Campus News Society & Culture

UGA named a top producer of Fulbright students, scholars

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia’s 15 Fulbright students and six Fulbright scholars for the 2016-2017 academic year have landed it among the top producing Fulbright institutions in the country-the first time the university has been named to the collective top students and scholars list.

UGA is one of only 16 institutions included among the top Fulbright student and scholar producers, which were announced today by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and highlighted in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

“I am proud of the students and scholars who have been selected to represent our nation in this prestigious program,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Their collective achievement is a testament to the strength of this institution as one of the very best public research universities, and we wish all of them well in their pursuit to make a positive difference in the world.”

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program.

Each year, UGA assists faculty, students and recent alumni as they work through the Fulbright application and interview process. UGA Fulbright students and interested applicants are supported by Maria de Rocher, assistant director of the Honors Program. UGA Fulbright scholars and those interested in participating are supported by Brian Watkins, director of international partnerships for the Office of International Education.

UGA hit a record high of 19 Fulbrights offered to its students and recent alumni in 2016-2017. Eighteen accepted, but with the closure of Turkey’s program at the end of July, only 15 were able to participate. This is the second time UGA has been recognized as a top Fulbright student producer.

“This recognition of UGA as a top producer places us among an elite group of institutions,” de Rocher said. “Such a great honor is evidence of our students’ remarkable academic achievements and serious dedication to learning about other countries and cultures.”

In addition to student involvement, UGA has been named a top producer of Fulbright scholars twice before with six Fulbright Core scholars in 2014-2015 and five in 2013-2014.

“The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program provides an excellent opportunity for UGA faculty to teach and conduct research around the world,” Watkins said. “Without the resources provided by Fulbright, it would be impossible in many cases for faculty to work in different countries over meaningful periods of time. We are extremely proud of their accomplishments.”

This fall, workshops will be held for faculty and students interested in applying for future Fulbright grants. Faculty and students interested in the Fulbright program are now in the 2018-2019 application cycle.

UGA scholars, their academic specialties and host countries for 2016-17 are James Byers, ecology, Chile; Michael Conroy, wildlife and wetland management, Canada; Richard Gordon, Romance languages and literature, Portugal; Brain Haas, social psychology, Bhutan; Robin Shelton, astrophysics, Germany; and Mihai Spariosu, European studies/civilization, Romania.

UGA students and recent alumni who received Fulbright grants, their study concentrations and host countries are:
• June Brawner, geography and origin in food production, Hungary.
• Franziska Brunner, the vocal music of Arnold Schoenberg, Austria.
• Rebecca Carter, the impact of race and religion on the perspectives of disability, United Kingdom.
• Walker DePuy, indigenous community involvement in sustainable conservation and development efforts, Indonesia
• Elizabeth Guinessey, community-based reforestation program, Costa Rica.
• I.B. Hopkins, full-length play based on the 2006 land dispute protest by the Six Nations of the Grand River, Canada.
• Lorien Jordan, indigenous and decolonizing psychology, New Zealand.
• Alice Naghshineh, branchless banking methods, Tajikistan.
• Hannah Reiss, the impact of a prenatal mobile health initiative, India.
• Christina Varian, the ecology of the infectious, vector-borne Chagas disease, Panama.

Recent UGA alumni who received English teaching assistantships and their country of service are:
• Kimberly Buice, Laos.
• Sam Hine, Spain.
• Sydney Laseter, Montenegro.
• Julianne O’Connell, Indonesia.
• Leighton Rowell, Brazil.

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.

Annually, over 1,900 U.S. students, artists and young professionals in more than 100 fields are offered Fulbright grants to study, teach English and conduct research, while more than 1,100 U.S. faculty and administrators, professionals, artists, journalists, scientists, lawyers and independent scholars are awarded Fulbright grants to teach and/or conduct research. In addition, some 4,000 new foreign Fulbright students and scholars come to the U.S. to study for graduate degrees, conduct research and teach foreign languages.

For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit