Meet Fulbright Recipients

Fulbright U.S. Student Recipients

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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 equipt 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

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