Yale among top producers of student Fulbright awards

Nearly 100 Yale students or alumni have won the prestigious honor in the past five years alone, including 32 in the 2020–21 cohort.
Fulbright logo.

Over the past decade, Yale has been among the most prolific institutions in producing recipients of the Fulbright U.S. Student award, the government’s flagship international exchange program. Nearly 100 Yale students or alumni have won the prestigious honor in the past five years alone.

And the number of recipients from Yale continues to rise: for 2020-21, 32 people from Yale were offered Fulbright awards, the fifth-highest number among U.S. research institutions, up 10 places from the prior cycle, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The 2020-2021 Yale recipients serve as English teaching assistants in nine different countries, including Mexico, Germany, and Indonesia. The Yale College students have also pursued a range of research and study projects, from photography in Iceland to the investigation of climate resilience in India. Though the COVID-19 pandemic prevented some grantees from carrying out their projects as planned, others were able to travel to their host countries or to delay the start of their grants.

A woman in an abandoned herring factory.
Sadie Cornette Cook (Silliman ’20), a Fulbright research grantee to Iceland for 2020-2021, is pictured here at an abandoned herring factory where she was snowed in while prepping for an art show. As part of her preparation, she repaired all the cracks in the walls with sugar and glass made of sugar.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has supported more than 400,000 participants, who are chosen based on academic merit and leadership potential. The award today supports travel to more than 160 countries to study, do research, or teach English.

 “We are extremely proud that so many Yalies were recognized in this competition, and we are delighted to see more students applying for Fulbright,” said Lindsay Lawton, the Fulbright Program adviser for Yale College.

This year, 123 Yale students and alumni applied for Fulbright awards, an increase of over 40% from the previous year. For Yale College students, the Fulbright competition is administered through the Office of Fellowships & Funding in the Center for International and Professional Experience. In addition, candidates also receive support from the dozens of staff and faculty members who write recommendations and serve on Fulbright committees each year.

The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences administers the application process for Yale students in the graduate and professional schools.

The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.

The program also awards grants to U.S. scholars, teachers, and faculty to conduct research and teach overseas. In addition, some 4,000 new foreign Fulbright students and scholars come to the United States annually to study for graduate degrees, conduct research, and teach foreign languages. For more information about the Fulbright program, visit the Fulbright U.S. Student Program website , or the Yale Fulbright page

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