College of Notre Dame named a top producer of U.S. Fulbright students

College of Notre Dame of Maryland was named by The Fulbright Program to a listing of colleges and universities that produced the most 2009-10 U.S. Fulbright students. College of Notre Dame is the only Maryland college in its category (master’s institutions) and is only one of three from the state recognized with this honor.

Two students from College of Notre Dame won Fulbright awards for 2009-10. Cassandra Bales ’09 is teaching English in Indonesia this academic year through a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship; Marcella Jones ’09 is teaching English in Ecuador through the same program.

Five students from College of Notre Dame applied for the program, and two were accepted.

“What wonderful recognition it is for College of Notre Dame to once again be named to the list of top producers of Fulbright students,” said Mary Pat Seurkamp, Ph.D., president. “Our students, truly, in significant ways, are transforming the world. Thanks to the Fulbright Program, the reach is far. Over the years, our students have conducted a study on sustainable livelihoods in Malawi; studied the use of traditional medicinal plants in modern medicine in Malaysia; and this year two are teaching English in Indonesia and Ecuador. I am proud of their accomplishments.”

The success of the top producing institutions is highlighted in the October 23 print edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education. 

The Fulbright competition is administered at College of Notre Dame by Leonor Blum, M.A., associate professor of history. Under her leadership since 1991, nine students have received Fulbrights to countries as diverse as Guatemala, the Philippines, Italy, Malawi, Indonesia, Ecuador, Spain, Germany and Malaysia. The College was named a top producer in 2004-05, too.

“College of Notre Dame usually has a number of Fulbright scholarship applicants and one or two winners each year, which shows that our students have an awareness of the interdependence of nations and the courage to immerse themselves in a totally different culture,” said Blum. “I keep in touch with past Fulbrighters from the College, and they tell me that the experience was a life-changing one. Each has gone to graduate school and then pursued a career as a lawyer, a professor or public servant. Every one of them finds time to travel abroad regularly or to do service.”

Under this program, 1,559 American students in more than 100 different fields of study have been offered grants to study, teach English and conduct research in more than 125 countries throughout the world beginning this fall.  

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program equips future American leaders with the skills they need to thrive in an increasingly global environment by providing funding for one academic year of study, research or assistant teaching abroad.

Fellows undertake self-designed programs in disciplines ranging from the social sciences, business, communication and performing arts to physical sciences, engineering and education.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 294,000 participants worldwide with the opportunity to observe each others’ political, economic and cultural institutions, exchange ideas and embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world’s inhabitants. In the past 63 years, more than 42,000 students from the United States have benefited from the Fulbright experience.

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Financial support is provided by an annual appropriation from Congress to the Department of State, with significant contributions from participating governments and host institutions in the United States and abroad. The presidentially appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board formulates policy guidelines and makes the final selection of all grantees.

In the United States, the Institute of International Education administers and coordinates the activities relevant to the U.S. Student Program, including conducting an annual competition for the scholarships.

The Fulbright Program also awards grants to American teachers and faculty to do research, lecture and teach overseas. In addition, some 3,850 new foreign Fulbright students and scholars come to the United States annually to study, carry out research and lecture at U.S. universities, colleges and secondary schools. 

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