Seven Grinnell College seniors and one graduate have been awarded Fulbright grants to support international study, research, and teaching.

Since 2004, the U.S. Department of State has annually published a list of “top producing” Fulbright schools and Grinnell has consistently shown up on that list. For the 13th consecutive year, Grinnell College is on the U.S. Department of State's annual list of universities and colleges that produce the most Fulbright scholars and students each year.

Grinnell has been named to this list every year since it was first issued in 2004. Seven Grinnell students won Fulbrights for 2016-17 — more recipients than at any other bachelor's institution in Iowa, according to the Department of State. Grinnell also ranked 15th among the 35 bachelor's colleges listed as top producers nationwide.

“Grinnell students are an excellent fit for the Fulbright program," says Mark Peltz, Daniel and Patricia Jipp Finkelman Dean of Careers, Life and Service at Grinnell. "Given the seriousness of the academic work here, the international connections we make inside and outside of the classroom, and how globally engaged our students are, it’s not surprising that so many of our seniors and alumni are selected by the Fulbright Commission to continue learning and working abroad. This year’s group of Fulbright scholars reflect Grinnell’s commitment to academic excellence and to preparing students to make a difference in the world."

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then-Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Each year the Fulbright Program awards approximately 8,000 grants. Roughly 1,600 U.S. students, 4,000 foreign students, 1,200 U.S. scholars, and 900 visiting scholars receive awards, in addition to several hundred teachers and professionals. Approximately 370,000 "Fulbrighters" have participated in the program since its inception in 1946. The Fulbright Program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.

The 2017 seniors and one Grinnell graduate who have received and accepted Fulbright awards, their areas of focus, and the Grinnell faculty and staff who supported their applications are:

  • Lilianna Bagnoli ’15, an independent major from Grinnell, Iowa, received a study/research grant to India. Her research will focus on studying public data systems and their impact on economic development efforts in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Faculty who supported her application are Leif Brottem (political science) and Patrick Inglis (sociology).
  • Mollie Jo Blahunka ’17, an English major from Lake Bluff, Illinois, received an English teaching assistantship to Argentina. Faculty and staff who supported her application are Jean Ketter (education) and Ashley Schaefer (Careers, Life, and Service).
  • Kieran Connolly  ’17, a Russian and political science major from St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded an English teaching assistantship to Russia. Faculty members who supported his application are Kelly Herold (Russian), Edward Cohn, and Pablo Silva (history).
  • Samantha Fitzsimmons Schoenberger  ’17, a psychology major and neuroscience concentration from Los Angeles, California, received a study/research grant to Malaysia. In collaboration with a professor from the University of Malaya, she will be pioneering a mixed-methods study investigating the determinants of HIV and substance-use-related stigma and its associations with heath care and health outcomes. Ann Ellis (psychology) is the faculty member who supported her application.
  • Stella Gatzke  ’17, a Russian and English major from Harper Woods, Michigan, received an English teaching assistantship to Russia. Faculty members who supported her application are Kelly Herold and Todd Armstrong (Russian).
  • Caleigh Ryan  ’17, a political science and English major with a concentration in policy studies from Oak Park, Illinois, received an English teaching assistantship to Malaysia. Staff member Schaefer (Careers, Life, and Service), supported her application.
  • Ian Stout  ’17, a German and political science major from Danville, California, received an English teaching assistantship to Germany. Faculty member Vance Byrd (German) supported his application.
  • Sophie Wright  ’17, a Chinese and English major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received an English teaching assistantship to Taiwan. Faculty members who supported her application are Jin Feng (Chinese and Japanese) and Matthew Johnson (history).

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