Fulbright U.S. Student Program

2014 Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors


The Fulbright U.S. Student Alumni Ambassador Program was established in 2008 to identify, train and engage a select group of approximately 15 Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumni each year to serve as representatives, recruiters and spokespersons for the Fulbright Program. They are selected annually through recommendations from Fulbright Commissions and U.S. Embassy staff, area managers, the Fulbright Student Program Outreach Division and are approved by the sponsor of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors come from an array of different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, states, fields of study, institutions; they have participated in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program in all world areas.

Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors represent the program’s rich diversity and play a key role in increasing knowledge about Fulbright opportunities. They provide testimonials about their Fulbright experiences at conferences and campus presentations and offer application tips in written articles, video and podcast interviews, webinars and at special events throughout the United States. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program relies on the Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors to mentor potential applicants, sharing what a Fulbright grant is really like, along with how to address the challenges of living abroad successfully and how best to meet the Fulbright Program’s ultimate goal–to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries.

Hameto Benkreira

Hameto Benkreira

Current City: Washington, DC
Tufts University
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant – Indonesia, 2011-2012
ABenkreira.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

In Bogor, Indonesia, Hameto assistant taught English at a semi-rural Islamic boarding school and coached students for English competitions, debates and participation with Model UN teams. Hameto lived in the boys’ dormitory with his students with whom he occasionally played American football.  After his Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, Hameto returned to Indonesia and worked at an education start-up in Jakarta. He is now working part-time at an education/technology firm and is also launching his own business in Washington, DC.

Paul Bostrom

Paul Bostrom

Current City: San Francisco, California
Johns Hopkins University
Fulbright U.S. Student in Energy – Norway, 2012-2013
PBostrom.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

In affiliation with the University of Oslo's Centre for Development and the Environment, and with guidance from Dr. Harold Wilhite, Paul Bostrom studied Norway’s approach to energy performance labeling for buildings under the European Union Directive 2002/91/EC. This project was designed to evaluate the impetus, structural design, and early market perceptions of residential energy ratings in Norway. In support of his project, Paul established a cooperative relationship with the Norwegian Directorate for Water Resources and Energy, the federal agency responsible for the implementation of the energy performance labeling scheme. To complement his research, Paul also maintained a formal relationship with Xyntéo AS, an international environmental advisory firm, working on projects closely related to his field of study. This arrangement provided access to environmental and policy practitioners throughout Norway and central Europe. Paul holds a Master of Science degree in energy policy and climate from the Johns Hopkins University. He currently serves as a Senior Resource Integration Analyst for Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) in San Francisco, California. 

Giuseppe Cespedes

Giuseppe Cespedes

Current City: Rutherford, New Jersey
Rutgers University, New Brunswick
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant – Brazil, 2011-2012
GCespedes.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

In the coastal city of Ilhéus, Brazil, Giuseppe assistant taught English grammar and conversation classes to university students at the Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz. He also conducted several cross-cultural workshops, which later evolved into a student-led, week-long series of events at the university promoting language learning. Outside of the classroom, Giuseppe spent his time practicing capoeira, dancing forró, and recording music with local musicians. Giuseppe is currently working as an immigration paralegal at Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of New York, providing direct legal services to unaccompanied immigrant children. He also serves as a mentor for undergraduate students in the Latino Alumni Association of Rutgers University mentorship program.

Sharief El-Gabri

Sharief El-Gabri

Current City: Ann Arbor, Michigan
University of Michigan
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant – Jordan, 2010-2011
SEl-Gabri.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

While in Amman, Jordan, Sharief assistant taught English to high school students at the Model School of the University of Jordan. He created an afterschool book club, which was the school’s only afterschool program and boasted 25% voluntary participation.  Sharief additionally volunteered at the Jerash Refugee Camp, where he helped build a sports facility and community center for refugee children and mothers; the sports facility still serves as a major centerpiece for the refugee community at large. Now enrolled at the University of Michigan Law School, Sharief’s ongoing interest in volunteerism continues with his involvement with the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), an organization providing legal counsel to Iraqis seeking emergency refugee status in the United States.

Janice Feng

Janice Feng

Current City: Washington, DC
Marist College
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant – Malaysia, 2011-2012
JFeng.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

In Malaysia, Janice assistant taught English to secondary students at SMK Dato’ Ali Haji Ahmad in Pontian, a small fishing village on the western coast of Johor. In addition to her weekly class schedule, she partnered with fellow Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) and Malaysian educators to develop several multi-day English programs that created a forum for exchange and interaction between students from diverse communities as well as ETAs. These English camps provided students with an immersive learning experience while challenging them to explore important topics such as environmental sustainability and community building. Outside of school hours, Janice was actively involved in the community by facilitating youth empowerment programs; a highlight being a district-wide art workshop whose results were later showcased in a traveling exhibition held by the U.S. Embassy. Janice is now working at a higher education nonprofit in Washington, DC that connects minority college students with career advancement opportunities.

Kevin Fomalont

Kevin Fomalont

Current City: Broomhall, Pennsylvania
Emory University
Fulbright U.S. Student in Biology – Russia, 2012-2013
KFomalont.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

In St. Petersburg, Russia, Kevin’s interest in the practice of science research across international boundaries brought him to the Physiology Department at the Institute of Experimental Medicine, the same laboratory where Ivan Pavlov conducted his famous conditioning experiments. He completed a collaborative project on early life infection and the development of behavioral dysfunctions related to mental illness with Dr. Zubareva, based on principles of brain-immune interaction elaborated by Sergey Metalnikov, a student of Pavlov. Kevin also founded LURIA, a company that aims to facilitate the creation of academic ties between science students in the United States and Eastern Europe. LURIA’s summer study abroad program called Pavlovian Petersburg, invites English-speaking undergraduate students to get hands-on laboratory experience in an historic setting, while also having the opportunity to explore St. Petersburg, the cultural capital of Russia. Kevin believes that undergraduates with an interest in science should have a more diverse selection of education abroad opportunities.

Lauren Gaydosh

Lauren Gaydosh

Current City: Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton University
Fulbright U.S. Student in Sociology – Tanzania, 2012-2013
LGaydosh.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

While on her Fulbright in Tanzania, Lauren examined the prevalence and consequences of parental absence in Rufiji District. In collaboration with the Ifakara Health Institute, Lauren used a combination of quantitative demographic and qualitative interview data to investigate how many children experience parental absence, and the consequences of alternative living arrangements on children’s health and education.  Lauren found that 35% of children live apart from their mothers and 45% live apart from their fathers at some point during childhood. Contrary to popular understandings of childhood vulnerability resulting from parental death, Lauren found that migration and marital dissolution are the most common reasons for parental absence. In addition to her research, Lauren volunteered with youth outreach programs through the U.S. Embassy. Lauren is currently a Ph.D. candidate in sociology and social policy at Princeton University.

Samuel Gordon

Samuel Gordon

Current City: Jupiter, Florida
Cornell University
Fulbright U.S. Student in Anthropology – Morocco, 2010-2011
SGordon.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

In Morocco, Samuel researched Sufi brotherhoods, folk rituals, superstition and sorcery as part of an investigation into the world of djinns. His work combined archived historical research as well as fieldwork and observation – dusty tomes and conversations with apothecaries, sheikhs, exorcists, and folk musicians were invaluable as he conducted his project under the guidance of Al Akhawayn University affiliate professors John Shoup and Eric Ross. To enhance his research, Samuel studied Modern Standard and Moroccan Colloquial Arabic at the Arabic Language Institute in Fez and Sacal-Fez. When he was not talking to soothsayers and researching the supernatural, Samuel was on the road exploring Morocco. He volunteered as a tutor and substitute teacher at the Amicitia K-12 school in Fes and did some travel writing for the Lonely Planet. Following his Fulbright, Samuel looked at female entrepreneurship and economic development in Jordanian refugee camps on a research grant through Cornell University and the Vital Voices Foundation. He is currently working as a travel and arts/culture writer while considering graduate school and future life choices.

Kia Hall

Kia Hall

Current City: Washington, DC
American University
Fulbright U.S. Student in International Relations – Honduras, 2011-2012
KHall.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

In Honduras, Kia conducted doctoral research in the country’s Afro-indigenous Garifuna community. Working with women who bake and sell cassava bread (or ereba, in the Garifuna language), she explored ereba as a focal point for understanding rural development. Ereba is at the heart of rural village life and can be used to understand political, economic, social and cultural development at the grassroots level. During her time in Honduras, Kia also partnered with a Garifuna businesswoman who buys ereba from villagers to make and sell flavored cassava chips, to develop a website for her organization, Wabagari. You can read about Kia’s ongoing engagement with the Garifuna community through research and fundraising at: http://www.erebairiona.org.

Diana Heise

Diana Hiese

Current City: Kansas City, Missouri
Vassar College
Fulbright U.S. Student in Performance Art – Mauritius, 2011-2012
DHeise.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

During her Fulbright grant in Mauritius in the Creative and Performing Arts, Diana focused her research on contemporary expressions of creative acts of resistance. This included post-colonial literary traditions, the lament music of African slaves known as Sega, and the history of the maroons at the UNESCO world heritage site, Le Morne. The resulting work on post-colonial literary traditions included the premiere of a video performance work entitled Dir Mwa, Dir Nou Kalibann (Tell Me, Tell Us Caliban) Written in English, French and Mauritian Kreol, this play weaves together the story of the slave Caliban from William Shakespeare (England), Aimé Césaire (Martinique) and Dev Virahsawmy's (Mauritius) versions of The Tempest, reminding us of the quest for a more humane and just society. Diana’s research on Sega has resulted in multiple collaborations with local musicians, historians and development organizations. With ABAIM, an organization that teaches children to play traditional Sega music, they are producing a multi-media project on the Ravann, the Mauritian drum. This includes a feature length documentary on the community coming together to produce a ravann in the traditional manner, the first book on learning to play the drum in an historically grounded manner and a film that outlines the different rhythms to assist in learning. Diana also produced a short film on the history of Mauritian instruments of African origin that has waned from use with renowned musician and historian Marclaine Antoine, protecting this knowledge from disappearance. Lastly, Diana’s Fulbright research also focused on the UNESCO site of Le Morne. Engrained in national memory as a site for Maroons or runaway slaves, Le Morne stands as a heroic symbol of the struggle for freedom from slavery. Through her visual and aural investigations, she is producing a ‘deep map’ of this site, which includes a film with the first Mauritian-born archeologist on the evacuation of the slave cemetery, a performance video on climbing the mountain, and a series of photographs from the site, reflecting on the interaction between history, memory and place. Diana Heise’s work has been exhibited in galleries and festivals internationally, including at the Brooklyn Museum, the Film Anthology Archives, Soho20 Chelsea Gallery, Des Moines Art Center and Institut Français de Maurice. In addition to her Fulbright grant, she is a recipient of a Franklin Furnace Performance Art Fund Grant and a Presidential Fellowship at the American University in Cairo.  She has spoken about her work at venues such as the Parsons School of Art and Design, Stanford University and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in photography, video and related media from the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY and a Bachelor’s in art history from Vassar College. Diana is currently an Assistant Professor of Photography and Digital Filmmaking at the Kansas City Art Institute. She lives and works in North Hero, Vermont and Kansas City, Missouri.

Arienne Jones

Arienne Jones

Current City: River Ridge, Louisiana
Spelman College
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant – Spain, 2012-2013
AJones.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

In Spain, Ari served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at I.E.S. Parque de Lisboa, a secondary bilingual institution located in Alcorcón, Madrid. At Parque de Lisboa, she taught a variety of topics in a wide range of classes, including detailed lessons on slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. Also, Ari helped facilitate Global Classrooms, a course for advanced students that encouraged the exploration of world issues through the Model United Nations.  When she was not working, Ari enjoyed volunteering by feeding the homeless, tutoring students in English, and participating in intercambios, or bilingual conversations. These experiences were invaluable in helping her appreciate and immerse herself in Spanish culture. Currently, Ari is a Juris Doctor candidate at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Cameron Kruse

Cameron Kruse

Current City: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Pepperdine University
Fulbright U.S. Student in Biology – India, 2012-2013
CKruse.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

While in Ahmedabad, India, Cameron studied interactions between the plant, Moringa oleifera, and the immune system. His research involved obtaining extracts from the plant’s seeds and conducting experiments on the effect of these extracts on compromised immune systems. The goal of the research was to identify whether the Moringa plant could be used in developing communities as an accessible herbal alternative to mainstream HIV treatment. He conducted his research in collaboration with L.M. College of Pharmacy. During his time in Ahmedabad, Cameron also played cricket, practiced yoga and volunteered with various human rights organizations. Cameron currently lives in Colorado and is seeking a job in personal genetics. Feel free to email Cameron or follow him on Twitter: @camkruse.
Rebecca Littman-Smith

Rebecca Littman-Smith

Current City: Portland, Oregon
University of Oregon
Fulbright U.S. Student in Architecture – Finland, 2010-2011
RLS.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

In Finland, Rebecca conducted research on the use of wood as a primary building material in Finnish Architecture. Rebecca sought to understand how timber has traditionally defined the image of Finland, both in nature and in the built environment. During her time in Helsinki, she was affiliated with Aalto University's Department of Architecture, and participated in the Wood Program. With her colleagues in the Wood Program, she designed and built a finished, full scale wooden transitional shelter: ‘Liina.’ This experimental shelter employed modern Finnish building techniques to address the need for refugee transitional housing as global disaster response becomes more common. Rebecca currently works for an architecture office in Portland, Oregon.

Alyssa Meyer

Alyssa Meyer

Current City: Bloomington, Indiana
Michigan State University
Fulbright U.S. Student in Energy – Kyrgyzstan, 2012-2013
AMeyer.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

Alyssa’s work with the Tian Shan Policy Center in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, was initially intended to make policy recommendations for improving the country’s energy sector based on cost-benefit analyses on regional imports, renewables, and hydroelectricity; however, unanticipated regional agreements on gas and hydroelectricity quickly changed the environment in which she was working. In spite finding that many of those involved in policy were hesitant to give interviews, she discovered inadvertently that citizens were enthusiastic about discussing their energy woes. What evolved was the groundwork for a study on the impact of energy insecurity on living conditions in Kyrgyzstan—a project that Alyssa is enthusiastically continuing in her current master’s studies at Indiana University-Bloomington as a dual MPA/MA candidate in sustainable development and Central Eurasian Studies. During her Fulbright year, Alyssa also enjoyed giving workshops on academic writing and research in English with the U.S. Embassy’s Office of Public Affairs and singing karaoke in Russian with friends.

MaSovaida Morgan

MaSovaida Morgan

Current City: Savannah, Georgia
At-Large, Georgia
Fulbright U.S. Student in Communications – United Kingdom, 2012-2013
MMorgan.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

As the 2012-2013 Fulbright-University of the Arts London Postgraduate Scholar, MaSovaida pursued a master’s degree in publishing at London College of Communication. With the goal of gaining insight into the culture of reading in the digital age, her master’s thesis focused on the effects of e-book interface design on reading habits and user comprehension, which involved examining the impact of burgeoning technology on how people consume and conceptualize stories. With a group of classmates, she co-founded, edited, and contributed to BRUTAL magazine, a film-inspired quarterly arts and literature journal. In addition to her studies in London, she volunteered part-time for the United Nations and was an editorial intern at Dorling Kindersly. MaSovaida currently works as a freelance editor and book designer in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia.

Mario Hoang Nguyen

Mario Hoang Nguyen

Current City: Plano, Texas
Western Kentucky University
Fulbright U.S. Student in Business – Mexico, 2012-2013
MNguyen.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

During his Fulbright grant in Mexico, Mario took MBA-level courses at El Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México while working with Ashoka Social Entrepreneurs, a global social entrepreneurship support and venture firm with offices in over 70 countries. As a Venture and Fellowship Coordinator, Mario sought, screened, and selected leading social enterprises throughout Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Belize for three-year investments. He also worked on international-brand marketing, promoting social entrepreneurship in higher education, and social enterprise consulting. In his free time, Mario was active in Mexico’s slam poetry scene where he was awarded the Penultimate Mexico City Slam Poetry Championship. He now works as a Multicultural Account Executive for Omnicom Media Group, the largest communications holding in the United States.

Carlos Rivas

Carlos Rivas

Current City: Chicago, Illinois
Claremont McKenna College
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant – Argentina, 2012-2013
CRivas.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

In Argentina, Carlos assistant taught English at the Autonomous University of Entre Rios in courses related to culture and history to students studying to become professors of English. Outside of his teaching responsibilities, Carlos gave presentations at various high schools and English institutes across the Entre Rios province to expose more students to American culture and help dispel stereotypes. He also held weekly conversation groups with interested students. Carlos presented to veteran English teachers at professional development workshops organized by the provincial education ministry and participated in the Argentina Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ARTESOL) conference. Currently, Carlos is the Director of Youth Programs for the Block Club Federation, a social service organization that provides out-of-school time programming to low-income youth in Chicago. In June 2014, Carlos will join Teach For America – Chicago and serve as a high school Spanish teacher while earning his master’s in education from Dominican University.

Kelly Rivera

Kelly Rivera

Current City: Bronx, New York
St. Johns University
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant – Malta, 2012-2013
KRivera.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

In Malta, Kelly was an English Teaching Assistant at an all girls’ secondary state school in Hamrun, as well as a Guest Lecturer of English, at the University of Malta. She worked with teachers on preparing English lessons, both for language and business communication development, and created projects and presentations that helped foster cultural awareness and understanding. Kelly also volunteered with two organizations: a New York City based non-profit, Reach the World, where she volunteered as a Travel Correspondent, sharing her experience with a third grade New York City public school classroom, and the North Malta Girl Guides, where she helped guide a troop of 30 girls, ages seven to 10 years old, on developing problem-solving and interpersonal skills through team building activities.  Kelly is currently an Alumni Relations Officer at Fordham University, in New York City, where she assists the Office of Alumni Relations in the development, preparation and execution of regional and international events focused on career development, cultural and social interests, as well as alumni/student outreach.

Alexa Schmidt

Alexa Schmidt

Current City: Portland, Oregon
At-Large, Vermont
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant – Bangladesh, 2011-2012
ASchmidt.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

In Bangladesh, Alexa assistant taught English at Agrani School and College, an all-girls Bengali-medium school in the capital city of Dhaka. While at Agrani, Alexa started an afterschool program focused on girls’ empowerment, communicative language practice, and building critical thinking skills. She also taught at a language center for underprivileged students from madrassas (Islamic schools).  Outside of the classroom, she researched climate change induced displacement amongst char-dwellers and pursued her interest in photography. Following her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, Alexa received her master’s degree in Comparative and International Education from the University of Oxford, where she focused on refugee students’ access to higher education after resettlement. She is currently developing and running an academic advising and tutoring program for refugee and immigrant students in Portland, Oregon.

Jacob Vidourek

Jacob Vidourek

Current City: Norman, Oklahoma
Tennessee Technological University
Fulbright U.S. Student in Musicology – Austria, 2010-2011
JVidourek.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

Jake Vidourek is a native of the Cincinnati, Ohio area, but graduated from Tennessee Technological University with his Bachelors of Music in oboe performance and pedagogy and bachelor’s in German in 2010. As a recipient of the Fulbright/AAEC Combined Grant to Austria, Jake spent the academic years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 in Vienna, where he lived, taught English, and worked on his research project, analyzing the construction and development of the Viennese Oboe. As part of his Fulbright grant, he presented parts of his research at the Altenmarkt Seminar and was lucky enough to perform in a Europe-wide collaboration of Fulbright musicians for the German Fulbright Commission’s annual conference in Berlin in 2011. Jake is currently working on his master's thesis about Michael Ende's "Die Unendliche Geschichte" and teaching Beginning German at the University of Oklahoma, in Norman.

Michael Young

Michael Young

Current City: Staten Island, New York
College of Staten Island
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant – Spain, 2011-2012
MYoung.AlumniAmbassador@fulbrightmail.org

In Spain, Michael worked as an English Teaching Assistant at the Instituto Clara Campoamor de Móstoles in Madrid, Spain. After 25 years of operation, the school started a bilingual program, and Michael arrived at the program's inception to assist in its design and implementation. He supported the teachers in English, visual arts, physical education, biology, and technology classes, ran conversation groups, and developed creative activities and initiatives for students. Michael renewed through the Comunidad de Madrid to stay for a second year at his school, where he furthered his work at Instituto Clara Campoamor. In addition to assistant teaching, Michael also acted in a Spanish play and started an English theater group. Michael now works as a designer and illustrator and is applying for teaching fellowships. 

I am a....

Current U.S. Student

United States citizens who are currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs are eligible to apply.  All applicants enrolled in U.S institutions must apply through their home campuses.  Find the Fulbright Program Adviser on your campus.

If you are an undergraduate student you would be eligible to apply in your senior year.  If you are a graduate student you are eligible to apply to most countries as long as you will not have a PhD degree on the application deadline.

Non-U.S. Student

If you are a non-U.S. citizen looking to applying for a Fulbright grant to study in the United States you will apply to the Fulbright Program for Foreign Students in your home country.

U.S. Citizen but not a Student

If you are a U.S. citizen, hold a bachelor’s degree, and do not have a PhD degree then you could be eligible for certain awards within the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  Please review the program summary for the country where you would like to apply.

Artist

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program welcomes applications in the creative and performing arts.  Arts candidates for the U.S. Student Program should have relatively limited professional experience in the fields (typically 5 years or less) in which they are applying.  Artists with more experience should consider applying for Fulbright Scholar Program.

FPA

Placeholder

U.S. Professor

If you are a U.S. citizen and a professor at a U.S. institution and are interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award you will need to apply through CIES.

Non U.S. Professor

If you are a non-U.S. citizen and a professor interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award to the United States you would need to apply through the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in your home country.  Find out more information on the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program.