Georgetown University is the second highest producer of U.S. Fulbright Student Program awardees for 2021-2022, the U.S. Department of State announced on February 28.
Over the past year, 26 Georgetown students and alumni were selected to participate in the Fulbright Program, the world’s largest international educational exchange program. Hoyas joined more than 1,900 U.S. students and early career professionals to teach English or conduct research in 17 countries around the globe, from Paraguay to Brunei.
A Legacy of Georgetown Fulbright Scholars
Georgetown was named a top producing institution for the Fulbright Program out of nearly 600 higher education institutions. For the past two years, Georgetown has been the No. 1 producer of U.S. Fulbright student awardees, and over the program’s 75 years, nearly 500 Hoyas have participated to help foster connections between countries and address complex global challenges.
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 26 awardees may not have been able to pursue their 2021-22 Fulbright opportunities.
“We are honored to have once again been named a Top Producing Fulbright institution,” says Lauren Tuckley, director of Georgetown’s Center for Research and Fellowships.
“Recognition for this achievement goes directly to our outstanding students and alumni who applied for a Fulbright on the belief that cultural exchange is fundamental to expanding mutual understanding and striving toward a more peaceful and tolerant world.”
Reimagining Patient Recovery in Switzerland
Peter DiGiovanni (C’21), one of this year’s Fulbright awardees, began working on an individually-designed research project in Geneva, Switzerland, in September 2021. He focuses on patients’ recovery from total hip replacement surgery – an increasingly common surgery worldwide.
DiGiovanni is evaluating 120 patients’ movements based on sensors they wear in the lab and in their homes to better understand their recovery rates and physical activity, aiming to improve surgery results, patient expectations and rehabilitation efforts.
“The results of this study could be quite profound worldwide as total hip arthroplasty is a common surgery that continues to trend in a more popular direction,” DiGiovanni says. “Mitigating health care costs across the medical community while improving patient care is something I am passionate about in my career pursuits as well.”
Passion for Patient Care
After completing his fellowship, DiGiovanni plans to explore a dual degree in medicine and business.
DiGionvanni grew up planning to become a veterinarian, but his path changed while studying abroad at Georgetown’s Villa Le Balze in Florence. He was helping a stranger pick up her belongings in the Piazza del Duomo when the city’s director of Misericordia di Firenze, Italy’s first volunteer ambulance service, asked him if he would like to volunteer on an ambulance.
He spent the night before his first day memorizing Italian dictionary terms – an experience that also fueled his academic interest in Italian – and continued to volunteer throughout his study abroad experience. The following summer, he was awarded Georgetown’s Royden B. Davis Fellowship, which helped fund his research in the Hand & Arm Service at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital. Coupled with his experiences competing on Georgetown’s varsity lightweight rowing team, DiGiovanni felt drawn toward a career in sports medicine. He wanted to help “patients achieve their maximal functional and performance capacities.”
DiGionvanni also majored in Italian as a pre-med student at Georgetown, where he served as president of the university’s Italian Club and a researcher at Georgetown’s Italian Research Institute. Upon applying to the Fulbright, DiGiovanni was eager to live abroad, explore research opportunities at the Geneva University Hospitals and apply his Italian language skills in Europe.
DiGiovanni, whose brother is also a Fulbright Scholar teaching English in Italy, has found that the Fulbright Program has already helped him launch his career, as he considers a dual degree in medicine and business.
“I am charting my path forward from here,” DiGiovanni says. “My dream for a long time has been to become a doctor but I am likewise interested in creating biotechnology and changing the world.So far, the Fulbright has been an incredible experience.”
Fulbright Dreams Finally Realized in the Philippines
Camille Bismonte (C’21) is also a Fulbright awardee who begins her fellowship in May.
After a year’s delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she will be based at the University of the Philippines Diliman and De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines, researching U.S.-Philippine relations and policies. During the program, she is also eager to better understand her Filipino roots and the language she grew up speaking.
“As a Filipino-American, I believe I bring a unique perspective in examining the U.S.-Philippine relationship through its strategic agreements. I hope the Fulbright will help me connect with my roots and build my network in the Southeast Asia space.”
–Camille Bismonte (C’21)
“I also think it would be really exciting to get in-depth and interview key stakeholders in the Philippines who have been key players in the U.S.-Philippine relationship!” she says.
Since graduating from Georgetown, Bismonte has been working at a strategic advisory firm founded by Former Secretary of State and Georgetown Professor Madeleine Albright, where she works on the group’s Southeast Asia portfolio.
Studying Foreign Policy in Indonesia
While at Georgetown, Bismonte received a Critical Language Scholarship to live abroad in Indonesia in the summer of 2018, where she studied the green GDP of Indonesia. The following year, she received the David L. Boren Scholarship, an award that provides funding for undergraduate students committed to enhancing their language skills, and studied in Indonesia her junior year. While there, she researched sustainable development and grassroot policies for one of the largest think tanks in Indonesia that specializes in foreign policy.
The experience cemented her interest in international affairs, which she hopes to build on with the Fulbright.
“My career goal is to be an economic officer in the foreign service, and I think bringing any form of international experience will supplement my previous experiences in Indonesia,” she says. “Everything I have done in the fellowship space at Georgetown is all because of the fantastic work of the GOFAR Office [Center for Research and Fellowships] at Georgetown. They are a fantastic resource.”