Five UConn Students Receive Fulbright Program Grants

a group of headshots
Top Row: Emmalyn Lecky, Sara Ailshire. Bottom Row: Elizabeth Ellenwood, Mark Stukel, Megan Go.

Five UConn students have been selected as recipients of a grant through the Fulbright US Student Program for the 2020-21 academic year. The program provides grants for individually-designed study and research projects or for English teaching assistantships around the world. Students meet, work, live with, and learn from the people of the host country, sharing daily experiences.

UConn had an all-time high of 15 semifinalists for the Fulbright Student Program award, which includes the five winners. A total of 32 UConn students completed UConn’s campus application process for the 2020-21 Fulbright round.

“Each recipient will have the opportunity to engage with the world, through teaching, study or research, which fosters cultural exchange and mutual understanding, key to the Fulbright mission,” says LuAnn Saunders-Kanabay, assistant director in the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships at UConn and the Fulbright Program Advisor. Together with the campus Fulbright committee, she mentors Fulbright applicants through the months-long process.

The five UConn students who are recipients (also referred to as “finalists”) are:

Sara Ailshire, a doctoral student in anthropology, will conduct multi-sited ethnographic research in three cities in India, analyzing the role identity plays in determining the strategies used by women’s support groups, non-governmental organizations, and grassroots activists to confront the problem of mistreatment of women during childbirth. Ailshire previously was awarded a 2016 Critical Language Scholarship, a 2017-2018 American Institute of Indian Studies Academic Year Language Fellowship, and a 2019 UConn Human Rights Institute Graduate Research Grant. Upon her return from India, she will complete her dissertation and plans to pursue a career in higher education.

Elizabeth Ellenwood, a master’s of fine arts candidate who is a native of Pawcatuck, will work collaboratively with an environmental chemist and a marine biologist to produce scientifically informed photographs focusing on ocean pollution in Norway. She is also a recipient of the American Scandinavian Foundation grant. Ellenwood uses her artwork to visually explore and bring attention to critical environmental issues. She recently had a solo exhibition at the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery at UConn Avery Point. Ellenwood is a recipient of a Denis Roussel Merit Award from Rhotofolio and her work has been exhibited at the Newport (R.I.) Art Museum, the Panopticon Gallery in Boston, and the Vermont Center of Photography.

Megan Go ’20 (CLAS), a native of Unionville, will be travelling to Taiwan to serve as an English teaching assistant. She is a psychological sciences, communication, and international studies major. She hopes to dive deeper into Taiwanese culture and reconnect with parts of her cultural heritage. Upon her return to the US, Go plans on pursuing a master’s in education to work with students from a variety of backgrounds.

Emmalyn Lecky ‘20 (CLAS), a native of Middletown, will be traveling to Latvia as an English teaching assistant. She is a double major in psychology and biology. Lecky has a strong Latvian family heritage and, upon her return to the US, plans to attend graduate school and to teach in the sciences as a university professor.

Mark Stukel, a doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology, will conduct research in New Zealand. He will be working with collaborators at the University of Auckland and Landcare Research to learn cutting-edge research methods to uncover ancient hybridization in the evolutionary relationships of cicadas, and to reconstruct their past species ranges. He will also conduct workshops on cicada biology for children and the local community. Upon his return, Stukel will finish his dissertation on the evolutionary relationships and geographic distributions of world-wide cicadas using the methods he learned in New Zealand.

UConn students named semifinalists for a Fulbright grant were:

Jiana Baker ’20 (CLAS), a physiology and neurobiology major; Lana Delasanta, a doctoral student in ecological psychology; Rebecca Ercolani ’16 (BUS); Grace Felten, a doctoral student in social work; CarsonLee Harper ’20 (CLAS), a double major in English and history with a minor in medieval studies; Shadia Heenan, a graduate student in fine arts; Addison Kimbar ’20 (CLAS), a political science and biology major; Rick Laguerre, a doctoral student in industrial and organizational psychology; Xinyu Lin ’20 (ENG), a civil engineering major; and Kelly Mahaffy, a graduate student in English;

Operating in over 140 countries worldwide, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

The Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships (ONSF) is a resource for students interested in learning more about the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and other prestigious externally-funded scholarships and fellowships that support both graduate and undergraduate study. ONSF is part of Enrichment Programs and is open to all graduate and undergraduate students at the University, including students at the regional campuses. For more information about Fulbright specifically, contact LuAnn Saunders-Kanabay, UConn’s Fulbright Program Advisor.