Brown students, recent graduates earn 27 Fulbright scholarships
This year’s student Fulbright winners will begin teaching and research assignments in 17 countries around the world in fall of 2021.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Twenty-four recent Brown graduates, two current and recent graduate students and one medical student have received Fulbright awards for the 2021-22 academic year to teach English or conduct independent research projects in countries around the world.
Brown has ranked among the top student Fulbright producers in the U.S. for the past five years, earning the highest spot on the list in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and the No. 2 rank in 2019 and 2020. The U.S. Department of State, which oversees the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, will release data for the 2021-22 award cycle next spring.
Founded in 1946, the Fulbright program promotes international peace through intellectual and cultural exchange. Applicants are selected based upon their academic and professional records, the quality and achievability of their proposals, and their capacity to engage culturally with their host communities.
“We are so proud to congratulate this year's cohort of Brown Fulbright winners,” said Rashid Zia, dean of the College at Brown. “Their far-reaching academic interests, innovative teaching and research projects, and deep commitment to meaningful cultural exchange have prepared them to be creative and collaborative learners and thinkers, both as Fulbright fellows and beyond. We're excited to see the positive impact their unique perspectives and projects have upon the world.”
The program funds approximately 2,000 recent college graduates and current graduate students to teach and research for a full academic year in 140 countries around the world. This year’s selection process was particularly competitive, with many applicants from last year reapplying because the COVID-19 pandemic caused their host institutions to alter their 2020–21 award structures, or cancel them entirely.
“I developed a wonderful relationship with my fellowships advisor. That mentorship really allowed me to present my true self through my application."
Fulbright Winner, Member of Class of 2021
Brown’s newest cohort of Fulbright winners submitted project proposals to teach and research in 17 countries across Asia, Latin America, Europe and Africa. Teaching placements include elementary schools, high schools and universities, where awardees will provide classroom instruction and share cultural perspectives between the U.S. and their host countries. Research award recipients will pursue projects in a wide range of academic fields — from political economics to flood management, genetics to law — on four continents.
For 2021–22 winner and Class of 2021 graduate Rainbow Chen, the Fulbright award will provide an opportunity to combine the interests in education policy and storytelling that she developed as an education and history concentrator Brown.
“I personally learn best when I am talking to people — storytelling is a huge way I learn, along with just being in an immersive cultural environment, so I felt like Fulbright was a perfect way to combine all of those wants, needs and interests into a single year of, hopefully, an amazing experience,” said Chen, who will serve as a teaching assistant at ROC van Amsterdam in the Netherlands beginning this fall.
For Class of 2020 graduate Tara Srinivas — who will travel to Spain to study the causes of Rett syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental condition — the Fulbright is a chance to expand upon research she began as an undergraduate at Brown.
“At Brown, I learned so much about how to become an independent researcher,” said Srinivas, a native of Broomfield, Colorado. “I’m looking forward to expanding upon these skills while in Spain — to continuing to learn how to formulate and test my own hypotheses and to employ new techniques in the lab.”
Srinivas and Chen said that Brown’s exceptional record of producing and mentoring student Fulbright scholars helped them shape their own application processes.
“Brown is just amazing at helping us prepare for these opportunities,” Srinivas said. “The fellowships office offered endless feedback and resources.”
“I developed a wonderful relationship with my fellowships advisor,” added Chen, a native of Winooski, Vermont. “That mentorship really allowed me to present my true self through my application."
For Srinivas, the decision to apply was also buoyed by a fellow Brown student who, after earning their own Fulbright award, encouraged her to apply. “I think that having someone who can plant that seed in your head and help you start thinking about the kind of fit you would be for a program like the Fulbright is really essential,” Srinivas said.
With her own successful application process now completed, Srinivas is excited to pay this energy forward. “I have friends who are going to be seniors next year who are reaching out to me,” she said. “And it’s just amazing — it’s like this huge chain reaction, with all of us supporting each other.”
This year's undergraduate and recent graduate Fulbright scholars include:
Paul Abrams (Sweden)
Sara Alavi (United Kingdom)
Morgan Awner (Spain)
Wassa Bagayoko (Cote d'Ivoire)
Jane Bradley (Spain)
Sarah Buchanan (Spain)
Rainbow Chen (Netherlands)
Ethan Franzblau (Austria)
Mae Fullerton (Taiwan)
Alexis Giff (Switzerland)
Claire Heiden (Sri Lanka)
Christien Hernandez (Spain)
Christine Lee (South Korea)
Hannah Lee (South Korea)
Jenny Lee (Vietnam)
Cynthia Lu (Spain)
Dylan Majsiak (Mexico)
Jessica Ojeda (Spain)
Elizabeth Rolfes (Uzbekistan)
Nikita Shah (India)
Tara Srinivas (Spain)
Sarah Van Horn (Brazil)
Albin Wells (Netherlands)
Jamila Wilkinson (Trinidad and Tobago)
This year’s graduate and medical student Fulbright scholars are:
After postponing her plans for a year due to the pandemic, recent Brown graduate and Fulbright fellow Tara Srinivas will travel to Spain to research how epigenetic factors may influence neurodevelopment in Rett syndrome.
Mira Nikolova and Abdullah Shihipar, who respectively earned a Ph.D. and master’s from Brown in 2020, will return to campus to address their fellow alumni during a dedicated Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 28.