University national leader in 2008-09 Fulbright awards

The University once again leads the nation in the number of U.S. Department of State Fulbright award recipients. This is the third time in the past four years that U-M has topped the Fulbright rankings.

U-M placed first with 31 awardees, followed by Harvard University with 29 and Yale University with 26. Northwestern University and the University of California-Berkeley were tied with 24, and the University of Chicago had 23.

"We are extremely proud of our students and their success in the prestigious Fulbright competition," says Mark Tessler, director of the International Institute and vice provost for international affairs. "The University of Michigan is committed to enriching our academic programs by facilitating educational and research opportunities overseas for our undergraduate and graduate students."

Close to 150 U-M students applied for the scholarship program. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program now is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research and teaching English overseas. The U.S. Student Program currently awards approximately 1,500 grants annually in all fields of study and operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

"Michigan's success can be attributed to the talented, creative and tenacious applicants, and the overwhelming support and guidance provide by faculty throughout the University," says Amy Kehoe, Fulbright program adviser.

The program was established in 1946 by the U.S. Congress to "enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries."

This year's U-M grantees and the country in which their project will take place:

Kirstin Northenscold, Bachelor of Arts (BA), Germany; Jessica Boullion, BA, Germany; Denny Chan, BA, Macao; Lara Finkbeiner, BA, Ecuador; Emily Holt, Master of Arts (MA), Italy; Dana Kaersvang, Juris Doctorate (JD), Netherlands; Sara Baumann, BA, Bangladesh; Neeraj Mehta, BA, Denmark; Lisa Calhoun, MA, Kenya; Heather Fuller-Iglesias, Master of Science (MS), Mexico; Joseph Torigian, BA, China; Sarah Shepherd, Bachelor of Science (BS), Nepal; Laura Hilburn, BA, Czech Republic; Huong Trieu, BA, China; Katharine Allen, MA, Oman; Lynn Eckert, BA, Croatia; John Sloan, BA, Germany; Salem Ghandour, BA, Malaysia; Peter Rock, MA, Estonia; Abigail Sebaly, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Australia; Chelsea Ams, BA, Germany; John Zimmerman, MS, Sri Lanka; Lauren Milewski, BA, Hong Kong; Vaike Haas, MA, Estonia; Brook Hefright, BS, China; Katharine Raff, MA, Italy; Jonathan Shaheen, BA, Netherlands; Kristen Hopewell, MA, Switzerland; Rhana Natour, BA, United Arab Emirates; Jeanine Markley, Bachelor of Music, Finland; and Elizabeth Davisson, BA, Germany.

Fulbrights are awarded to BS/BA graduates, master's and doctoral candidates, and young professionals and artists to support graduate study or research abroad or professional training in the creative and performing arts (administered by the Institute of International Education, with assistance to U-M students provided by the International Institute).

U-M undergraduate students interested in applying next year should contact Kelly Peckens (kpeckens@umich.edu). Graduate and professional school students, as well as those applying in the arts, should contact Kehoe (akehoe@umich.edu).