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Susquehanna Seniors Awarded Prestigious Fulbrights

Published on May 9, 2013

Two Susquehanna University seniors, Holly Belkot and Bridget Burns, have been honored with Fulbright scholarships for 2013–14.Fulbrights The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, and is designed to increase understanding between the people of the United States and other countries.

Holly Belkot ’13 of Wexford, Pa., an international studies and history major, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grant to Macau, China.

“Applying for a Fulbright in Macau was a great way of using my language background, as well as fulfilling my desire to live and work in Asia,” she says. “I have a profound interest in exploring and experiencing other cultures and locations, and this seemed like a perfect way to continue my research, while at the same time gaining work experience and networking on an international collegiate and diplomatic level.”

Belkot has also been offered an opportunity to work as a Peace Corps volunteer within the organization’s Health Extension. “Regardless of which I choose, I am very excited for what my future entails,” she says. “I have been blessed with an amazing support structure in my family, mentors, professors and friends who have challenged and believed in me.”

Bridget Burns ’13 of Durham, N.H., an international studies major with a minor in philosophy, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct research in Mauritius, East Africa, working in partnership with Crysalid, a rehabilitative center that provides grassroots advocacy and job training for marginalized women in recovery.

“Working with a small but energized and very active NGO (nongovernmental organization) appealed to me as an opportunity to explore my interests in political and social change,” says Burns. “I am really interested, both personally and academically, in thinking about how democratic nations can create social and political change that creates opportunity for traditionally marginalized citizenry to thrive educationally and economically.”

Both students applied for the prestigious award at the urging of their mentor Associate Professor of History Catherine Cymone Fourshey, director of Susquehanna’s International Studies Program and faculty coordinator for postgraduate advising, with whom they studied for a semester abroad in The Gambia, West Africa.

“This is a great honor for Susquehanna University, a small liberal arts campus, to have two students garner Fulbright awards in a single year,” says Fourshey. “The university benefits greatly when the education opportunities we provide to students lead to incredible success such as an external fellowship or grant. The hard work the students put into these applications was supported by a host of faculty, and these awards are recognition that the faculty of Susquehanna are transforming students.”

The Fulbright Program, the largest U.S. exchange program, was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 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 awards approximately 7,500 new grants annually and currently operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

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