October 27, 2011

University of Washington is sixth in nation for U.S. Fulbright students

News and Information

The University of Washington is sixth in the nation for producing U.S. Fulbright students, as 24 undergraduate and graduate students were recently awarded the prestigious grants for 2011-12. The rankings were published recently in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Fulbright Program, the U.S. governments flagship international educational exchange program, recently released the complete list of colleges and universities that produced the most 2011-2012 U.S. Fulbright students. The UW is No. 6, behind University of Michigan (29 students), Northwestern University (27), Yale University (26) and Stanford University and University of Chicago (25 each). The UW was ranked 10th in the nation last year.

At press time for The Chronicle, 13 UW undergraduates and 11 graduate students were awarded Fulbrights this academic year. Since then, another graduate student received word that she is also a Fulbright student, bringing the number of graduate student Fulbrights to 12 and the UWs total to 25. (The numbers could also have increased for other institutions.)

UW undergraduates are bright, inquisitive and hard-working,” said Ed Taylor, vice provost and dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs. “When these qualities are combined with an immersion in quality teaching and mentorship, and opportunities for study abroad, service, and research, they truly know no bounds.”

The high number of UW graduate students selected as Fulbright students “speaks to the caliber of our students and their research, as well as the quality of education the UW offers,” said Gerald J. Baldasty, vice provost and dean of the UW Graduate School.

The Fulbright competition is administered at the University of Washington through the Graduate Schools Office of Fellowships and Awards and Undergraduate Academic Affairs Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards.

“The application process is a collaborative one that involves more than 80 undergraduate and graduate students who create very competitive applications and more than 50 faculty, staff and students from across campus who evaluate them,” Baldasty said.

The team of evaluators spends a full Saturday early each autumn quarter interviewing and evaluating students. The teams commentaries and insights about each student are added to the applications, which are then forwarded to the Fulbright Program, he said. The Fulbright Program then selects the students.

UW undergraduate students will deepen their academic experiences in a broad range of countries including China, Hungary, Estonia, Spain, Belgium, Georgia, Russia, and Korea. Their areas of focus include research into engineering, computer science, law, geography, math and architecture as well as teaching English in several countries.

“This opportunity to engage in the world through international-based research or teaching,” said Taylor, “is important to establish our countrys future graduate students, researchers, teachers, and diplomats. Through this experience, students will learn and demonstrate a broad view of leadership in the 21st century.”

UW graduate students will study in countries as diverse as Iceland, India, Dominican Republic, Kyrgyz Republic, Korea, Peru and Canada. Their individual areas of study include ethnomusicology, law, anthropology, language and literature, public administration, sociology, installation art, environmental sciences and information sciences.

“For graduate students who need to travel abroad for their research, the Fulbright provides much of the necessary funding,” Baldasty said. “Without this money, these graduate students would have to scramble to find other resources. And some might not be able to complete their research at all.”

A full grant for study and research includes round-trip transportation to the host country, a stipend for the academic year based on living costs in the host country and some health benefits. Full grants also may include book and research allowances, mid-term enrichment activities and full or partial tuition, along with pre-departure and in-country orientations.

Almost 1,700 American students, artists and young professionals in more than 100 different fields of study have been offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English, and conduct research in over 140 countries throughout the world beginning this fall.

Of the 1,700 Fulbrighters, 19 percent are at the Ph.D. degree level, 17 percent are at the masters level, and 65 percent are at the bachelors degree level. Students receiving awards for this academic year applied through 600 colleges or universities. Lists of Fulbright recipients are available at: www.fulbrightonline.org/us.