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Two Recent Graduates Selected for Prestigious Fulbright Grants

Malisa Heard and Mohammed Jagana
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Two recent graduates of St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences were chosen for the highly competitive Fulbright US Student Program.

Malisa Heard ’18C

Malisa Heard applied for a Fulbright award while studying abroad at the University’s Paris location during the fall 2016 semester, with encouragement from Zoe Petropoulou, Ph.D., Assistant Provost for Global Initiatives and Associate Professor of French. Originally from Covington, GA, Ms. Heard had never been outside of the US before college; this opportunity increased her appreciation of the many educational options offered through the Global Studies program at St. John’s.

Ms. Heard majored in Psychology and will teach English in Côte d’Ivoire for a year and then pursue either law school or graduate school. She previously tutored English language learners through the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies’ Free Adult Literacy Program and plans to apply some of the skills she learned to her Fulbright post.

“Go after what you want without worrying too much about the obstacles,” Malisa advised. “Barriers will come down if you are tenacious enough.”

Mohammed Jagana ’18C

A native of Seattle, WA, Mohammed Jagana attended St. John’s University because of its suburban-like campus and metropolitan location. For his Fulbright destination, he said he chose the Netherlands due to its innovative approaches to education and his interest in comparative politics. He has been accepted to several law schools, but deferred admission so he can focus on the Fulbright experience. As a lawyer, he intends to promote criminal justice reform.

Mr. Jagana served on the Multicultural Advisory Committee, which reports to Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President of St. John’s University. He was also selected for the Ronald H. Brown Law School Prep Program for College Students and the Stanford M.B.A. Future Leaders Program.

Most recently, Mr. Jagana interned with the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, as well as with St. John’s University’s Office of General Counsel. He previously served as a legislative research fellow for New York State Senator Leroy Comrie (14th Senate District). He recently volunteered at the Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee, FL, with St. John's Serves.

“Come with an open mind,” observed Mr. Jagana. “You never know where opportunities might lead you.”