Portland State students win a record seven Fulbrights for international study
Author: Suzanne Pardington, University Communications
Posted: June 3, 2014

A record seven Portland State University students have been awarded Fulbright grants this year to study everything from how birds distribute seeds in Chile to environmental sustainability in Denmark. 

Some of them are among more than 6,000 graduates who will receive degrees at two commencement ceremonies on Sunday, June 15 at the Rose Quarter MODA Center. College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students will graduate at 10 a.m., and the 3:30 p.m. ceremony is for graduates of the professional schools and colleges. 

The seven awards mark an increase in interest, outreach and support at PSU for the competitive Fulbright international educational exchange program, sponsored by the U.S. Government. Last year, two PSU students received Fulbright grants; the previous record was six in 2011. 

“Congratulations are in order, not only to our Fulbright recipients, but also to our faculty and staff at PSU who have made it possible for our students to achieve these prestigious awards,” said Sona Andrews, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “We are proud of their work and accomplishments.”

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards about 1,900 grants each year to 140 countries for individually designed study and research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs. During their time abroad, Fulbright scholars work and live with the people of the host country to promote cultural exchange. 

Rabia Newton (pictured above) lived and studied in Russia in 2011 and sees the Fulbright English teaching program as the perfect way to return and improve her teaching and language skills. She graduated from PSU in summer 2013. 

“During my last stint in Russia, I lived in St. Petersburg, which is, of course, a glorious city with an amazingly unique history,” she said. “But it’s also very big and very westernized, so I’m looking forward to experiencing small town life in Russia. I think my cultural immersion will be greater, and I will learn more about the language, the country and its people.”

Dylan Waite (pictured right), who is graduating this summer with a master’s degree in sociology, plans to study racism, hate crimes and racial victimization in the United Kingdom. 

“Now that I have this opportunity I'm going to make the absolute most of it,” he said. “The faculty, university and city will all allow me the opportunity to study, first hand, the effect of rapid ethnic and racial demographic changes — a phenomena that affects people all over the globe.”

PSU’s 2014-15 student winners and research topics are:

  • Katherine Ball – Environmental Sustainability Initiatives of Denmark: a Research-based Art Installation
  • Matthew Chmielewski – Avian Zoochoroy of the sub-Antarctic Bryoflora of Chile
  • Rabia Newton – English Teaching Assistant with a project on culture and language acquisition in Russia
  • Jonathan Strand – English Teaching Assistant with a project on American Culture Clubs in Germany
  • Sharita Towne – English Teaching Assistant with a project on Brazilian youth-based audio-visual production
  • Dylan Waite – United Kingdom, Development of Personal and/or Social Racial Biases and Prejudicial Beliefs
  • Analesa Zimmerman – English Teaching Assistant with a project of student-based English theater production in Mexico

For full student profiles and photos, go to:

For more information about the Fulbright program, go to: