Loyola top producer of Fulbright scholars


Photo credit: Loyola University New Orleans

Jillian Oddo

Hitting the mark for one of the most selective scholarships in the country, Loyola was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars and Students this year by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Loyola and Tulane are the only two colleges to receive this recognition in Louisiana. Not a stranger to the award, Loyola made the list during the 2015-2016 academic year, and nine Loyola students have received the Fulbright award invitation since.

The purpose of the Fulbright program is to increase understanding between the U.S. and other nations, to exchange knowledge and skills and to make real world connections.

Fulbright selects Americans eligible for scholarships to study, manage research or take their talents abroad. According to Loyola’s Interim Provost David Borofsky, the program only accepts a small percentage of students country-wide.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs said Loyola is among the top producers this year of Fulbright scholars in the country, and that is something to brag about, according to Borofsky.

“You see us with Harvard, Dartmouth and Tulane,” he said.“The Fulbright program is a testament to the quality of our own faculty and students,” Borofsky said. “Fulbright scholars are the best and the brightest around the country.”

Borofsky said producing Fulbright scholars reflects positively on the university.

“When we get recognized for having candidates for the Fulbright scholars, it elevates the image of the university and faculty,” said Borosky. “It shows this university has academic quality programs and faculty helping and challenging students to reach their academic goals.”

Five former Loyola students received offers for the Fulbright award for last year. Three of them accepted it, excited to have an opportunity to jump-start their careers.

Loyola alumni Natalie Jones, A’14, Mathew Holloway, A‘16 and Lauren Stroh, A ‘17 received the scholarship. They were all selected to participate in the Fulbright’s English teaching program, granting them the opportunity to research a project within their interests while teaching English abroad. The program provides 800 grants to students annually.

The Loyola Fulbright scholars abroad are working hard to represent Loyola. Jones, Holloway and Stroh currently teach English in Argentina, Panama and Venezuela, respectively.

Jones, who majored in both Spanish and theatre arts, said she will travel around Argentina to create a database of Argentinian accents that language researchers can use.

“If you think about it, accents are like wearing a hat or wearing a mask,” Jones said. “It’s a voice coming out of your mouth. It changes the way you are perceived.”

Holloway’s project, Open Spaces, engages students in Panama to discuss social issues, activism and what it means to be an ally.

Holloway said he wants to empower students by helping them learn how to support others and address issues affecting the global community.

In Venezuela, Stroh is working on her research project aimed at shining a light on local political graffiti artists, an art form she said is underrepresented. She wants to curate an exhibition to generate exposure.

“I want to expand scholarship and representation of this medium in the Western context and abroad,” Stroh said.