Majority of Fulbright grants given to College of A&S students

Eight of the 11 nominees for the 2011-2012 Fulbright Scholarship are from the College of Arts & Sciences this year.

The Fulbright program is an international educational exchange program by which students from across the world receive grants to conduct research and teach English, according to the Fulbright website.

“Approximately 294,000 ‘Fulbrighters,’ 111,000 from the United States and 183,000 from other countries, have participated in the Program since its inception more than sixty years ago,” the website said.

According to the website, the US government annually grants this award to approximately 7,500 students from 155 countries, giving them “the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.”

According to Kimble, seven of the eleven candidates for next year’s award plan on doing research in a country of their choice while the other four are in line to teach English. In countries like Japan, Colombia, and even Kazakhstan, these students are looking to display their academic and leadership skills in hopes of growing in their studies and promoting US-Foreign relations, according to the Fulbright website.

Dr. James Kimble, a Seton Hall professor and the go-to Fulbright contact, likes to put the benefits of being a “Fulbrighter” in simpler terms.

“Think about it – you get the grant, the Fulbright award pays for you to travel to the country to which you applied, you get to conduct the research you proposed, you receive a living stipend, and, after ten months or a year, Fulbright pays to fly you back,” Kimble said. “And then, to top it all, you’ve got ‘Fulbrighter’ all over your resume for the rest of your life.”

The heightened campus awareness of such opportunities has sparked an increase in Seton Hall applicants, especially from the College of Arts & Sciences, according to Kimble.

Although A&S is the largest college on campus, Kimble sees the increase of this awareness as the main reason for the exponential growth in applications.

“We really have seen a lot more applicants from A&S this year. I think most of the reason is that A&S faculty are more and more aware of the award and are telling their best students about it,” Kimble said. “Several years ago few on campus had ever heard about student Fulbright awards and now I get at least one email a week asking about it. “

The Fulbright program, according to Kimble, looks for specific qualifications in a nominee including the ability to speak the appropriate language, and experience in the classroom if the student applies for an English-teaching grant.

According to Kimble, the College of Arts & Sciences, as well as the Whitehead School of Diplomacy, which had three nominees, provide the curriculum to advance oneself in acquiring the necessary language and offer the option of teaching in a classroom.

“If I’m on a Fulbright committee, I’m going to ask myself why this student wants to be in this country at this time in their lives,” Kimble said. “If there is a good fit, then I am more likely to select them.”

Kimble said he believes in the opportunities given by the Fulbright Scholarship.

“Who wouldn’t want that kind of life-altering award as a college senior or recent alum?” Kimble said. “I know that I wish I’d known about it when I was a student.”

Patrick Wedlock can be reached at patrick.wedlock@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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