Syracuse University’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) was recently created through a merger of the Office of Institutional Research and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment. The streamlined operation, located at 400 Ostrom Avenue, serves all members…
Syracuse University Submits Record Number of 2020 Fulbright Grant Applications
As Syracuse University students and alumni who received 2019 Fulbright grants settle into their experiences around the globe, a record number have submitted their applications for the 2020 cycle of funding.
This year, the University submitted a record 45 grant applications to the Fulbright Program, says Jolynn Parker, director of the Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA). The national Fulbright deadline was Oct. 8, and applications from Syracuse University students and alumni were submitted on Monday.
The Fulbright U.S. student program supports English Teaching Assistantships (ETA) and Research/Study grants. This year, applications were submitted by 26 undergraduates, eight graduate students and 11 alumni. Twenty-eight applications were submitted for the ETA grant and 17 for open study/research grants.
“We usually submit around 25 applications per year, so this is a big jump,” says Parker. “The application process itself is such a useful experience; we’re delighted so many more students are taking advantage of the opportunity.”
Applicants have proposed teaching, research and study around the world. Submissions included ETA applications to Greenland and Rwanda, and study/research applications to Tajikistan, the Hugh Lane Gallery in Ireland, the University of Paris-Saclay and Tel Aviv University, among many others.
The Fulbright application process is a true campus effort. Thirty-eight faculty and staff members from across campus serve as evaluators for Fulbright proposals. CFSA hosted seven Fulbright writing workshops during the first few weeks of the semester, where staff members helped students prepare their application essays. “We could not run such a robust campus process—or help our students so effectively—without the efforts of the many faculty and staff across campus who support the process. We are very fortunate members of our community are so generous with their time and expertise,” says Parker.
When the applications were submitted, Parker, CFSA Assistant Director Melissa Welshans and Adam Crowley, Honors Program/CFSA advisor, breathed a collective sigh of relief. Welshans made T-shirts to mark the occasion. “We are just so proud of the applicants’ hard work,” Welshans says. “We’ve been working with many of the applicants since June, and some students completed upwards of 14 revisions before they submitted their applications. We wanted to have something tangible to offer them in recognition of completing the rigorous process.”
The 2020 semifinalists will be announced in late January and recipients of Fulbright grants will be announced in the spring.
Several Syracuse University alumni are currently engaged in Fulbright experiences around the world. Anastasia Selby, ’15, G’18 is based in Podbořany, in the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic, through an ETA grant.
“My experience with the Czech Fulbright commission has been wonderful. As a commission they’re very generous and they care a lot about how all of the ETAs are doing. I feel very supported,” Selby says. “It’s been quite an adjustment living in such a small town, especially because I barely know any Czech, but I encounter many friendly faces throughout my day. My teaching load is 17 classes plus clubs and meetings. I love my students and teach several different grade levels. I look forward to exploring more of the Czech Republic while I’m here.”
Selby is chronicling her experience in the Czech Republic on a blog. She is also working on a book, “HOTSHOT,” a reported narrative of her years as a firefighter and the current state of wildfires and climate change (forthcoming from Grove Atlantic Press).
Molly Bolan ’19 is based at Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University in Russia, also through an ETA grant. She spent her first two weeks observing and now has begun teaching. “My classes are for speech practice, so the main point is just to get students talking and to teach about American culture.” She recently ran a session about what the last year of high school is like in the U.S. (college applications, prom, the yearbook, etc.), national parks in the U.S. and gender roles. In addition to classes, Bolan runs the English Conversation Club, which meets twice a week to play language games and discuss any topics that aren’t covered in class that students are interested in.
“The best part is that most students genuinely love learning. There aren’t many native English speakers here, so the students’ enthusiasm is contagious,” she says. In her free time, Bolan has been exploring and taking part in the life of her new city. “Everyone I’ve met has been so kind and welcoming and I’m really feeling at home here in Novosibirsk.”
Grace Gugerty ’19 arrived in Thailand three weeks ago, and has been undergoing orientation—on living in Thailand, language and lesson planning/classroom management skills—before heading to her assigned school. “My experience has been great so far,” she says.