Ten UConn students have been selected as recipients of a grant through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the 2023-24 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 19 semifinalists for Fulbright Student Program awards, which includes the nine finalists and an alternate. A total of 20 UConn students completed UConn’s campus application process for the 2023-24 Fulbright round.
“For the past decade, UConn has averaged five Fulbright recipients a year,” says Vin Moscardelli, the director of UConn’s Office of National Scholarships and Fellowship (ONSF). “To have ten this year – with an alternate – is a testament to the collaborative efforts of ONSF and the Office of Experiential Global Learning to promote this opportunity to our students. Fulbright Program Adviser LuAnn Saunders-Kanabay does an extraordinary job of helping students identify the right Fulbright opportunity for them, and she and her committee, which includes several former Fulbright recipients, provide critical feedback and other support throughout the application process. Our students are fortunate to have such a robust network of committed mentors and advisers encouraging their ambitions.”
The ten UConn students who are recipients (also referred to as “finalists”) are:
Madeline Baird, a graduate student in anthropology, will conduct research in Mexico. Her research focuses on issues of health equity, human rights, and healing within migration studies and medical anthropology. Baird’s multi-sited dissertation research examines health and human rights for migrants in transit to the United States-Mexico border, employing collaborative ethnography in Darien, Panama and Chiapas, Mexico, two key border spaces implementing controlled migration policies.
Danicia Brown ’23 (CLAS) earned her UConn degree in English with minors in women’s, gender & sexuality studies and urban & community studies. She will be an English teaching assistant in North-Rhine Westphalia in Germany. Brown is interested in Black feminism, Black queer studies, and comparative literature. She hopes to create a writing group for Afro-German female students to express themselves freely through different types of literature. With a background in college writing tutoring, Brown aspires to improve and inspire creative writing that encourages Black students to value and explore their identities.
Rebecca Ercolani ’16 (BUS) will be an English teaching assistant in Bulgaria. After graduating from UConn with a degree in health care management and insurance studies, Ercolani worked in the health care technology industry. After four years in the corporate world, Ercolani was inspired to make a career change to teaching. She spent two years working as an elementary language arts and English as a second language (ESL) teacher in the San Francisco area and is now a preschool teacher. While in Bulgaria, Ercolani will be working with high school and elementary students as a cultural ambassador and ESL teacher. After completing her grant, Ercolani plans to finish her master’s in education and teaching in elementary education.
Keely Greiner ’22 (CLAS), ’23 MPH earned her undergraduate degree in health systems and disparities and her Master’s of Public Health at UConn. She will be attending Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and pursuing a Master’s of Art in philosophy with a concentration in philosophy, bioethics, and health. Greiner is interested in the ethics involved in medical decision-making and medical aid in dying. Upon her return, she hopes to share the knowledge she gains and be involved in medical ethics policy decisions. Greiner also plans to attend medical school and specialize in hospice and palliative medicine.
Neal Krishna ’23 (CLAS), earned his degree in physiology & neurobiology, English and astrophysics and was a Holster Scholar, Werth Innovator Fellow and a member of the 2021 Leadership Legacy cohort. Krishna was also editor-in-chief of the Nutmeg yearbook and was a teaching assistant. He plans to attend medical school. He will be an English teaching assistant in Taiwan.
Daniel Leaf ’23 (CLAS) earned his UConn degree in political science and German and will be an English teaching assistant at a school in Lower Saxony, Germany. He is returning to Germany after spending a year studying at the University of Konstanz in Baden-Württemberg. He plans to use his skills and experience to pursue a career in international relations.
Christine Savino ’18 (BUS) is currently a visiting student at the University of Oxford in England studying international law and will travel to Taiwan for her Fulbright as an English teaching assistant. She was an honors scholar at UConn and majored in business and triple minored in global studies, human rights, and women’s rights. She was also active in UConn’s global business programs and Human Rights Institute. In addition to English, Savino speaks Spanish, French, and Chinese and has applied those skills as a translator for immigrants and refugees and as a multilingual writer for the Oxford Faculty of Law’s international human rights blog. Savino will begin law school at Cornell to pursue a career in civil and international human rights law upon her return.
Stephanie Schofield ’23 (CLAS) earned her UConn undergraduate degree in molecular and cell biology with a minor in psychological sciences. She will perform research in Heidelberg, Germany, and work with Magdalena Laugsch of the Heidelberg Institute for Human Genetics. She and Laugsch will study the genetics behind hereditary neurodevelopmental disorders, with a focus on early embryonic human neural crest cell development. Schofield is planning to pursue a career in genetic counseling.
Elisa Shaholli ’23 (CLAS) earned her undergraduate degree in English and economics, was a Stamps Scholar, and will be an English teaching assistant in Turkey. A native of Wolcott, Conn., she is passionate about the social experience of disability and accessibility, combining both economics and humanities to understand, serve, and work within disability and marginalized communities. She has worked in a range of different spaces targeting disability issues and has performed research under the Holster Scholarship, IDEA Grant, and University Scholar program at UConn.
Joan Tremblay ’22 (CLAS) earned dual undergraduate degrees from UConn in ecology & evolutionary biology and English with a minor in wildlife conservation. She will study at the University of Glasgow in Scotland in the Environment, Culture and Communication MLitt Program, where she will examine United States and United Kingdom conservation efforts and explore the potential influence of folkloric traditions on conservation. She is interested conceptions of the relationships between humans and nature in Scottish folklore, and the use of these stories to help people connect with their immediate ecosystems.
The UConn student named as an alternate for a Fulbright grant was:
Erik Choi ’23 (CLAS), a physiology and neurobiology major, for an English teaching assistantship in Thailand.
UConn students named semifinalists for a Fulbright grant were:
Laura Bedoya, a graduate student in public administration; Sulema Depeyster ’21 (CLAS), a history major; Chase Mack ’23 (CLAS), an environmental science and political science major; Jennifer Magnoli ’22 (BUS); Tracey Miller, a graduate student in plant science; Harrison Raskin ’23 (CLAS), an urban & community studies and Spanish major; Lucas Ruiz ’23 (CLAS), a history major; and Elyssa Wrubel, 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 Michael Cunningham, who begins as UConn’s Fulbright Program Adviser on June 1.