Virginia Tech has record-breaking year with Fulbright student awards

Virginia Tech has its largest cohort of Fulbright U.S. Student grant recipients in university history, with five students and two alumnae participating in projects during the 2019-20 academic year. Recipients will conduct research, study, or teach abroad.

“The Fulbright program has an impressive record of providing opportunities to high-caliber individuals, enabling them to make significant impact on communities around the world,” said Guru Ghosh, vice president for Outreach and International Affairs. “It’s exciting for Virginia Tech and for the Commonwealth of Virginia to witness a growing number of our students being recognized with this prestigious award.”

2019-20 Fulbright awardees

  • Libby Ebeling, of Richmond, Virginia, is a senior double majoring in public and urban affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and Spanish in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. She will serve as an English teaching assistant in Mexico. Ebeling plans to work with local artists and nonprofits to create a community mural. After her Fulbright experience, she wants to help Mexican immigrants living in the U.S.
  • Morgan Gallagher, of Corning, New York, is a senior double majoring in environmental science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and French in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Gallagher will conduct research and take graduate-level biology courses at the University of Lyon in France. Gallagher’s research will examine how greenhouse gas emissions from streams and rivers respond to wetting and drying cycles. She hopes to gather more data on how global warming may be permanently altering the natural carbon cycle.
  • Zachary Gould, of Hartford, Connecticut, is an environmental design and planning doctoral student in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. He will research energy consumption patterns of families living in homes connected to microgrids in Arusha, Tanzania. Microgrids are miniature versions of the electric grid. Gould hopes to design a microgrid system that will allow for energy autonomy in remote villages, paving the way for more efficient policies in Tanzania.
  • Leslie Jernegan, of Oregon, Wisconsin, is a master’s student in creative writing in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Jernegan will deliver workshops for students in Argentina. She will also work with aspiring second-language educators encouraging them to use reading, writing, and speaking as avenues of enhancing social awareness among their future students.
  • Casey Molina, of Leesburg, Virginia, is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Molina will work with children ages 3 through 12 as an English teaching assistant in the Canary Islands. She plans to emphasize lessons on environmental mindfulness and the growing impact of oceanic pollution. By engaging with children about the environment, she hopes to encourage the employment of critical thinking and cultural competence in finding solutions to global issues.

Fulbright advisor Betty Anderson credits the increase in successful placements to applicants starting the process early.

“The earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to refine your responses,” Anderson said. “The most successful applications are ones that clearly demonstrate why the program is a good fit and what benefit the award would present.” Anderson serves as the international initiatives coordinator in the Global Education Office, which administers Virginia Tech’s Fulbright program.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is sponsored by the U.S. government and designed to increase mutual understanding. The national deadline for the 2020-21 competition is Oct. 8. Potential applicants should contact the Global Education Office, part of Outreach and International Affairs.

Two alumnae grantees will be named in a later announcement after notification is given to their current employers.

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