Seven St. John's University students have been selected to conduct research and teach overseas as recipients of Fulbright Student Grants, the largest U.S. international exchange program recognizing students and young professionals who demonstrate academic excellence and leadership potential.
It is the greatest number of Fulbrights awarded to St. John's students in a single year. The University also had 13 finalists, breaking previous records. Though seven Fulbrights were awarded, one student ultimately declined.
Operating in more than 155 countries, the Fulbright Program is one of the world's preeminent awards opportunities. U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright established the program in 1946 to build international understanding through the exchange of people, knowledge and skills. Forty-three Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes and 78 have won Pulitzers.
"This is one of the most prestigious forms of recognition a student can receive for scholarship and leadership," said Julia A. Upton, RSM, Ph.D., Provost of St. John's. "We are extremely proud that so many of our students have been acknowledged in this way. Their achievements testify to their own gifts — and to the high quality of the education students receive at our University."
"Each of our students who received the award this year demonstrated exemplary scholarly performance in terms of overall achievement and in their individual research areas," said Konrad Tuchscherer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History and Fulbright Program Advisor at the University.
"In keeping with the aims of the Fulbright," he added, "each student also provided outstanding leadership on campus. For example, one student founded a history club and published a book. Another served the homeless via the St. Vincent de Paul Society, while others were involved in academic-service internships, peer mentorship programs and anti-bullying campaigns."
Three of the recipients — Boris Chiporukha '10G, Jessica Corsaro '15GEd and Kelly Rivera '02CPS, '11GEd — earned graduate degrees at St. John's. The others — Katelyn Liesner '12C, Patrick Homeyer '12C and Sarah Alam '12C — received bachelor's degrees and are considering graduate school.
The six recipients will spend the 2012-13 academic year pursuing their Fulbright activities around the world. In Ukraine, Boris will explore ways to improve that nation's deteriorating tourism infrastructure. Patrick will teach conversational English to university students in Bahrain. Jessica plans to study language and culture in Kenya. On the Aegean Islands, Katelyn will seek solutions to that region's environmental problems. Kelly and Sarah will conduct their studies in Malta and Bangladesh, respectively.
"Our success this year also reflects a marked increase in the global experiences that St. John's provides through study abroad, as well as our dedication to internationalizing the curriculum on campus," said Dr. Tuchscherer.
The Office of Global Studies at St. John's provides abundant study abroad opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Options include a full semester at the University's Rome campus and Paris location; winter and summer courses throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America; and Discover the World, which brings students to three cities in a single semester.
These experiences, Dr. Tuchscherer explained, give St. John's students "a huge advantage" over those at many universities. "Our global emphasis," he said, "positions us among the elite universities in terms of international experience and preparedness."