The Fulbright Scholarship Program

If you consider yourself as smart, well spoken, an extrovert, and enjoy the possibility if traveling to a foreign country for one full year, then the Fulbright Program may be for you.

“The Fulbright Program encourages recent graduates to go oversees to learn and interact with other cultures,” said Lubin School of Business Associate Professor and Fulbright Program Advisor for the Pleasantville campus Kathy Winsted, Ph.D. “It’s like an ambassador program where these students are ambassadors for the U.S. but it’s also about having a better understanding about the world.”

Winsted coordinates all the students’ applications, set up the interview process, set up a committee to interview the students and write committee recommendations to the Fulbright committee.

The scholarship program is open to all majors with 150 countries taking part.

Fulbright was created in 1946 by former Senator James William Fulbright of Arkansas to promote a mutual understanding among cultures and nations and first introduced at Pace by former Associate Provost Beverly Kahn, Ph.D.

Fulbright is the U.S. Government’s flagship educational and cultural exchange program with about 1,500 grants being awards for many facets in American society, such as, ethnic, institutional, and geographic diversity.

Eligibility requirements are that applicants must be a U.S. citizen, proficiency in the written and spoken language of the host country, and have good health – just to name a few.

Pace recommends students with a 3.5 GPA, “the higher, the better, in terms of academic achievement […] communication skills, a self-starter with a lot of initiative, commitment to do a lot of independent work, creative to come up with ideas and a lot of drive, motivation and diligence,” said Winsted.

“[Fulbright students] are not supervised for an entire year; [Fulbright] looks for you to be adaptable to other cultures and not freak out and be homesick and fly back home.”

Winsted acknowledges the program is an incredible resume builder.

“The Fulbright Scholarship is very respected and for the rest of these student’s lives when they are introduced or giving a speech, they’ll be known as a Fulbright Scholar.”

Interim Associate Provost for the Office of Student Success Dr. Christine Shakespeare is involved with the program, in fact, during her time in New York University she unsuccessfully applied for Fulbright.

Shakespeare encourages students to take part of the program.

“Around the world, the Fulbright Program is well respected, well known, and very competitive. You’ll get international recognition; It’s a coveted award,” said Shakespeare. “It’s an incredible race and for the time to devote yourself for the whole year and get paid to focus for something your passionate about.”

She added, “If you’re not sure what to do after you graduate, this is then a good option for you, especially if you don’t want to graduate just yet.”

Lubin Honors College and finance and management senior Jena Zoll is among the six Pace students currently vying to be part of Fulbright to visit Latvia. She was introduced by Winsted during her sophomore year.

“After first hearing about this opportunity I knew that I wanted to apply and that an experience and opportunity like this doesn’t come around often,” said Zoll. “Since sophomore year, Dr. Winsted has known of my interest so she put me in contact with past Fulbright scholars and my interest simply escalated from there.”

“[The] process is incredibly time consuming and I spent more time writing my two page Statement of Grant Purpose and my one page Self Nomination Letter than I have spent on a twenty page research paper,” added Zoll.

“After doing all of this, I submitted everything and just waited to hear back from the review committee. Now that I’ve made it passed the first round of screenings, I’m waiting to hear the final decision. It took a lot of work […] I had to persuade the committee that I would be a worthy ambassador for the United States while abroad.”

Political Science senior Ardijana Gojani is a fellow candidate for the program. She was introduced to the program by Dr. Gregory Julian, her academic adviser.

“My immediate reaction was ‘Well I read, write and speak fluent Albanian so I would apply to Albania,’” said Gojani. “However, I was hesitant to apply because I could not imagine myself living in another country and living away from my family for an entire year. So, I held off the Idea of doing Fulbright.”

After further talks with Julian and her friends, Gojani regained the interest to take part of the program.

“I began to do my own research by seeing exactly what this program entailed. It would allow me to choose a research topic on anything I was interested in,” said Gojani. “Dr. Julian and I decided that we would focus on the Millennium Developmental Goals with special focus on Gender disparity within the Albanian Community. This topic has always been of significant interest to me being that I am a first generation Albanian American woman.”

The benefits from the program can be substantial, as Zoll stated, “If awarded the scholarship, it will become the center of my resume – it’ll be what employers will notice and ask questions about. Since it’s all my own work, I’ll be able to discuss my research and findings with a level of expertise. One of my professors told me that being a Fulbright Scholar is like winning the Noble Peace Prize – enough said.”

A total of 30 Pace student have partaken in the experience. Past Pace Fulbrighters include finance major Joshua Khavis ’02, who traveled to Israel; modern language and culture student Teuta Bucaj ’02, who journeyed Albania; communications student Kim Misevis ’03, who voyaged to South Korea; Thomas Kelly ’08, a business management student who traveled to Latvia.

A Fulbright information session will be held in the New York City campus on April 28, at 12:30pm in Lecture Hall North with a webcast available at mms://realserv.pace.edu/Liveny.

If you are interested, visit http://www.FulbrightOnline.org/US and contact Theresa Frey, Program Director for the Office for Student Success at (212) 346-1980 and email: TFrey@Pace.edu or University Director for Student Success Sue Maxam at (914) 773-3848 and email: smaxam@pace.edu

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