Georgetown University ranked for the 2022-23 academic year as the top producer of students accepted to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the third time in the past five years, according to a Feb. 14 announcement by the Department of State.
Forty-nine Georgetown students from the undergraduate to doctoral level received acceptances to the Fulbright program for the 2022-23 academic year, which provides funding for U.S. students seeking to further their academic pursuits abroad through studying, teaching English or conducting research. The latest class of Georgetown Fulbright students are serving on six continents and in 31 countries.
Notable graduates of the program have gone on to become heads of state or government, Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel Prize recipients.
Shivum Bharill (COL ’17), a Fulbright scholar from the 2022-2023 cycle in Hamburg, Germany, and Paris, said prospective Fulbright applicants should approach the process with excitement.
“Let your enthusiasm for your work and the program come through in the application process,” Bharill wrote to The Hoya. “There’s a diversity of thought and experience that makes the environment electric.”
Georgetown students interested in applying for the award must first receive a nomination from the university’s Center for Research and Fellowships (CRF), which connects nominees with faculty and graduate mentors as students complete the various elements of the Fulbright application.
Myiah Smith (SFS ’20), a Fulbright English teaching assistant in Frankfurt, Germany, from the 2022-2023 cycle, said the program has enabled her to focus on achieving her international goals.
Smith also said the Fulbright program as a whole would benefit from increased efforts directed toward equity and inclusion.
“The program could stand to be a little more financially accessible,” Smith said. “Making sure the program is more accessible to people of color, people who come from diverse backgrounds and lower socioeconomic statuses.”
Just 6% of U.S. Fulbright scholar participants self-identified as Hispanic, and only 6% self-identified as Black or African American in the 2021-22 cohort, according to Fulbright data. The U.S. Fulbright Program outlines select diversity initiatives on its website, including the Fulbright Historically Black College and University Institutional Leaders Initiative.
Lavinia Clara Taumoepeau-Latu (GRD ’23), a Fulbright scholar conducting research in Tonga for its National Emergency Management Office during the 2022-23 academic year, said her inspiration to join the program was rooted in a long-standing desire to connect with her familial roots in the Pacific island nation.
“I had heard histories about my family in Tonga and it seemed to be a place that existed in my mind until I actually went to Tonga for the first time in 2011 on an internship,” Taumoepeau-Latu wrote to The Hoya. “I felt inside that I would someday return to do more work eventually but where I am at in my life, I knew only an opportunity like the Fulbright could make it possible.”
Taumoepeau-Latu said the program has allowed her to explore her identity in a unique and profound way.
“Being back in Tonga now as a Fulbright recipient to do this labour of love work, on a project that connects my world as an American citizen and my cultural heritage as a Tongan, is something quite special that has changed me forever,” Taumoepeau-Latu wrote.
Taumoepeau-Latu said the impact of the Fulbright program extends beyond her to her children and her family.
“I am grateful to Fulbright for allowing me to show my children and those I love, how important it is to always move forward in life, but if they are ever given the chance, pay homage to those who came before you and remember your roots,” Taumoepeau-Latu wrote.