Another Record-Breaking Year for St. John's Fulbrights

Produced by: Office of Marketing and Communications

August 12, 2013

Ten St. John's University students have received prestigious Fulbright Student Grants to conduct research and teach overseas—the largest number of Fulbrights awarded to the University in a single year.

The University also had 20 finalists, breaking previous records. Though 10 Fulbrights were awarded, two students ultimately declined.

The students' achievement reflects their—and the University's—ongoing commitment to global learning and Vincentian values. The Fulbright program is the largest international exchange program of its kind, with grants given to students who demonstrate academic excellence and leadership potential. 

"This is one of the most prestigious forms of recognition that a student can receive for scholarship and leadership," said Robert A. Mangione, Ed.D., R.Ph., Provost of St. John's. "These outstanding scholars will be wonderful ambassadors for St. John's—and for our nation—as they engage in their studies throughout the world. Their success is a testament to their hard work, the great support provided by their faculty mentors and the high quality of the education that they receive at our University."

"Our continued Fulbright success reflects the fact that our University has become a leader in producing students who think globally, and they're taking their momentum from New York City to all corners of the globe," said Konrad Tuchscherer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History and Fulbright Advisor at the University. "They are eager to make their mark, to solve problems and seek enlightenment and adventure." 

Tuchscherer noted that five of the eight Fulbright recipients have already studied abroad as part of St. John's University's comprehensive Global Studies program, which encourages students to explore the cultural diversity of sites such as Rome, Paris and Seville, among others. 

All the recipients received their undergraduate degrees from St. John's within the past three years: Rory Germain '13C, Paula Hertfelder '13C, Dylan Kitts '13C, Carina Mirchandi '13Ed, David Stewart '13C, Amber Veldt '13C, Stephanie Lima '12C and Lori Ann Dougherty '11Ed.

The eight Fulbright scholars will represent the University across the globe. Six of them will teach English—Germain and Stewart in South Korea, Mirchandi in Malaysia, Veldt in Andorra, Lima in Brazil and Kitts in Indonesia. However, teaching only scratches the surface of the Fulbright experience.

Stewart said that while he participated in Global Studies at St. John's, this will be the first time he's going to a locale where almost no one speaks English. He looks forward to immersing himself in a totally new culture. "I'm excited to see what I'm made of," he said.

Both Kitts and Mirchandi hope to develop after-school programs and give young people a positive view of American life. Veldt, who aspires to one day get her doctorate in political science, will be studying the phenomenon of language politics. Dougherty will explore the Czech Republic and compare its educational system to that of the United States. Hertfelder will research pre-Colombian sites in Trinidad and Tobago, while Lima will study Portuguese language.

"One theme that we expect will repeat itself in the upcoming year," Dr. Tuchscherer stressed, "is that our students felt they were exceptionally well-prepared for success on the world stage."


Lori Ann Dougherty '11Ed

Education and Social Studies
The School of Education

"In 2009, I went on a service trip to Paris. While there, we volunteered in soup kitchens, explored the city, and interacted with high school students. I was fascinated, and enjoyed comparing the French and American school systems. I applied for a Fulbright grant so I could continue comparing other countries' educational systems to ours. I will work with students, teachers, parents, and administrators to develop a complete picture of the Czech education system for a comparison study between their system and that of the United States."


Rory Germain '13

St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

"I work at the Writing Center and I really enjoy what I do there, so I decided to apply to the program. We're considered cultural ambassadors so we do our best to learn the language, the culture and get involved with other activities such as after-school projects. I'm excited to learn a new language and immerse myself in a new culture. I can't express how helpful Dr. Tuchscherer and his staff were. They reviewed my essays and kept on top of deadlines and were there for whatever I needed."


Paula Hertfelder '13

St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

"I was already studying abroad in Barbados when my professor sent me the Fulbright information. It seemed like a great fit. I'm going to be researching pre-Colombian sites with computer-based mapping. I'm hoping to gain some practical experience, and obtain funding for a future research project and maybe publish a paper. While I was in Barbados, I was able to discuss the program with members of the staff here and they were always there to answer my questions."


Dylan Kitts '13

St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

"I really wanted to go to Indonesia. It's the largest Muslim majority democracy in the world. The diversity there is astounding. I can't wait to experience that. I want to feel culture shock. I want to experience something new. I want to be in an environment that challenges me to be the best I can be. I'm hoping there's a way I can connect our two cultures in a positive way. It's a great opportunity to serve the global community. Eventually, I hope to go to law school and specialize in Public Interest Law."


Carina Mirchandani '13

Elementary Education
The School of Education

"I'm Indian. I was born in India and raised in the United States. Malaysia is close to India, but it's a completely different culture and I'm excited about that. I have a responsibility to show them the best of America — to teach them about our culture and answer their questions. I want to share what's best about America with them, and hopefully develop some lasting after-school programs. I've always wanted to be a teacher and to make a difference. I'm graduating and already certified to teach, but I thought this would be a great experience before I started my career."


David Stewart '13

St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

"I'll probably be the first native English speaker these kids will be exposed to, and I'll be their entrée to American culture. I've known for a long time I wanted to teach English. It's my passion. So it was a no-brainer for me to apply for the Fulbright. It's a very competitive program, but I took a chance, because I wanted to start my teaching career in South Korea."


Amber Veldt '13

Government and Politics/French
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

"I've always had a passion for teaching. My parents were missionaries and I grew up overseas. I had the opportunity to visit Andorra after high school and it's a very tiny, unique country bordering France and Spain. I'm interested in the role that language plays in identifying and forming policies, and what governments can do to foster the growth of a language. I would eventually like to write a dissertation on it, and possibly work in the Foreign Service."


Stephanie Lima '12

International Relations
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

"I applied for a Fulbright because I thought it was a great way to fully immerse myself in the Portuguese language while also experiencing the field of education firsthand. I became familiar with the scholarship through the Institute of International Education, and was awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship in 2010 for my study abroad semester. Dr. Tuchscherer and his staff have been extremely helpful and supportive throughout the entire application process. I can't wait to get started. This experience will align perfectly with my future goals, as I am determined to eventually start a non-profit organization."