UH Moment

UH Moment: UH a Top Producer of Fulbright U.S. Students

“The impact of the University of Houston can be measured around the world thanks to the support of organizations such as the Fulbright Program”

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In what was the most competitive application year in the Fulbright Program's more than 75-year history, the University of Houston has once again emerged as a top producer of Fulbright U.S. students.

Ten recent UH graduates and alumni received Fulbright grants for the 2021-2022 academic year, marking the second time in three years that 10 or more UH students earned grants from the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program in the same application cycle.

2021-2022 UH Fulbright recipients pictured left to right: (Top row) Jongsang Ahn, Parker Carwile, Ashley Cruz, Maham Gardezi and Hamad Khan; (Bottom row) Ana Belén Gutiérrez, Olivia Lee, Shailee Modi, Saajan Patel and Carl Suerte

Each year the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announces the top producing institutions for the Fulbright Program and the list is published in The Chronicle of Higher Education and on the Fulbright website.

A remarkable 36 UH students have earned Fulbright grants since 2018, one more than in the previous 51 years combined. Those recipients are conducting research and teaching English in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, and Turkey. Five UH students were also named alternates.

"The impact of the University of Houston can be measured around the world thanks to the support of organizations such as the Fulbright Program," said Paula Myrick Short, UH senior vice president of academic affairs and provost. "UH’s designation as a top producer of U.S. Fulbright students demonstrates the international reach of our Cougars and serves as further indication of the University’s commitment to producing both engaged scholars and global citizens."

The latest Fulbright recipients come from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS), College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM), C.T. Bauer College of Business, College of Education, Cullen College of Engineering and the interdisciplinary Honors College.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is designed to build relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide, with the aim of solving global challenges.

"Having such active participation in the Fulbright Program is important to expanding the University of Houston's international footprint," said Michael Pelletier, a former U.S. ambassador and the first executive director of UH's Institute for Global Engagement, an Aspire Initiative. "Fulbrighters not only receive an enhanced educational experience abroad, but they are agents of change on a global scale. That's what UH is all about."

Ben Rayder, director of the UH Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards, noted that Fulbright evaluated both current and previous applicants when awarding the latest round of grants due to the cancellation of many programs because of the pandemic. As a result, the number of applications nationwide increased by nearly 12%.

"Despite the stiff competition and uncertainty caused by the pandemic, UH students continued to engage with this life-changing program, showing their resilience and eagerness to have an international impact," said Rayder, who added that 46 UH students applied for Fulbright grants in the latest cycle, the most in school history.

Last fall, UH was one of 35 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) to be named a Fulbright HSI Leader in the inaugural year of this designation for its noteworthy engagement with the Fulbright Program.

Since the Fulbright Program's establishment in 1946, more than 400,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists have been given the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

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