The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs. This unique exchange program is designed to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and the people of other countries. During their grants, Fulbright students participate in a cultural exchange as they live with and learn from their host communities. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program operates in over 160 countries and annually offers over 2,000 grants.
View the Fulbright Grantee Directory for a comprehensive list of scholars. The UW is proud to have scholars as far back as 1949!
Definitions of Fulbright Statuses
Fulbright Semi-Finalist: applicants who are recommended by the National Screening Committee to the host country for further review.
Fulbright Alternate: applicants who may be offered a Fulbright grant if additional funding becomes available.
Fulbright Finalist: applicants who have been offered a grant, but have not yet accepted their award and started their program.
Fulbright Student: official Fulbright grant recipients after offer has been accepted.
2019 - 2020 Fulbright Finalists & Alternates
We’re also celebrating UW’s semi-finalists: UW Sees Largest Number of Fulbright Semi-Finalists To Date!
Conor Cunningham – Finalist, Moldova, Open Study/ Research
Senior, International Studies major
I recently completed a year abroad studying Russian Language and Eastern European Studies in Daugavpils, Latvia as a Boren Scholar for the 2019-2020 cycle. My time as an undergraduate student at the University of Washington has been shaped by my interest in Eurasian studies, specifically Russia and its reemergence as an influential global power. With my mentor Dr. Jessica Beyer, I worked on two projects for Microsoft with a team of other undergraduates and, as a Mary Gates Scholar, I conducted independent research on disinformation. In addition to research, my interests led me to study Russian language and to attain proficiency in Russian through course work at the University of Washington, a summer in Moscow as a FLAS Scholar, and my recent experience in Latvia as a Boren Scholar. As Fulbright Scholar, I will spend nine months in Moldova conducting research on the effects of disinformation and misinformation on opinions towards Moldova’s integration in the European Union and Eurasian Economic Union. Upon completion of my project in Moldova, I plan to pursue a masters in Eurasian Studies with a focus on the Russian Federation’s interaction with other post-Soviet countries. After completing a masters, I want to become an FSO to use my strong command of the Russian and French languages, my culturally immersive experiences in post-Soviet countries, and my deep knowledge of Eurasian studies to implement realistic policy that incorporates not only economic concerns but also historical, cultural, and religious factors.
Conor’s tip: I think the two most important things are to get your recommenders involved early on in the process and to ask yourself why you would like to do a Fulbright. Around January, I began thinking about which country I would want to go. I chose to apply for a Fulbright to explore topics I had been exposed to through course work and research at the UW. I knew that a Fulbright would be an excellent why to explore these topics further through research while I also improved my Russian language and cross-cultural skills. This interest in my proposed research project made it much easier to write my materials and make a strong argument.
Joshua Driscol – Finalist, Norway, Open Study/ Research
Class of 2019, Atmospheric Sciences major
Joshua is a recent graduate of the Atmospheric Science department. While at the University of Washington, they were awarded a Mary Gates Undergraduate Research Scholarship and a Washington NASA Space Grant, and held an internship position at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Joshua is currently applying to PhD programs that utilize big data and machine learning to solve environmental and economic problems.
Joshua’s tips: Start writing and getting feedback on your application early, focus on a different portion of your application or a different essay each week, and go to the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards information sessions and workshops!
Priscilla Kwong – Finalist, Thailand, English Teaching Assistant
Class of 2016, Biochemistry major
I graduated from UW in 2016 and am currently in process of applying to graduate schools for counseling! I applied for a Fulbright ETA in Thailand because teaching is something that is meaningful to me and Thailand is a place that is close to my heart.
Priscilla’s tip: In any application, I think allowing your real self to shine through is important. Write your personal statement to share your story and experiences.
Danielle Marangoni-Simonsen – Finalist, Malaysia, English Teaching Assistant
Class of 2017, Biology major
Dani hails from Pebble Beach, CA where she grew up learning to love hiking through the beautiful California terrain. She chose UW to find a new challenge for herself, but knew throughout the process how she wanted to study Biology. Biology brought comfort and satisfied her curiosity for the world while the Interdisciplinary Honors program allowed her to expand her knowledge base and make lifelong friends in the process. She also studied abroad in Tanzania, one of her favorite experiences, which intrigued her to the world of ecotourism and community versus government aid. She would like to pursue a career surrounding studying and working in Disaster Relief and is currently working in Fremont.
Danielle’s tip: Reach out! I reached out to people who applied and got in to the country I applied for- both on linkedIn and in real life- and it was so helpful to talk through the process.
Miles Miller – Finalist, South Korea, Open Study/ Research
Class of 2015, Industrial Design major
Miles is a designer and craftsman living on occupied Coast Salish and Duwamish land. Miles leverages his skillset in product design, woodcraft, and design research to develop tangible solutions that empower people to reconnect with our natural world. His professional experience has shown him that our pursuit of short-sighted “progress” often endangers our future descendants’ wellbeing. This understanding has driven his deep dive into sustainable methods of traditional design and craft that are rapidly being forgotten.
After graduating from the UW Divison of Design, Miles worked with the Industrial Designers Society of America and led the production of a film shining light upon empowering design for an international design conference. In 2015, his team received an International Design Excellence Award for their work on the Naloxone Drug Overdose Rescue Kit. Between 2015 and 2017, Miles worked with Yoshihara Furniture Company to design and craft heirloom furniture for private, residential, and commercial clients. This work honed skills in computer-aided design, manufacturing, and wood technology while expanding his focus beyond form and function to sustainable and regenerative production methods. At the Taoist Studies Institute, Miles assisted with the design and build of architectural features on their 30-acre forested campus. There he began to learn about lineages of traditional design and craft that ingeniously address issues of ecology and sustainability.
As a Fulbright Fellow, Miles is researching the indigenous innovations and modernization of traditional Korean residential architecture, design, and craft. Korean homes, known as Hanok (“Hahn-oak”), build in harmony with nature to develop sustainable structures that promote the wellbeing of inhabitants and surrounding land. A deep well of knowledge has been developed through the craft of Hanok but lacks representation and utilization in the international community. Miles will critically investigate the craft techniques and design thinking of modern Hanok while learning about natural materials and sustainable production ecosystems. Leading experts at the National University of Cultural Heritage in Buyeo, South Korea, and architecture firm Urban Detail in Seoul, South Korea, are supporting and overseeing this research.
Miles’ tips: Focus upon answering the “why” as soon as possible, then drill down on the logistics of “how.” The true value of the proposal will be obvious if you begin with an honest evaluation of communal benefit and personal enrichment. This will demonstrate your genuine intent to the people and organizations that will make the “how” possible. Next, forget “never” or “impossible.” You will inevitably encounter discouraging or disinterested parties, sidestep them and find the people and organizations who will empower the proposal. Still encountering issues? Hit the ground running and travel to the host country and meet face to face. Demonstrate your passion and respectful diplomacy. This will show your dedication and determine if there is a good fit for all parties involved. If you make every effort to remove as much doubt from the proposal as possible, you will have no regret or wonder about whether you did enough to craft the strongest application possible.
Michael Monicatti – Finalist, U.K., Open Study/ Research
Class of 2017, Drama & Communication major
Michael is a UW Alumni, having graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Drama and Communication. In addition to academics, Michael was an active member of the theatre community on campus. Serving as Publicity Director for the Undergraduate Theater Society, an actor in over ten productions, and stagehand in countless others, he rounded out his education with work onstage and behind the scenes. While studying he was also, at times, a member of UW’s Gospel Choir, Theta Chi Fraternity, and Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Since studying abroad in the UK, Michael’s dream has been to further his training with Classical work in London. It is his hope, that with the Fulbright Award, he will round out his contemporary training with intensive conservatoire craftwork, connect with local community-based theatre projects, and embed himself within the international and British cohort at LAMDA.
Michael’s tip: Separation is in the Preparation! And in the revisions. And in the clarity!
Sacha Moufarrej – Finalist, U.K., Open Study/ Research
Senior, Neuroscience major
I am a senior majoring in neuroscience and minoring in music. Outside of school, I conduct research on pediatric chronic pain at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and am currently working on a meta-analysis on the prevalence of chronic pain in young adults.
Raised in a Lebanese-American household, I grew up in the midst of the sociopolitical issues plaguing Lebanon and its neighbors, and have witnessed the physical and mental trauma experienced in war-torn and displaced communities. I have volunteered as a tutor in Lebanon at SOS Children’s Villages, an international organization dedicated to providing homes, families, and other resources to abandoned or orphaned children, some of whom, within the Lebanese village of Bhersaf, are victims of the Syrian refugee crisis. I have also performed as a pianist and singer at fundraiser concerts in the Bay Area for SOS.
Through these experiences, and my coursework in neuroscience and UW’s Interdisciplinary Honors Program, I have gained initial exposure to the neurophysiological study of trauma and current trends in global health and migration. This exposure has inspired a passion for researching trauma in vulnerable displaced populations. Specifically, I am interested in pursuing graduate study in medical anthropology in order to study the nexus between mental health, displacement, culture and politics within the Middle East. I hope to combine my studies of medical anthropology with my future medical school pursuits in order to not only effectively treat vulnerable communities, but to also provide research that informs global health policy-making for systemically neglected displaced and migrant populations.
Sacha’s tip: Take the time to reflect on your experiences, and make sure to pursue studies that you are deeply passionate about. That makes the application process so much more personal and exciting. And never hesitate to reach out for help from your professors and advisors for help and advice on personal statements and finding the right programs for you!
Thomas Pepe – Finalist, Colombia, English Teaching Assistant
Class of 2019, Integrated Social Sciences major
I am an artist, a leader and a lifelong teacher who is fueled by challenge and creative collaboration. I have spent time in different types of classrooms throughout my academic journey, acting as a student and a teacher, and oftentimes both. I worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District for two years before I finished my degree through the University of Washington’s Integrated Social Sciences (ISS) online program. Beyond the classroom, my passion is expressed in communication, storytelling and, above all, finding ways to connect with people.
Catherine Pham – Finalist, Vietnam, English Teaching Assistant
Senior, Biochemistry major
As a Vietnamese-American growing up in a predominantly Caucasian community, I struggled with self-acceptance. My internal conflict stemmed from a lack of a sense of belonging among my peers. In university, I became exposed to an environment with greater diversity, and I discovered that being “different” opens a door of learning opportunities. At first, my curiosity drove me to learn about my friends’ cultures and customs. Then, I became determined to seek discomfort by experiencing unfamiliar customs first-hand. As a result, I have been fortunate to work abroad in Germany as well as study abroad twice in Santiago, Chile, and Singapore.
I am eager to teach English in Vietnam because I want to expand opportunities and empower students from my parents’ native country. From my experiences in a variety of leadership and mentorship programs, I discovered my passion for teaching and personal growth. I am ecstatic to evolve my skills as a teacher and to become a cultural ambassador for Vietnamese youth. In addition, this opportunity has immense personal value to me. Over the years, I learned to embrace the beauty of my Vietnamese heritage. I took the initiative to take language courses, understand the history of Vietnam, full of suffering and resilience, and truly empathize with my parents’ experiences as refugees after the war. This upcoming year will be full of growth as I connect with my roots.
After my Fulbright grant, I intend to pursue a career in medicine as a pediatrician. My time spent in university has been comprised of diverse volunteering, research, cross-cultural, work, and academic experiences. These opportunities have shaped me into an individual determined to serve patients at their most vulnerable state, promote community health and sustainable living, and improve health accessibility for underrepresented communities. From this Fulbright ETA opportunity, I am confident that my curiosity will lead me to actively engage with local communities and expand my knowledge through meaningful dialogue. Determined to seek out discomfort, I intend to expand my cultural competency and communication skills with diverse communities in preparation for a career in medicine.
Catherine’s tips: Utilize your resources! I highly encourage staying connected with Robin/Emily and reaching out to Fulbright alumni for advice and feedback! Also, be intentional in your writing and country selection. Prior to starting my application, I self-reflected quite a bit and I deeply considered why I wanted to pursue an ETA grant and why specifically in Vietnam. After that, I reflected upon my previous experiences and personal interests that led me to apply for the Fulbright grant. This process definitely allowed me to create a strong argument as to why I should be selected for a Fulbright and how I was genuinely passionate about this opportunity. The last tip, while revising your application, definitely reach out to family, friends, or mentors to read over your essays to make sure that your character and authenticity truly shines through in your writing.
Lincoln Pothan – Finalist, Cambodia, English Teaching Assistant
Class of 2019, Public Health major
I am a recent graduate from the University of Washington School of Public Health. I plan to pursue graduate studies in Epidemiology to address health inequality locally and internationally and hope to focus my work on mental illness, agricultural injustice, generational trauma, non-communicable disease development, and disability among underserved communities. Due to globalization, international experience is becoming increasingly vital to public health professionals in order to address the public health threats of the future. This Fulbright position will give me experience working in an international setting with diverse populations and improve my skills at a language commonly spoken by underserved populations within my own community. The belief that we cannot allow our vision to be limited by our means attracted me to the field of public health and it is here where I found a passion and career in which I could use my strength, creativity, and perspective to work towards equality, both locally and globally.
Lincoln’s tip: Don’t doubt yourself.
Vidhi Singh – Finalist, India, Open Study/ Research
Senior, Bioengineering major
The disparities I observed during medical shadowing prompted me to understand how socioeconomic, political, and technological factors impact healthcare. To do so, I learn about medical advancements and their broader social implications at UW Seattle. My time at UW has been defined by the communities I entered: bioengineering, research, and journalism. Learning within these networks, I gained skills that inadvertently led me to the most rewarding leadership opportunities. I have been an undergraduate researcher under Dr. Paul Yager, whose lab develops inexpensive diagnostic tests for low-resource settings. Here, I develop imaging tools for our lab’s devices using smartphones. The research independence I gained here motivated me to accept a leadership role in a global health organization, Bioengineers without Borders, designing a dehydration monitor. Likewise, writing for the science and health + wellness sections of The Daily, UW’s student-led newspaper, led me to diverse perspectives in healthcare through interactions within the broad UW community. I have had the opportunity to speak with the most impressive and inspirational Huskies. Through these experience, I understood the importance of applying evidence-based decision making and critical thinking in global health settings, recognizing interventions will only be successful with thoughtful consideration of the context, individuals, and current workflows. Bioengineering provided me the opportunity to leverage my comprehensive research background, commitment to improving medical access for diverse groups, and bridge a passion for technology, medicine, and global health. The professional, personal, and academic development experiences UW offered me has started my journey to a lifetime of work devoted towards improving the health of diverse communities.
Vidhi’s tip: Take advantage of the resources at the scholarship office! You want to make sure that people who have written/reviewed such grants and are unexperienced in your field review your proposal because it provides unbiased feedback.
Sarah Slack – Finalist, Brazil, Open Study/ Research
Senior, Bioengineering major
As a Bioengineering major, I started at the University of Washington determined to contribute to medicine. Since a few months into my first year here, I have been researching in the global health-oriented Woodrow Lab, which has confirmed my desire to pursue a career focusing on international health, likely infectious disease. I started taking Portuguese classes during my second year, primarily motivated by the uniquely welcoming culture I experienced while traveling in Brazil with my father as an eighth grader to visit his old exchange family. Since then, my motivation for learning Portuguese has shifted towards integrating it, and what I have learned from studying it, into my work. My language studies have shown me the importance of researchers being able to communicate with the different communities they work in, improving my perspective as a researcher. While studying for two months in São Paulo, I noticed that my ability to speak Portuguese surprised and opened a door to connection with each person that I talked with. Returning to Ribeirão Preto as a Fulbright student would allow me to make connections in the community and in the laboratory, where my focus would be using genetic sequencing to combat drug-resistant tuberculosis by decreasing the time needed to make clinical decisions about treatment. To continue conducting similar work, I ultimately plan to attend medical school and specialize in infectious disease – a field where research collaboration with Brazil will remain important and the connections I would build as a Fulbright student relevant.
Sarah’s tip: Get started with your drafts early, and get feedback on complete drafts from the advisors as soon as possible.
Katie Spink – Finalist, New Zealand, Open Study/Research
Senior, Psychology major
Katie is currently a senior majoring in psychology at the University of Washington. She plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. In her future work, Katie’s aim is to support families by examining factors that enhance or hinder family functioning and child development, with an eye toward disadvantaged populations. She hopes to build on this understanding by developing and enhancing feasible, affordable interventions that will buffer disadvantaged families from negative health outcomes.
Katie’s tip: While this process my push you outside of your comfort zone, there are many benefits! This includes reaching out to new contacts, learning skills of collaboration, and honing in on your critical thinking, writing skills, and personal story. And along the way, the advisors at the OMSFA office are willing to help throughout! Be willing to put in a good amount of work, but it’s worth it!
Iris Thatcher – Finalist, Finland, Open Study/Research
Class of 2019, Finnish Language & Cultural Studies, Political Economy majors
I grew up in Seattle, and my mom is from Finland. I was able to speak Finnish as a child, but I never has Finnish citizenship nor lived in Finland at any point in time. It wasn’t until I went to the University of Washington (UW) that I had an academic interest in Finnish. During my time at UW, I cultivated a focus in European politics through my Finnish language and political economy majors. I knew that in the long-term, I wanted to further develop my Finnish language comprehension and look deeper into European and global politics. The Scandinavian Studies Department is a unique asset that we have at UW, and I knew it would be challenging to find the right Finnish/political economy master’s program that I wanted in the U.S. As a result, I applied to do a Fulbright in Finland with Tampere University’s Leadership for Change master’s program, where it focuses on EU, Northern European and EU-Russian relations. This Fulbright to Tampere allows me to continue to develop my academic interests, while also sharing my Finnish-American background with other students as a representative from the U.S. Moreover, this Fulbright grant helps me better achieve my goals in working in an international organization (IGO). I would like to work for United Nations or North Atlantic Treaty Organization in some capacity, and the skills that I will gain from this experience abroad will give me a specialized, transatlantic approach in helping the U.S. better its decision-making within IGOs.
Iris’ tip: Ask for help and listen to all of the feedback that you get! Applying for a grant/scholarship is a completely different process from other applications. You have to show why you are the perfect candidate for that specific grant. By getting advice from your recommenders, professors and scholarship advisors on how to show that, you will be better prepared for navigating this process successfully.
2019-2020 Fulbright Alternates
Rocio Araujo – Alternate, South Korea, English Teaching Assistant
Class of 2020, International Studies; Education, Communities & Organizations majors
Lela Cooper – Alternate, Greenland, English Teaching Assistant
Class of 2020, Environmental Studies major
I am a senior majoring in Environmental Studies, and minoring in Danish, and Urban Design and Planning. Growing up in the Inland Northwest, I have always been passionate about protecting our natural resources in the face of growing environmental concerns. My time at UW has revolved around addressing environmental injustice and ensuring that environmental topics are communicated in culturally relevant ways. The education I received has given me both a toolkit to address environmental issues moving forward in my career, while also exposing me to some unexpected interests.
I had the opportunity to study abroad in Greenland and Denmark, which opened my eyes to the realities of Arctic climate change and proved the importance of interdisciplinary engagement and cross-cultural understanding when addressing complex global challenges. The environmental field has historically had a tendency to not integrate the knowledge or needs of the local communities whose ecosystems they study, and this sentiment was expressed to me from locals while in Greenland. As someone passionate about climate justice and cross-cultural communication, I wanted to find a way to return to Greenland, and better connect with Arctic communities, leading me to pursue a minor in Danish.
Learning a foreign language as an adult has been both a rewarding and challenging process. My experience has inspired me to help others as they learn English, and I hope that I can use my Danish skills and teaching experience to serve the local community of Nuuk as a Fulbright ETA. Serving as an ETA in Greenland would allow me to not only use the skills I have developed through college to assist the local population, but would also give me the chance to better engage with the communities I met on my study abroad, which is an invaluable learning opportunity for my future career in Arctic and environmental policy.
Lela’s tip: My main advice would be to both start your application as early as possible, but also use the amazing advising resources we have on campus. The Fulbright application process can be intimidating, so it is important to stay motivated, and there are many people who want to help you succeed.
Chiara DeSantis – Alternate, Peru, English Teaching Assistant
Class of 2020, Public Health & Spanish majors
I am from Southern California and grew up in a predominantly Latinx neighborhood. Because of my mixed race, many people assumed I was Latina and spoke Spanish to me on a daily basis. As a result, I began learning the language in middle school and eventually fell in love with it. A few years later, I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata, a hair loss disease. This condition introduced me to the world of healthcare because I tried a million and one treatments to stop my hair from falling out. However, after two strenuous years, I lost all my beloved hair but gained an intense passion for all things health related. In college, I decided to pursue a double major in two fields I absolutely love: Public Health and Spanish.
Throughout my four years, I have narrowed my academic focus to minority health. As a woman of color, I feel a strong urge to help bridge the gap in healthcare access amongst marginalized communities, predominantly racial minorities, and their counterpart. I work as an English as a Second Language Tutor for immigrant students at Seattle Central College, which has helped me recognize my passion for teaching as well. By volunteering here, I have realized that I want to pursue academia in the distant future. After I graduate, I intend to take all the tangible and interpersonal skills that I have obtained at the University of Washington back with me to Southern California and work on mitigating these health issues. I want to use my Spanish-speaking skills to work with the Latinx community at home, while having my public health knowledge facilitate the creation of beneficial interventions.
Chiara’s Tip: Begin the application early!
Bennet Jarvis – Alternate, Algeria, English Teaching Assistant
Class of 2020, History majors
I am a local student interested in the history of the Middle East and North Africa, specifically during the period of decolonization in the mid-20th Century. I’ve spent considerable time working on this period in Algeria specifically and decided to apply for the Fulbright program in order to go, engage in Algerian society, and hopefully improve my Arabic. I hope to continue studying Algeria and the region in a graduate school and will look to enter a career in the state department or through an international organization.
Bennet’s Tip: Emphasize why you want to go to the SPECIFIC place you are applying for. This will be much more compelling than just broad merits, especially considering the focus of the Fulbright program involves cross cultural engagement in your specific location.
Jill Nakayama – Alternate, South Korea, English Teaching Assistant
Class of 2020, Early Childhood and Family Studies majors
Hi! My name is Jill Nakayama and I am a senior studying Early Childhood and Family Studies at the University of Washington. I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and attended Punahou School. Throughout the years, I developed a passion for working with children as I would often volunteer in preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school classrooms. As I worked with these children, I realized how unique each child is in personality, culture, background and so this lead me to want to learn more about child development and how to help all children reach their maximum potential and lead happy, healthy lives. In the future, I plan to pursue a doctorate degree in child psychology. I will use the knowledge and experience I gained to practice cultural competency in my future career as a child and family psychologist and in my daily life.
Even though my career goal is to become a child and family psychologist, my life goal would be to help create a more unified world by helping children of all backgrounds feel welcomed and supported. Hawaii and the United States as a whole is a very culturally diverse place with families that immigrate from all over the world. Adjusting to a new culture can be difficult for these families, but I hope to offer a helping hand and assist immigrant families moving to America in having a smooth transition into life here; this can even be something as small as offering to chat a little in their native language. In the end, I would love to share my story with others as they share their stories with me; even if it’s only one step towards mutual respect for different cultures, I hope that I can make a difference in motivating others to take this same step forward towards a more understanding world.
Jill’s Tip: I would suggest talking to the advisors early and learning about the scholarship so you can decide if it is the right fit for you. Throughout the application process, it was very helpful talking to the advisors for tips and also for feedback on the essays. The last tip I have is to have many different people read your written statements (ex: personal statement, statement of grant purpose, etc.). I found it extremely helpful to get feedback from several people as they all interpreted my essays in different ways and their feedback helped me to tailor it so I could convey what I wanted.
History of UW Undergraduate Semifinalists, Alternates, Finalists, and Fulbrighters
2018 - 2019
2017 - 2018
2016 - 2017
2015 - 2016
2014 - 2015
2013 - 2014
2012 - 2013
2011 - 2012
2010 - 2011
2009 - 2010
2008 - 2009
2007 - 2008