Villanova University Named a Top Producer of Fulbright U.S. Students


The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) recently named Villanova University as one of the top producers of 2020-2021 Fulbright U.S. Students.

Sarah Sweeney, Co-News Editor

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) recently named Villanova University as one of the top producers of 2020-2021 Fulbright U.S. Students, with 17 students and alumni receiving Fulbright awards, eight Villanovans selected as alternates  and 21 students named semi-finalists for the 2020-2021 academic year.

“I am delighted to see Villanovans continuing our rich history of representation with the Fulbright program,” said University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D. “I would like to congratulate this year’s recipients on this impressive achievement, and I look forward to seeing the impact of these students and alumni throughout the world. I would like to thank all those in the Villanova community involved in helping prepare this year’s Fulbright recipients.”

The Fulbright Program offers high-achieving recent undergraduate and graduate students in the United States opportunities for research, study and teaching in over 140 international countries. Fulbright Students participate in cultural exchange by meeting, working with and learning from people in their host countries. 

The Fulbright Program is a very selective process, with roughly only 20% of all applicants being selected as Fulbright Scholars. Winners are selected based on their academic record, personal qualifications and how well the candidate and his or her project will “help to advance the Fulbright aim of promoting mutual understanding among nations through engagement in the host community, among other activities.” 

A central part of the application process includes creating a project statement, in which applicants bring together their backgrounds, activities, personal interests, planned activities and anticipated outcomes in a concise five-page report to peers, outlining their plans if selected for the program.

Villanova students interested in applying for the Fulbright Program receive guidance and application support from the Center for Research and Fellowship (CRF). The CRF team provides interested students and alumni with one-on-one consultations and group support, which includes helping students come up with project ideas, writing and revising proposals and preparing for interviews.

“The Fulbright program has once again provided validation of Villanova’s exceptional students and alumni—and by extension, our world-class academic and research enterprise, including our outstanding faculty and staff mentors,” said Michael T. Westrate, Ph.D., Director of CRF. 

The 17 Villanovans awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Grants are:

  • Mark Brady ’20 CLAS

  • Amanda Burau ’19 CLAS-Master’s

  • Christa Cook ’20 COE-Master’s

  • Nora Cowley ’20 CLAS

  • Christopher Deucher ’20 CLAS

  • Elizabeth Einig ’16 VSB

  • Isabel Forward ’19 CLAS

  • Caraline Gammons ’20 CLAS

  • Jillian Haggard ’20 CLAS

  • Michelle Kimura ’20 CLAS

  • Nathalie Leonardo ’20 CLAS

  • Caleigh Manyak ’20 CLAS

  • Benjamin Moy ’20 CLAS

  • Christina Prinssen ’20 CLAS

  • Clare Reckner ’20 CLAS

  • Nkiambi Sokolo ’18 CLAS

  • Jasmine Thornton ’20 CLAS

“The Fulbright Student Program gives Villanova students and alumni the opportunity to bring our Augustinian Catholic values to life by using the knowledge, experiences and skills gained at the University to ignite change around the world,” said University Provost Patrick G. Maggitti, Ph.D. “Through study, research, teaching and engagement with communities across the globe, these remarkable individuals use their talents to make a positive impact on society. Congratulations to each of the Villanova students and alumni recognized by this prestigious program and to the dedicated faculty and staff who support our talented students throughout this process.”