Five UConn students have been selected as recipients of a grant through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the 2022-23 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 12 semifinalists for the Fulbright Student Program award, which includes the five finalists and one alternate. A total of 20 UConn students completed UConn’s campus application process for the 2022-23 Fulbright round.
“It is encouraging to witness that, despite the challenges of the pandemic, our students continue to seek opportunities to engage in research, teaching and study throughout 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 five UConn students who are recipients (also referred to as “finalists”) are:
Bryan Greene, a doctoral student in sociology, whose research project, “From #ICantBreathe to #DontCallMeMurzyn: Exploring Anti-Blackness in Poland,” will examine conversations on anti-blackness in Poland and, more broadly, in Europe. His project builds upon his earlier experience with the New School’s summer institute, Democracy & Diversity, and will take him to Warsaw, Krakow, Lodz, and Wroclaw to conduct interviews with Afro/Black Polish citizens. His goal is to expand conversations on anti-blackness along with developing strategies to eradicate it. Upon his return, he will share his findings at conferences, departmental workshops, and complete his dissertation.
Josiah Grzywacz, a master’s student in oceanography, is also proposing a research project in Poland – “Symbiotic relationships in ciliates from a set of lakes in the Masurian Lakeland.” This project will find him collaborating with faculty at the University of Warsaw to examine the environmental conditions in an area of Poland with more than 2,000 lakes and ponds. His study of the microbial community in this area may help to predict future changes and lead to knowledge that can be used in public policy decisions. Upon his return to the United States, Grzywacz plans to pursue a doctorate in oceanography with a focus on microbiology and the ecology of aquatic systems.
Akriti Mishra ’20 (CLAS) received her undergraduate degree from UConn in psychology and molecular & cell biology. Mishra will be an English teaching assistant in the Communidad de Madrid in Spain. She will draw upon her experiences as an alternative spring break director and coordinator of a cultural immersion program for adult English-as-second-language learners to facilitate classes for students to practice their English conversation skills and learn about American culture. She also looks forward to volunteering with an organization supporting deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Upon her return to the United States, Mishra plans to apply to law school with a specialty in immigration law.
Drew Tienken ‘22 (CLAS) graduated with a degree in environmental sciences and political science. He will take his interest in environmentalism and sustainable development to his role as an English teaching assistant in Taiwan. His experiences as a swim coach and camp counselor working with children from Taiwan drew him to the opportunity of spending a year in a Taiwan classroom. He looks forward to volunteering with an environmental justice group called “Citizen of the Earth Taiwan”. Upon his return, Tienken plans to attend law school, specializing in environmental law.
Robert Minh Lu Williams ’22 (ENG) was inspired by a family visit to Vietnam and his experiences with the Asian American Cultural Center (AsACC) at UConn to be be one of twenty English teaching assistants in Vietnam. He will draw upon his experience as a mentor and coordinator of the Asian/Asian-American Mentoring Program at UConn to create an after-school mentoring program and collaborate with AsACC to create a bi-cultural exchange. He also plans to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity International and develop his interests in traditional medicine and herbology. Upon his return to the United States, he will apply to medical school, to pursue a specialty in psychiatry with a focus on childhood trauma.
The UConn student named as an Alternate for a Fulbright grant was:
Emily Miller ’21 (CLAS), a Spanish and linguistics double major, for an English teaching assistantship in Spain.
UConn students named semifinalists for a Fulbright grant were:
Jolene Addi ’21 (CLAS), a psychological sciences major; Sulema Depeyster ’21 (CLAS), a history major; Shankara Narayanan ’21 (CLAS), a history and political science major; Amisha Paul ’22 (CLAS), a physiology & neurobiology and economics major; Aditi Sirsikar ’22 (CLAS), a physiology and neurobiology major; and Samuel Urban ’21 (CLAS & NEAG), a history and anthropology major, social studies education.
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.