Six UConn Students Receive Fulbright Program Grants

UConn had an all-time high of 17 semifinalists for the Fulbright Student Program award, which includes the six finalists and three alternates.

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Top Row: Elizabeth Clifton, Karli Golembeski and Chloe Murphy. Bottom Row: Simran Sehgal, Jessica Stargardter and Candace Tang.

Six UConn students have been selected as recipients of a grant through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the 2021-22 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 17 semifinalists for the Fulbright Student Program award, which includes the six finalists and three alternates. A total of 40 UConn students completed UConn’s campus application process for the 2021-22 Fulbright round.

“In what has been a truly challenging year for all students, and one which witnessed an 11.9% increase overall in applications to the Fulbright Student program, our UConn applicants demonstrated outstanding qualities and their commitment to fostering mutual understanding by engaging with the world,” 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 six UConn students who are recipients (also referred to as “finalists”) are:

Elizabeth Clifton, a doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology, will explore the vast diversity of weapon adaptations in termites in collaboration with the Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague. An avid outdoors person, she plans to hike, learn the local flora and fauna, and connect with the citizens of Czechia. Upon her return to the United States, Clifton will defend her dissertation and apply to post-doctoral positions that will enable her to travel internationally for fieldwork and continue scientific collaborations.

Karli Golembeski, a master’s student in curriculum and instruction in the Neag School of Education and a native of New Milford, will travel to Spain for an English teaching assistant grant. Golembeski aspires to a future as a Spanish language educator with the goal of fostering the prioritization of foreign language study in American schools. Her experience as an English teaching assistant in the Galicia region will provide an immersive experience outside of metropolitan areas, enabling her to engage with cultural traditions in smaller communities and represent American culture in Spanish classrooms.

Chloe Murphy ’21 (CLAS), was an Africana Studies major from New London, with an abiding interest in Lusophone society and the African diaspora. She will travel to Brazil for an English teaching assistant grant and seeks to teach English and experience a part of the world which has a comparable yet contrasting history to the United States. Murphy looks forward to learning the history and exploring the architecture of the community while sharing her American perspective. When she returns to the United States, Murphy will pursue a master’s in education, to teach history at the high school level in an urban setting, and eventually move into administration.

Simran Sehgal ’21 (ENG) was a biomedical engineering major with an interest in the forces of culture, economics and politics that shape the dynamics of our technological environment and received a Fulbright Study grant to the Netherlands. She has been accepted at Maastricht University to pursue a master’s in European studies on society, science, and technology, where she will focus on science and public policy to examine the relationship between contemporary governance and technological innovations. Upon completion of her master’s, Sehgal will return to attend medical school with a dual master’s program in health services and policy research.

Jessica Stargardter ‘17 (ED) ‘19 MA, received her master’s in curriculum and instruction and will travel to Finland for a Fulbright Research grant. A native of Windsor, she earned a certificate in Gifted Education and Talent Development in 2019 and has been working as a gifted and talented teacher for the Norwalk Public Schools since 2018. In collaboration with faculty at the University of Helsinki, her research project will examine how teachers in Finnish schools provide services to gifted immigrant students. Upon completion of her research, Stargardter will share the results with practitioners in Finland and the U.S. through conferences, professional development, and publications.

Candace Tang ’21 (CLAS) was a double major in sociology and human development and family sciences with an interest in the creative arts and will travel to Taiwan for the ETA grant. A native of Simsbury, Tang seeks to develop a new strategy of language-learning as an English Teaching Assistant in Taiwan by engaging with local artists and story-telling projects. Upon her return, Tang will pursue a master’s program in social work with a focus on serving international students in higher education.

UConn students named alternates for a Fulbright grant were:

Amir Agoora ’21 (CLAS), an English major; Olasubomi (Mini) Ajayi ‘21 (CAHNR), an allied health major; and Jonathan Simmons, a doctoral student in the curriculum and instruction in the Neag School of Education.

UConn students named semifinalists for a Fulbright grant were:

Jessica Adams ‘20 (CLAS), a biology major; Jolene Addi ’21 (CLAS), a psychological sciences major; Mia Flynn ’21 (CLAS), an economics major; Brendan Hogan ‘21 (CLAS), with majors in political science, philosophy and psychological sciences; Brianna McClure ‘19 (CLAS), a political science major; Shankara Narayanan ‘21 (CLAS), a history and political science major; Magdalena Pawlowski, a master’s in fine arts student in painting;  Isaiah Williams ‘17 (ENG), an environmental engineering major.

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.