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The Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs named Penn as a top producer of Fulbright Scholars for the 2023-2024 academic year. Credit: Chenyao Liu

Penn was named a "Top Producing Institution" of Fulbright Students from the United States by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

In 2023, 30 current students and recent alumni from Penn were offered an award to study, pursue research, or teach English in more than 20 countries. Among doctoral institutions, Georgetown University had the highest number of Fulbright U.S. Student grants at 40 for the 2023-2024 academic year, according to the Department of State.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, administered by the U.S. government, is an international educational exchange program to promote professional advancement and cross-cultural dialogue. Each year, around 8,000 students from the U.S. and other countries are selected to research a project of their choosing, pursue graduate study, or serve as an English teacher. Students must have completed their bachelor's degree before beginning their study abroad, which can be funded for up to 12 months. 

“The mission of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to foster mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through educational exchange is a vital component of the State Department’s efforts to strengthen international relations,” Jane Morris, the Executive Director of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, told Penn Today in the announcement. 

This year, Penn Fulbright Students include 2023 College graduate Allison Chou, 2019 College graduate Zach Hamdi, and 2023 College graduate Laila Shadid, who won grants to conduct research and teach English in Switzerland, Ecuador, and the West Bank-Palestine territories, respectively. The three recipients spoke with The Daily Pennsylvanian about their academic experience at Penn and hopes for their time abroad. 

The program was founded in 1946 and has since allowed for over 400,000 students to study in over 160 countries. In the 2010-2011 cycle, 13 students received grants. However, since four declined the fellowships due to personal reasons, Penn was not named a "top producer" in the cycle. In 2021-2022, 20 students received the grants, which increased to 27 in the following cycle. 

A virtual information session with representatives from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, CURF, and Fulbright alumni will take place on Mar. 26 at 4 p.m. The session will cover similar award opportunities for U.S. citizens, the Fulbright application, application tips, and a question-and-answer session.

“Penn’s Fulbright recipients for 2023-24 are serving as outstanding representatives of Penn and the U.S. to the world, and we are exceptionally proud of them," Morris told Penn Today.