Seven William & Mary alumni were selected to receive Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards for the 2020-21 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
Arianna Afsari ’19, Emmaleah Jones ’17, Grace Kier ‘20, Sabrina Mayor ’18, Jack Shangraw ’20, Catherine Tyson ’20 and Henry Young ’20 were announced as winners of the prominent awards, and Catherine Green ’20, Laura Schwartz ’20, Alaina Shreves ’18 and Lauren Zane ’20 were named as alternates.
The seven alumni are among more than 2,100 U.S. citizens who received the award in 2020. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides students the funding they need to study, research and teach abroad. Fulbright is the flagship educational exchange program that is sponsored by the U.S. government, according to the State Department’s website.
Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields, according to a press release from the U.S. State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which oversees the Fulbright program.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered at W&M through the Roy R. Charles Center for Academic Excellence.
“William & Mary's consistent production of Fulbright U.S. Students is a testament to its ongoing commitment to providing undergraduates with outstanding opportunities in international education and undergraduate research,” Director of National Scholarship Lindsey Love said.
Afsari, a Russian and Post-Soviet studies and Hispanic studies double major from McLean, Virginia, will serve as an English teaching assistant in Russia. She plans to apply for a Ph.D. program in Russian and Slavic studies when she returns to the U.S.
Afsari, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, actively participated in study abroad programs in Seville, Spain (2016-17); St. Petersburg, Russia (2017); and Vladimir, Russia (2018), and was the head editor of W&M’s Russian language newspaper, “Gazeta,” in the fall of 2018.
Jones, from Warrenton, Virginia, graduated in spring 2017 in a self-designed major of biocultural anthropology. She will conduct research on urban morphology in the context of disaster response and systemic resilience in Santiago, Chile, and plans to get her master’s in urban/regional planning and design.
While at W&M, Jones did research in Semarang, Indonesia, and studied abroad in Seville, Spain.
Mayor, a 2018 graduate from Miami, majored in international relations and self-designed Latin American security. She will study at the National University of La Plata in Argentina while researching how disability policy implementation varies among Argentine cities and the role of disabled persons’ organizations in its enactment. After that, she plans to attend law school to study disability law.
At W&M, Mayor served as program assistant with the Sharpe Community Scholars Program, was a senior research assistant for the Project on International Peace and Security (PIPS) and was a member of the Student Accessibility Services’ Student Advisory Committee.
Shangraw, an international relations major from Sterling, Virginia, will research the relationship between local democracy and tourism in Nepal. During his time at W&M, Shangraw worked as a research intern for the AidData and PIPS projects under the Global Research Institute and was awarded a Freeman Fellowship to do a summer internship in Mongolia in 2018.
Shangraw was also a member of SOMOS, a student research group and partnership with a community in the Dominican Republic focusing on public health and sustainable development.
Tyson, a chemistry major and Russian languages and literature minor, will head to Russia to research how memories and family experiences shape its natives’ attitudes towards war. The Tazewell County, Virginia, native is undecided on her post-Fulbright plans, but she is planning to go to graduate school in either the United States or Russia.
At W&M, Tyson was awarded the Modern Languages Excellence Award for a graduating senior, and she was inducted this spring as a member of Dobro Slovo, the National Slavic Honor Society. She was a member of several student organizations, including the William & Mary Rowing Club, the Passing Notes a cappella group and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Kier and Young said they were honored to receive Fulbright awards, but they plan to pursue other post-graduate opportunities.
Prospective applicants at W&M can learn more by visiting the Scholarship Central webpage and by meeting with a Peer Scholarship Advisor in the fall. Students who will be freshmen, sophomores or juniors in the 2020-21 academic year should plan to attend a Fulbright Friday focus-on session in the spring of 2021 before applying the following fall. Rising seniors should contact Love this summer to plan to participate in the campus interview process early in the fall.
Fulbright operates in more than 160 countries worldwide. More than 390,000 students have participated in the Fulbright Program since it was established in 1946. Sixty Fulbright alumni have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 88 have received Pulitzer Prizes and 37 have served as a head of state or government.
More information about Fulbright is provided at the program’s website.