Pitt a Top Producer of Fulbright Student Winners, Placing 12th Among U.S. Public Research Universities

Issue Date: 
November 8, 2010

The University of Pittsburgh is a top producer of Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant winners among research universities, placing 12th among U.S. public research universities and 27th among all U.S. universities, public and private. Of Pitt’s 34 applicants, 12 Pitt students—11 undergraduates and one graduate student—won Fulbrights, the most in Pitt’s history of competing for the award. The only research institution in Pennsylvania to receive more than nine Fulbright awards, Pitt also was among the top three U.S. public research institutions in the percentage of winners, with 35 percent of applicants receiving awards. Receiving 12 student awards, Pitt was tied with Georgetown, Ohio State, Maryland, and Minnesota.

The award is granted by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. More than 1,500 U.S. citizens are studying abroad for the 2010-11 academic year through the program. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

Pitt student Sara Cole earned one of the two Belgium English Teaching Assistant spots offered, and two other Pitt students, Nikolai Condee-Padunov and Allyson Tessin, were selected for two of the six placements available in Norway.

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

Cole, a 2008 graduate of the School of Arts and Sciences, earned a BA in English literature with minors in French and film. Cole, from Mechanicsburg, Pa., will serve as an English teaching assistant in Belgium.

Condee-Padunov, a 2010 graduate of the School of Arts and Sciences, earned his B Phil through Pitt’s Honors College in politics and philosophy with a history minor and a certificate in global studies. A Pittsburgh, Pa. native, Condee-Padunov will research the role of a donor state in giving foreign aid in Norway.

Molly Exten, a 2009 graduate of the School of Arts and Sciences, received a BA in history with a certificate in Russian and Eastern European Studies. From Mansfield, Ohio, Exten will serve as an English teaching assistant in Saratov, Russia.

Yelena Forrester Knezevic, a 2010 graduate of the School of Arts and Sciences, earned her BA in linguistics and anthropology with a certificate in medieval and Renaissance studies. She will study 21st- century cultural policies in Macedonia. Forrester Knezevic is from Swarthmore, Pa.

Tim Gallagher, a 2010 graduate of the Swanson School of Engineering and the School of Arts and Sciences, earned a BS in geology, civil engineering, and environmental engineering, as well as a BA in anthropology. Gallagher, who hails from Orchard Park, N.Y., will research the recent oxygen deficiency in the water of the Sill Fjords on the West Coast of Sweden.

Emily Pierson, a 2010 graduate of the School of Arts and Sciences from Doylestown, Pa., received a BS in biological sciences and a BA in environmental studies with a chemistry minor and a certificate in global studies. She will study ecology and the relationship between tourists and scientific institutions in Coyhaique, Chile.

Kevin Sheffield, a 2010 graduate of the School of Arts and Sciences from Aurora, Colo., earned a BA in politics and philosophy. Sheffield will study nonprofit coalition building and organizational management in Israel.

Marc Schutzbank, a 2010 graduate of the School of Arts and Sciences and the College of Business Administration, has a BA in politics and philosophy and a BS in finance. He will work on his master’s degree in food and land integrated studies in Vancouver, Canada. Schutzbank, who hails from from San Antonio, Texas, plans to research green roof urban agriculture as a way of relocating food production to cities.

Cory Tamler, a 2009 graduate of the School of Arts and Sciences from Pittsburgh, Pa., earned her B Phil in history and philosophy of science, physics and astronomy, and English writing through Pitt’s Honors College. She will conduct research on the relationship between text and performance in German theater in Berlin, Germany.

Allyson Tessin, a 2010 graduate of the School of Arts and Sciences from Hollidaysburg, Pa., earned her BS and B Phil in geology, as well as a BA in environmental studies and history. Tessin will research the Southern Hemisphere’s climate and its impact on the global thermo climate in Norway.

Kaley Walsh, a 2010 graduate of the School of Arts and Sciences from Beaver, Pa., earned her BA in Hispanic languages and literatures with minors in Portuguese and linguistics and a certificate in Latin American Studies. She will teach English as a second language in Brazil.

Ryan Durkopp (A&S, ’05), a graduate student in Pitt’s Department of Music, from Eugene, Ore., is working towards a PhD degree in ethnomusicology. Durkopp is currently studying how griots in Guinea negotiate the geopolitical landscape to perform and educate. Griots are musicians, poets, and oral historians who help contextualize the current state of affairs to the Guinean people.

According to the Fulbright Web site, 96 undergraduate and graduate students at Pitt have won Fulbright awards since 1993, which is when the database began.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the 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 abroad, thus contributing to finding solutions for 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 have received Pulitzer Prizes. Prominent Fulbright alumni include: Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient and managing director and founder of the 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; Metropolitan Opera soprano Renee Fleming; and renowned architect Daniel Libeskind.

Fulbright recipients are among more than 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. For more than 60 years, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has funded and supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education.