ASU ranks among top Fulbright-producing universities

Over the past 10 years, ASU has produced 185 Fulbright scholars

ASU ranks among the top producers of students who receive the Fulbright Scholar Award, according to rankings released earlier this year. 

Over the past 10 years, the University has produced 185 Fulbright winners. There are 14 students participating in the program for 2017-18.

Established in 1946 by legislation from Arkansas senator and statesman J. William Fulbright, the program offers two study abroad grants, an English teaching  grant and an academic grant for research. Students typically spend a year choosing a country with the program they qualify for while working on the application process.

This year, ASU's Fulbright finalists could study in countries including Spain, France, the Netherlands, Thailand, Sweden, Indonesia, Mongolia and Estonia.

Current Sun Devil Fulbright scholars are scattered in countries ranging from India to Belgium to Albania. 

The program recognizes people who are socially embedded, supportive of inclusion and focused on solving problems, all of which are skills that ASU instills in students as a service-oriented and global university, said Kyle Mox, the associate dean of ASU's Office of National Scholarship Advisement.

Mox has been advising ASU Fulbright applicants for three years and said many Fulbright alumni consider the program to be one of the best experiences of their lives due to the challenge and opportunity it provides. 

"There is something intrinsic in human beings that we crave and want to seek novelty, and we want to travel and have an intense curiosity about other cultures," Mox said. "During this time in your early adulthood, it is the best time to do that."

Mox said the Fulbright Program is intended to also help make students more well rounded.

“Ideally, we want students to have appreciation and understanding of other cultures, solve problems, and build relationships outside their community and bring it back to the United States," Mox said. "Also, we hope they share their own ideas about culture and ways of thinking and doing with their host country and enhance the opinion the rest of the world has on the United States."

Candace Lewis was selected as a Fulbright scholar in 2015 while she was working on the last year of her doctorate in psychology at ASU.

Lewis studied in Switzerland for 10 months, where she decided to research the effect of psilocybin, the active compound in hallucinogenic mushrooms, on brain activity and behavior using neuroimaging on a living person.

Her work in Switzerland has helped her get published and learn how to use neuroimaging in her research. In addition, she has learned different languages through being submerged in different cultures — she's been to 15 countries in total. 

“The most important part about understanding the country you grow up in is that you will not truly understand your culture until you can compare it to another culture," Lewis said.

Elise Alonzi, a Fulbright scholar and graduate student studying anthropolgy, received her master’s degree from ASU in 2014, and will graduate in May with a doctorate.

Alonzi’s bachelor's degree in environmental science sparked her interest in ASU’s anthropology and bioarchaeology programs. Now, in her classes, Alonzi is studying archaeological chemistry to analyze human remains. 

In 2016, Alonzi was selected as a Fulbright scholar to do a research study in Ireland at the University College Cork. She still lives in the country. Alonzi’s research was a dissertation using archaeological chemistry to study medieval monasteries and their residents.

For 10 months, Alonzi took samples from individuals in Ireland and did her analysis in Arizona. The main parts of research were taking environmental samples from plants and humans.

Alonzi successfully defended her dissertation in March and is now working to graduate in May. She said she will continue to study archaeology and will apply to more post doctoral research positions.

“My dissertation would not have been possible without Fulbright," Alonzi said. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @masaihunter95 on Twitter. 

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