way. Taking this multidisciplinary approach is very Brown.”

The six graduate students who landed Fulbright scholarships are using their grants to engage in international field research related to their doctoral work.

Sara Hefny, a doctoral student in anthropology, is studying a humanitarian organization in Italy that is helping to facilitate the approval of humanitarian visas to asylum-seekers. The Fulbright award provided her with the resources and support needed to conduct the long-term research that is foundational to anthropologists, said Hefny, who was attracted to the Fulbright because of its emphasis on authentic engagement with people from other cultures.

“The mission of international collaboration and partnership is shared by both the Fulbright program and the Brown anthropology department, along with the University more generally,” Hefny said.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 370,000 participants — chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. More than 1,900 U.S. students, artists and young professionals in more than 100 different fields of study are offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English and conduct research annually. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program operates in more than 140 countries throughout the world.  

A list of Brown’s undergraduate and recent alumni Fulbright scholars is here, and the lineup of the University’s graduate Fulbright scholars is here.