DePaul among top producers for Fulbright winners in US

Fulbright winners
Last week, the Fulbright Program announced eight DePaul students and alumni will receive grants for the 2018-19 academic year, setting a new record for the university. Left to right: Kunza Shakil, Gabby Morse, Hajrije Kolimja, and Shail Patel. Not pictured: Kathleen Anaza, Luke Borkowski, Maya Irvin-Vitela and Juliana Minasian. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
From the Czech Republic to Jordan to Mexico, every year the Fulbright U.S. Student Program gives young scholars the opportunity to study and conduct research, or teach English, in more than 140 countries around the world.  Last week, the Fulbright Program announced eight DePaul students and alumni will receive grants for the 2018-19 academic year, setting a new record for the university.

Data released by the Fulbright Program earlier this year placed DePaul among the top producers of award recipients in the U.S. DePaul's growing number of Fulbright recipients is in part due to the faculty support every student receives throughout the application process.

"DePaul has bright, hardworking students who are competitive applicants," says Phillip Stalley, DePaul's Fulbright Program Adviser and associate professor of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. "As a teaching-oriented university, DePaul also has many faculty who are willing to serve on the Fulbright Campus Committee and work with our students on their applications. All of these efforts result in DePaul continuously producing several award recipients."

Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, a Fulbright scholarship provides a full year of academic funding for a student or young professional to live overseas and conduct research, study or teach English. Each year, the Fulbright Program selects approximately 1,900 award recipients based on their academic merit and leadership potential.

In addition to DePaul's seven new recipients, who will join the 2018-19 cohort, one of last year's winners, Christina Origel (LAS '17), received a Fulbright renewal award. Origel is currently working as an English Teaching Assistant at the Instituto Technologica de Apizaco in Mexico. Next year, she will transfer to a different city and school in Mexico, where she will serve as an English Teaching Assistant mentor and continue to teach.

Origel credits her well-rounded education at DePaul with helping her excel in the Fulbright Program.

"The knowledge I gained from my professors, as well as participating in study abroad and service immersion programs, helped prepare me for a long-term, immersive experience like the Fulbright Program," she says.

Students who are interested in applying for next year's Fulbright competition can begin working on their applications now.

The campus deadline to apply for a Fulbright award is in early September. Stalley then creates a campus committee for each applicant that consists of five faculty members, ideally tailored to the student's interests. The volunteer committee reviews the application and conducts an interview, often in the language of the country where the student would like to study. The faculty members offer feedback to the student, as well as suggestions on areas to improve. The committee continues to work with its assigned student to fine-tune the application before the final deadline in mid-October.

Stalley also teaches an honors course in the spring, "Research Grants and Scholarships," that aims to help students apply for a Fulbright award, as well as the competitive Boren and Gilman study abroad programs.

"The course introduces students to the range of scholarship programs and then teaches them the art of preparing an application," Stalley says. "Although taught through the Honors Program, it is open to all students. About half the students who have taken the course and applied for a Fulbright or Boren scholarship have won an award."

Stalley's ultimate goal is to make DePaul's applications as competitive as possible.

"A lot of conversation and thinking needs to go into writing the application, and students must reflect on their DePaul academic career while also thinking about their future," Stalley says. "It's a rewarding process."

Interested students should contact Phillip Stalley at pstalley@depaul.edu or (773) 325-4179.