Georgetown produced more U.S. Fulbright student awardees for 2020-2021 than any other college or university in the country for the second year in a row.
“This is an extraordinary accomplishment for each of the Georgetown students who have been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship this year, and a wonderful collective achievement by our community,” says Georgetown President John J. DeGioia “We are enormously proud of these students and alumni for their hard work and deep commitment to academic excellence.”
At the Top Again
A total of 39 recent Georgetown alumni and students are among the more than 2,200 Fulbright recipients participating in individually designed study or research projects or teaching English in 26 different countries this year.
Last year, Georgetown hit the No. 1 slot for the first time with 45 student scholars before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The Fulbright data reflects the number of awardees this year instead of actual scholars who accepted the offers during the pandemic. Due to concerns about health, safety and well-being of participants and host communities, all 39 awardees may not have accepted their 2020-21 Fulbright opportunities.
Accepting the Fulbright
Ashley Lane (SFS’20), one of this year’s student awardees who accepted the Fulbright, arrived in Samarkand, Uzbekistan last month to teach English at School No. 37 and Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages. She also works about five hours per week at an after-school program for high school students and will remain in the Central Asian country through November.
Lane, who majored in science, technology and international affairs (STIA), became interested in Uzbekistan through studying Persian language and culture at Georgetown. Her interest in Central Asia began to further develop after she used her Critical Languages Scholarship to travel to Tajikistan in 2018.
“I decided to apply to Uzbekistan because it would give me the opportunity to learn another language or two and live and work in another country in Central Asia,” she explains.
The recent graduate is excited about her opportunity abroad, but the pandemic has presented some challenges.
“There was a lot of waiting and uncertainty. The final decision on our January departure wasn’t made until late fall, and there were still many challenges in preparation for leaving,” she says. “Due to mail delays, I actually didn’t receive my passport and visa until two days before my flight.”
Lane admits there was stress around the preparation for going abroad, but immersing herself in her language training seemed to help alleviate some of the pressures.
“I had the opportunity to take Uzbek language courses online through the American Councils Eurasian Regional Language Program,” the alumna says. “It was a wonderful experience and gaining these foundational language skills has helped me immensely in navigating daily life here.”
Supporting the Achievements
“This achievement is a testament to the extraordinary campus-wide support that we provide to students and alumni as they pursue these transformative opportunities and seek to make a difference in the world,” says Laura Perille, associate director in the Georgetown Center for Research and Fellowships. “Yet, it is also reflective of Georgetown’s Jesuit values of engaging the world and fostering mutual understanding – values which could not be more critical than at this contemporary moment.”
Georgetown has produced an impressive total of 468 U.S. Fulbright student awardees since the cultural-exchange program was first established in 1946.
“Our staff at our Center for Research and Fellowships do so much to support our young people in their applications each year,” DeGioia says, “and we’re very grateful for their many efforts to strengthen these opportunities for Georgetown students.”