Pitt Is Again a Top Producer of Fulbright Grant Winners

Issue Date: 
November 21, 2011

For the second consecutive year, the University of Pittsburgh is a top producer of Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant winners among research universities, placing 7th among U.S. public research universities and 17th among all U.S. universities, public and private, outperforming its 2010 record, when it placed 12th among publics and 27th among all U.S. universities.

This year, of Pitt’s 38 applicants, 14 Pitt students—nine undergraduates and five graduate students—won Fulbrights, the most in Pitt’s history of competing for the award. Pitt also was among the top two U.S. research institutions in the percentage of winners, with 37 percent of applicants receiving awards; only Maryland scored higher, with 39 percent of applicants receiving awards. With its 14 student awards, Pitt was tied with Brown, Cornell, Princeton, Rutgers, and Penn; it scored higher, for instance, than Berkeley, Notre Dame, Emory, Wisconsin, Washington University in St. Louis, William and Mary, Duke, UCLA, and NYU. Among the other research institutions in the top 17 spots were Michigan, Northwestern, Yale, Stanford, Chicago, Washington, Columbia, Harvard, North Carolina, and Johns Hopkins.

The award is granted through the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. More than 1,600 U.S. citizens are traveling abroad for the 2011-12 academic year through the program. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership in their potential fields. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

Three Pitt students won Fulbright awards of special note. Izabel Galliera, a graduate student in Pitt’s Department of the History of Art and Architecture, received the only Bulgaria-Romania grant offered; Paulina Gonzales (A&S ’11) earned one of only two Malta English Teaching Assistant spots offered; and Karen Melis (A&S ’79, ENGR ’83) was selected for one of only two placements available in Slovakia.

In addition, Jonas Caballero, a 2010 College of General Studies (CGS) graduate, who earned his BPhil through Pitt’s Honors College, is the first CGS student to win a Fulbright award. He is studying in the United Kingdom (UK).

Of the approximately 600 applicants for the UK Fulbright—the largest pool of applicants for any country—only 38 were awarded.

A list of this year’s Pitt undergraduate recipients as well as their areas of study follows.

Sesi Aliu, a 2011 graduate of the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, received a BA in French and Africana studies with certificates in global studies and African studies. An Austin, Tex., native, Aliu is in France to research the political mobilization and activism of sub-Saharan African workers in France from 1960 onward.

Nick Apollo, a 2011 graduate of the Swanson School of Engineering, earned his BS in bioengineering with a minor in chemistry. Apollo, from Aliquippa, Pa., is studying retinal prosthetic implants for retinitis pigmentosa patients at Bionic Vision in Australia.

Joseph Baranoski, a 2011 graduate of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., received a BS in mathematics with a minor in German. Baranoski is researching cosmological fluid dynamic models at the Free University in Berlin.

Jonas Caballero, a 2010 College of General Studies and Honors College graduate, earned his BPhil through Pitt’s Honors College in international affairs and area studies and media and professional communications with a certificate in corporate and community relations. A Pittsburgh, Pa., native, Caballero is in the United Kingdom to research Britain’s involvement in Middle Eastern society and culture.

Jay Evick, a 2011 graduate of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, received a BA in Russian and linguistics with a certificate in Russian and Eastern European studies. From Waynesburg, Pa., Evick is serving as an English teaching assistant at the Tyumen State University of Oil and Gas in Tyumen, Russia.

Paulina Gonzales earned her BA in English literature and history with a minor in religious studies from the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. She is teaching English and serving as a mentor in an English-language teaching program for refugees who have been granted asylum in Malta. Gonzales is from Temecula, Calif.

Elise Hannon, a 2011 graduate of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, earned a BA in English literature with minors in German and Spanish. Hannon, from Westford, Mass., is teaching English at the Wolfgang-Borchert Oberschule in Berlin.

Karen Melis
received a BS in biological sciences from the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and a BS in chemical engineering from the Swanson School of Engineering. A Pittsburgh, Pa., native, Melis is studying Slovak emigration from 1870 to 1914 from a village perspective in Slovakia.

Claudia Taylor, a 2011 graduate of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, earned her BS in economics and a BA in Hispanic languages and literature with a Portuguese minor and a certificate in Latin American studies. From Christiansburg, Va., Taylor is taking business classes at the Instituto Tecnológico y Autónomo de Mexico and working full-time in a development program to preserve the Mesoamerican Reef in Mexico City.

A list of this year’s Pitt graduate recipients as well as their areas of study follows.

Greg de St. Maurice, a graduate student in Pitt’s Department of Anthropology in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, is working towards a PhD in cultural anthropology with a graduate certificate in Asian studies. A native of Latrobe, Pa., de St Maurice is studying people who are actively reinvigorating traditional food culture in Kyoto, Japan.

Izabel Galliera is a PhD candidate studying contemporary art and critical theory. From Stamford, Vt., Galliera is working in Bulgaria and Romania to research how socio-politically engaged and community-oriented contemporary art practices have contributed to the emergence of democratic forms of civil society and citizenship in the post-Communist transitional era.

Robert Gradoville Jr., a 2011 graduate of the Swanson School of Engineering, earned his MS in civil engineering with a concentration in sustainable engineering. From North Haven, Conn., Gradoville is analyzing the Energy, Infrastructure, and Basic Services program of the humanitarian aid organization Practical Action in Peru.

John Round, a 2011 graduate of the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and Swanson School of Engineering’s joint-degree program, earned an MBA/MS in bioengineering. Round, of Manchester, Mass., is examining the potential for an economic, biofuel-based energy system in India and researching the technologies that may contribute to it.

Chelsea Wentworth, a graduate student in Pitt’s Department of Anthropology in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, is working toward a PhD in anthropology with graduate certificates in Asian studies and women’s studies. She is researching how economic, environmental, and social factors affect mothers’ decision-making processes in making food choices and create pluralistic understandings of appropriate infant and child-feeding practices in Vanuatu, in the South Pacific. Wentworth is from Traverse City, Mich.

According to the Fulbright Web site, 122 graduate and undergraduate students at Pitt have won Fulbright awards since 1993, which is when the database began.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education and athletics. Forty Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 75 alumni received Pulitzer Prizes. Prominent Fulbright alumni include: Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient and managing director and founder of Grameen Bank; John Atta Mills, president of Ghana; Lee Evans, Olympic Gold Medalist; Ruth Simmons, president of Brown University; Riccardo Giacconi, physicist and 2002 Nobel Laureate; Amar Gopal Bose, chair and founder of Bose Corporation; Renee Fleming, Metropolitan Opera soprano; Gish Jen, writer; and renowned architect Daniel Libeskind.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education.