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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

St. Joe’s named Fulbright Top Producing Institution

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GRAPHIC: GABRIELLA GUZZARDO ’23/THE HAWK

St. Joe’s was recently named a Fulbright Top Producing Institution for U.S. students by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

This honor is awarded to universities that have a significant number of students who receive Fulbright grants, which provides funding from the U.S. Department of State for international research projects, English teaching positions and study abroad experiences.

Of the 14 student applicants from St. Joe’s who applied for a Fulbright scholarship last year, four were accepted, an acceptance rate that is higher than average. The four winners include Erin Doherty ’22, Adrianna DiVentura ’22, Madde Guerke ’21 and Cat Jones ’15.

Doherty was awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Galicia, Spain as part of the ETA program. In the 2021-2022 academic year, only 18% of applicants for the Spain English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) program were accepted, according to the program’s official statistics. 

“This year has been really fun and exciting,” Doherty said. “I’ve improved my Spanish and learned how to live in another country. So I’ve definitely grown a lot.”

Doherty had planned to study abroad while in college, but those plans were interrupted by the covid-19 pandemic. She said the Fulbright program presented an opportunity that might otherwise have been lost. 

“For me, I knew that I still wanted to have an experience abroad, and so applying to a fellowship like Fulbright would allow me to have that experience,” Doherty said.

DiVentura ’22, another recipient of the ETA grant, had thought about traveling before coming to St. Joe’s. She finally got the opportunity when she was also awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Spain.

“Ever since I was little, I wanted to go abroad, and in high school, I went to Costa Rica with my school twice,” DiVentura said. “That really sparked my passion for travel, and I wanted to keep that going, so I knew I wanted to travel somewhere predominantly Spanish speaking.”

Part of the success of applicants at St. Joe’s comes from the support that each student receives, DiVentura said. 

Mark Reynolds, Ph.D., director of the Office of Fellowships and associate professor in the chemistry department, is a chief part of that support. Reynolds has overseen Fulbright applications of St. Joe’s students for the past six years and said the national acceptance for Fulbright is approximately 15%. Even though he sees many applications from students and recent graduates, he noted that every application is different.

“A big part of my job is to help students find their fit. That’s what fellowships are, it’s a fit,” Reynolds said. “It’s not one size fits all.”

Each application is reviewed by a faculty Fulbright committee before the process begins. 

“There was a committee of professors that helped prepare my application and interview me and helped to make sure that my essays were the best they could be,” Doherty said.

DiVentura said she would recommend other students consider the Fulbright teaching position. 

“I think they offer amazing resources for people who do want to be teachers after they take this gap year, and even if people don’t want to be teachers after, just the friendships you make along the way, the cultural knowledge and experience that you gain from traveling, the connections you make while in Spain or anywhere you’re placed, everything is worthwhile,” DiVentura said.

The deadline for 2024-2025 Fulbright online applications is Sept. 15. Reynolds said all prospective applicants must meet with him first before applying.

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