Fulbright can provide graduate students with a life-changing experience

Fulbright can provide graduate students with a life-changing experience

Michele Clark traveled to Nepal to study a species of invasive vine. Alexander Meszler studied recent developments in secular organ performance in France. Travis Franks journeyed to Australia to study “settler literature” and rural Australian communities.

Three ASU graduate students in three very different fields with one thing in common—Fulbright.

The Fulbright US Student program supports academic year-long study, teaching, or research experiences abroad. Sponsored by the US Department of State and administered by the Institute for International Education, the program is open to graduating seniors, recent graduates, and current graduate students who are US citizens.

Many students are surprised to learn that ASU is one of the top-ranked universities in the US for winners of the Fulbright student awards. Over the past decade, 180 of our students and recent graduates have been awarded, ranking us 12th overall, ahead of Stanford, Johns Hopkins, and Duke, and second among public universities, ranking only behind the University of Michigan.

“Unfortunately, the past two years of uncertainty has had an unbalanced effect on Fulbright participation for public universities,” said Dr. Kyle Mox, Associate Dean for National Scholarships Advisement. “While the numbers of applicants at highly selective private institutions like Brown, Harvard, Princeton, and Georgetown have remained stable or even increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, application and award rates at schools like ASU, Rutgers, Texas, and Washington have significantly dropped.”

Mox and his team of advisors at the Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarships Advisement (ONSA) have resolved to reverse this trend, and are redoubling their efforts to widen access to the life-changing experiences that a Fulbright award can provide.

“Without exception, every Fulbright recipient I’ve ever met has described it as one of the most significant experiences of their lives,” said Mox. “We would like to see as many ASU students as possible to understand how that feels.”

Interested students can begin by visiting ONSA’s Fulbright webpage to view introductory information about the program and familiarize themselves with the application timeline. Students can then schedule individual advising sessions with ONSA staff to prepare for the September 13 campus deadline.

The Fulbright US Student Program provides two primary types of awards. Recipients of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) awards will serve as cultural ambassadors and assist lead teachers in English language classrooms abroad. Ideal applicants will demonstrate initiative, adaptability, and curiosity about other cultures and should have a strong desire to introduce students to American culture and history.

Recipients of Fulbright Study/Research awards may pursue a self-designed research project or pursue graduate study at a foreign university. These awards are ideal for graduate students who seek funding for international research in support of a thesis or dissertation, or for students in the creative or performing arts who wish to pursue artistic practice under a master's teacher or mentor abroad.

“A key feature of the Fulbright experience is complete cultural immersion,” said Mox. “The mission of the Fulbright program is to promote mutual understanding between nations of the world, and we work hard with applicants to think about ways in which they can promote this sort of cultural exchange, no matter what their field of study is.”

Information about the application timeline and advising resources are available at https://fulbright.asu.edu. Students or recent graduates who wish to apply should contact the Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarships Advisement for guidance on the application process in preparation for the September 13 campus deadline.