Meet Fulbright Recipients

Fulbright U.S. Student Recipients

For more information about the Fulbright Student program visit www.us.fulbrightonline.org or email clemansd@pdx.edu

Note: for information about PSU's Fulbright Faculty Scholar program and awardees, please go the "International Opportunities" page on our Educaton Abroad site.

2020-2021 Recipients

Alexandra Gritta - Morocco - English Teaching Assistantship

  Alexandra is a true native of Portland, born and raised. She treasures international travel and has cultivated a deep passion and appreciation of foreign languages and cultures. From childhood through young adulthood, Alexandra has spent extended amounts of time in China, England, France, Morocco, and Poland. She has studied a variety of languages, including Arabic, French, Mandarin Chinese, and Russian. She will receive her BA in Arabic from the PSU Honors College in Spring 2020, and has already completed her Teach English as a Second Language (TESL) certification. She was awarded the Honors College Editorial Fellowship with the Pacific Historical Review during her senior year at PSU, and formerly worked as an Education Abroad Peer Advisor for PSU's Office of International Affairs. Alexandra is the recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Fellowship to Morocco for the academic year 2020-2021.

Upon her return from Morocco, Alexandra would like to seek further teaching opportunities (perhaps in the virtual realm), as well as consider translation or humanitarian work. Her major goal is to find a job that engages her linguistic skills while connecting her with others across the globe, allowing for a variety of travel opportunities. Pursuing a Global MBA is also on her radar!
 

2019-2020 Recipients

Bryan Nguyen - Vietnam - Open Study/Research 

 Bryan received his Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from University of California – Santa Barbara, and then went on to study transportation and food systems planning after a career working in waste and stormwater management for several Southern California cities. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Urban and Regional Planning at Portland State University (PSU), as well as working as the Materials Assessment Project Manager for Community Environmental Services (CES) at PSU, helping clients around Portland improve their waste reduction efforts. As an aspiring urban planner with diverse interests, Bryan also currently interns with Metro’s Planning and Development department, and is a Graduate Research Assistant with the Portland Housing Bureau. Bryan will be graduating from his Masters program at Portland State University in June 2019. Over the past two summers, he has had the privilege to research dockless bikeshare and transit systems in Shenzhen, China, and study sustainable transportation in the Netherlands. These international experiences led him to apply for a Fulbright Research Fellowship in Vietnam, his parents’ native country. In Da Nang, Vietnam, recycling and materials management planning is an integral component of their sustainable development policies to become zero waste. During his fellowship in Da Nang, Bryan will work to integrate his CES experience and prior knowledge regarding waste management into the Vietnamese school institution context, to help The University of Da Nang achieve their goals to expand their campus sustainability program.
 
Chiara Nicastro - Spain - Fulbright Mentor (2nd Fulbright award!)
 
 Chiara  graduated from the Portland State University in 2017 where she
studied International Policy and Women Studies. She worked in both Pacific Northwest
and the California Bay Area before going to Spain on her First Fulbright award in August 2018-2019 as a Global Classrooms ETA in Madrid. As an ETA Spain, she worked directly in a high school and was the lead to the Global Classrooms project within the school. After a few months in Madrid, she knew she had to stay, so when the opportunity arose to become a Fulbright Mentor, she took it. For the 2019-2020 year, her role will change to ETA Mentor. She will work with all grantees placed in Madrid (ETAs, master’s candidates, and researchers), to provide general support and guidance, as well as to coordinate the Global Classrooms (Model UN) program run through the Comunidad de Madrid.
 

Austin Williams - France - English Teaching Assistantship

 Austin grew up in Alaska, where he developed a strong interest and appreciation for both nature and cultures different from his own. In the heart of Alaska, he learned to fish and snowboard – two hobbies he loves to do today. He also participated in workshops and projects involving several Native Alaskan tribes beginning in elementary school.  He moved to Portland to attend college while continuing to be close to nature. He received his BA in Applied Linguistics with a TESL certificate this winter and plans to continue to assistant teach while he prepares for his Fulbright ETA in France. While in France, he plans to create an American culture group that focuses on teaching strong intercultural skills while allowing students to improve their English conversation skills. 
 

Guyar Vial - Germany - English Teaching Assistantship

 Guyar, like everyone else living in Portland, grew up in California. His passion for German language and culture has developed since first taking a German course at the age of 11. A deep interest into central European history and continental philosophy has only compounded his desire to teach and learn more himself. Guyar graduated summa cum laude from Portland State University in 2018, with a B.A. in International Relations and a minor in Germanic Studies. He is the recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, where he plans to focus on the deep ties between the English and German languages as a vehicle for learning. Upon return to the US, Guyar hopes to find new ways of encouraging cross-cultural exchange and learning within the Western world.
 
Jacob Malstrom - Mexico - English Teaching Assistantship
 Jake Malstrom is a graduate student in the department of Applied Linguistics. In the process of completing his MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, he has served as a TA in the department of International and Global Studies. He credits many things to his success in acquiring a Fulbright: his work in International Student and Scholar Services; his TAship; his time studying abroad in Chile; his current academic program; and the many mentors at PSU who supported and encouraged him throughout his education. Jake says he is thrilled for the opportunity to work with and learn from others who have different worldviews and lived experiences.
 
Miles Strang - Greenland - English Teaching Assistantship
 

 After getting out the Air Force, Miles says he had no idea what to do. He tried his hand at a number of things, like flight school, being a truck driver, transportation management, and other things. He even completed moving back to his hometown in Humboldt County, California to become a farmer. Thankfully, while in the Air Force, he was fortunate enough to be stationed overseas, specifically in Kyrgyzstan and England. There, he developed a love for foreign language (mainly Russian) and learning about other cultures. Fast forward to 2017, when he transferred to PSU to finish his English degree, and that's when he learned about the Russian Flagship Program. The program helped fill the gap he'd been missing since separating from the military. It helped reignite his interest in foreign language and living abroad to a point where he decided to apply for the Fulbright program to be an ETA in Russia.

As a guy from the sparsely-populated, redwood-covered hollers of Northern California, where “finding success” is getting a job with health and retirement benefits, he was shocked to learn that he was selected as an alternate for Russia with the Fulbright program. Miles says: "This doesn’t happen to people from my hometown. I was further amazed when the folks at the Danish embassy contacted me and offered me an ETA position in Greenland. Sure, it was nowhere on my map of places that I wanted to go, but hey, so what? It’s a place that not many Fulbrighters have gone, with a unique culture. Plus, it has a lot of what I miss from home; namely the rural environment (population 55,000) full of beautiful landscapes. It should make for a great (albeit frigid) adventure, while also giving me some good experience in a field I want to work in (teaching English)". Lastly, having the opportunity to learn another new language (Danish), makes Miles very happy. From what he understands, he'll be only the second ETA to go to Greenland. It is a developing program, and he's proud to be a part of that. Miles will be working in the capital, Nuuk (population 17,000), with the Greenlandic Ministry of Education and Greenland University.

Seth Thomas - Jordan - English Teaching Assistantship
 
 Seth studied Arabic and the Middle East at PSU out of a curiosity to better understand his formative childhood years in East Jerusalem. After graduating, he worked as a concierge before realizing his studies were far from over. From 2016-2018 he taught 5th grade English at Pioneers Baccalaureate School in Nablus, Palestine, and sketched many of the buildings and old men in cafes. Since early 2019 he has worked as a Homelessness Prevention Case Manager at Muslim Housing Services in Seattle. where he is grateful for the opportunity to use his Arabic to serve others. During his Fulbright in Jordan, Seth hopes to use urban sketching and comics as a way to connect with students and the local community outside the classroom.
 
 

2018-2019 Recipients

Katie Conlon - Sri Lanka - Graduate Research Fellowship

 Katie credits growing up in the Pacific NW for three traits that have been formative for her life: a deep love for the environment, a curiosity to explore and ask questions, and not being deterred by inclement weather (both physically and metaphorically). Katie merges her passion for asking tough questions and working for environmental sustainability into her PhD focus: Plastic waste management in the Global South. The Fulbright Research Fellowship will allow Katie to complete her PhD fieldwork, which focuses on the case study of the interlinking social factors that contribute to the plastic waste situation in Colombo Sri Lanka, one of the hotspots for plastic waste in South Asia.

Katie began asking questions about plastic waste and development trajectories as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa (2005-07; and also a PC Response Volunteer in Guinea 2010-11). What does long-term sustainability mean for a community? How can we change the development discourse to favor social and environmental balance? How can communities in far corners of the globe maintain their culture and environment in the face of development pressures? These questions led her to work and volunteer over the past 15 years in such places as Nepal, Bhutan, Trinidad & Tobago, Vietnam, Honduras, Mexico, India, Hawaii, and Japan. Katie completed a Masters in International Peace Studies at Notre Dame, and a BA from the University of San Diego in International Communications and Peace & Justice Studies. 

Saumya Kini - Japan - Graduate Research Fellowship

 Saumya is a Portland native who fell in love with Japanese language at age 13. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oregon (with a minor in Japanese) and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning with a focus in urban design and environmental planning from Portland State University. She is deeply passionate about sustainability, environmental and social justice, and collaborative planning and visioning processes. While starting her career in the Portland urban design and planning community, she learned about local government issues in Japan as a staff member for the PSU Center for Public Service's annual training program for Japanese local government managers. This sparked her interest in learning more about community involvement in urban planning in Japan, and the role of university partnerships in facilitating deeper engagement. During her 2019 Fulbright Graduate Research Fellowship, Saumya will partner with Okayama University's Center AGORA to study community engagement in waterfront park planning and management. 
 
Chiara Nicastro - Spain - English Teaching Assistant
 
 Chiara was raised in Northern California in the small wine country town of Healdsburg. Her passion for the world, community involvement, and culture began in high school where she took Cultural Geography courses, joined the Model United Nations club, and volunteered for various non-profits focused on access to education including one serving the Dominican Republic. Her passion for culture and community-building only deepened at PSU, where she completed her undergraduate degree in International Studies with a minor in Women Studies. During her multidisciplinary studies at PSU Chiara challenged herself by studying abroad in Queretaro, Mexico and San Ramon, Costa Rica. While in San Ramon, she volunteered in a junior high school where she taught English as a Second Language, lived with a wonderful host family, and took classes in Spanish, environmental policy, and immigration policy. Upon Chiara’s return, her devotion to cross-cultural learning and education led her to volunteering in the Portland refugee community tutoring refugee children, and teaching through PSU's University Studies Program as a FRINQ Peer Mentor. During her final undergraduate year, Chiara was honored to join the Ronald E. McNair Scholar program at PSU and complete research on the experiences of refugee women in Portland.
 
During her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Madrid, she will work on a project to build cross-cultural relationships developing intercultural education programs in classrooms. Upon completing her Fulbright, Chiara plans to pursue her Master’s in International Development and Peace Policy. Chiara’s long term goal is to earn a Ph.D. and become a professor so she can educate and mentor students underrepresented in higher education and help them overcome obstacles just as she had to as a first generation student with learning disabilities.
 

2017-2018 Recipients

Megan Dale - Bulgaria - Research

Megan grew up in the suburbs of Seattle and discovered her passion for international service through volunteerism and travel. After traveling South and Central America for a year in order to organically learn Spanish, she realized her passion for International Development, and has focused her studies on the politics and cultures of the world in order to understand the different patterns of development and understand the tools which equip developing countries with the appropriate resources. Through volunteering at David Douglas High School with immigrant and refugee students for two years she realized education is my tool to share with developing countries. She has since networked and raised money for an educational non-profit in Indonesia which she will visit and work with before going to Bulgaria. She plans to return to school for a Masters degree in public service, education or immigrant services. 

Stephen McNabb - Colombia - English Teaching Assistant 

Stephen was born and raised in Portland where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and English with a minor in Publishing from PSU in 2015. He is currently finishing his Master of Arts in Spanish and writing a thesis related to Andean aesthetics in Peruvian literature. Stephen is the recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant fellowship where he will travel to Leticia, Colombia this August to investigate the role of cultural production within a multicultural and multinational border community in the heart of the Amazon. He will also work within the local community to develop publishing and translation opportunities for young Latin American authors. Once back in the U.S., Stephen plans to use his experience in Leticia to pursue his doctoral degree in Latin American literature with a focus on cultural production, Andean and Indigenous Studies, and the role of new media within minor literatures.

2016 - 2017 Recipients

Emily Lipski – Ecuador - Research - Assessing Mobility in Ecuadorian Amputees
Emily graduated from Portland State in 2013 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Spanish and Science. Since graduating, she lived and volunteered in Ecuador where she connected with Range of Motion Project (ROMP), a nonprofit/for-impact organization that provides prosthetic devices to individuals in developing nations who would not receive them otherwise. Her experience working with ROMP illuminated her interest in the dynamic world of orthotics and prosthetics. As a Fulbright researcher she will return to Ecuador to assess the mobility potential of Ecuadorian amputees and help improve the physical potential of this population through data collection and improved technologies. Her work will also contribute to enhanced funding opportunities for amputee research. Conducting research, building community and living in Ecuador energized Emily and left her yearning for more. Now, being granted the opportunity to return, she will further her understanding of the field, strengthen the available amputee research literature, and promote increased advocacy on behalf of disabled individuals.  She plans to pursue a graduate program to become a prosthetist in the academic year of 2017.

Flannery Mack - Latvia - English Teaching Assistant

Flannery grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her early experiences working with people across cultural boundaries through her family's involvement in refugee resettlement have blossomed into a lifelong passion for learning about and working with people from other cultures. Flannery is graduating from the Portland State Honors College this spring, with a B.A. in English and a minor in anthropology. She is the recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Latvia, where she plans to focus on creative uses and expressions of language, drawing on her knowledge of literature, poetry, and drama to provide content-based instruction to English learners. Upon her return, she hopes to get a Masters in Public Health. She looks forward to continuing to work with refugee communities in the United States.
 

2015-2016 Recipients

Christopher Hascall – South Korea - English Teaching Assistant with a project on American Culture Clubs

Heather Johnson - Turkey - English Teaching Assistant

Sarah Keeney – Colombia -English Teaching Assistant with a project in community-based environmental conservation

Michael H. Myers - Indonesia - Research: Forest Livelihoods and Conservation Initiatives in Borneo

Garry Sotnik – Ukraine - Research into forest use and management practices in the Carpathian Mountains

2014- 2015 Recipients 

Katherine Ball, Denmark - Research Project Title: Environmental Sustainability Initiatives of Denmark: A Research-Based Art Installation

Matthew Chmeilewski - Chile - Research Project Title: Avian Zoochoroy of the sub-Antarctic Bryoflora of Chile

Rabia Newton, Russia - English Teaching Assistant, with side projects of leading an English conversation club and Russian language study

Jonathan Strand - Germany - English Teaching Assistant, with a side project of leading an American culture club

Sharita Towne - Brazil - English Teaching Assistant, and side project leading a group of Brazilian youth in the production of an audiovisual art-based project on cultural identity.

Dylan Waite - United Kingdom - Research: Development of Personal and/or Social Racial Biases and Prejudicial Beliefs. 

Analesa Zimmerman, Mexico - English Teaching Assistant, with a side project of leading a small-scale English-language student theater production.

2013-2014 Recipients

Michael Bonham, Brazil - English Teaching Assistant with a project on American Culture Social Clubs

Genevieve Hudson - The Netherlands - Creative Writing, Contemporary Adaptations of Dutch Fairy Tales

2012-2013 Recipients

Mandy Elder - Mexico - Research: Young women’s educational experiences

Andrea Gorman - Serbia - English Teaching Assistant

Rebecca Haley - Spain - English Teaching Assistant

Olivia Kulander - Indonesia - Researcher – Biogeography and acoustics of the eastern tarsier

Cyan Solis-Sichel - Ecuador - English Teaching Assistant

2011-2012 Recipients

Erica Charves - United Arab Emirates - Women’s Participation & Leadership in Emirati Urban Planning & Sustainability

Sandra Derrick - Azerbaijan - English Teaching Assistant with a project on Muslim Women Voices

Samuel N. McLain-Jesperson - Morocco - English Teaching Assistant with a project on hip hop in North African youth culture

Nick O’Gara - Turkey - English Teaching Assistant with a community project on interfacing with local culture through music

Julia Ruppell - Laos - Ecology of Crested Gibbons (primate research)

Sarah Taylor - Germany - English Teaching Assistant, with Projects on German K-12 Educational System & American Culture Clubs

2010-2011 Recipients

Jean-Paul Zagarola - Chile - A Community-based, Eco-system Services Approach to Watershed Management and Conservation

Robin Pipkin - Croatia - English Teaching Assistant

For information on Fulbright Faculty Scholar Recipients, please go to https://www.pdx.edu/ed-abroad/fulbright-opportunities-for-faculty-and-scholars