The Fulbright US Student Program, known as the Fulbright Scholarship, is an international college exchange program that has been established in 1946 and is sponsored by the United States government. It awards scholarships to students who fund up to 12 months of study, research or teaching abroad.
Each year, approximately 8,000 students from the United States and 160 countries around the world receive scholarships. Students must have obtained a bachelor’s degree before the start of their scholarship to be eligible for the program.
This year, Penn Fulbright students come from a variety of academic backgrounds, covering subjects such as medicine, political science and international affairs.
Aishwarya Balaji, a 2022 College graduate, is from Frankfort, Ky., and was awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct research at German Primate Center. She has a degree in psychology and a minor in chemistry.
Balaji said his undergraduate research and lab work influenced his decision to conduct research abroad.
“I began to hone my interests through these experiments and realized that I wanted to learn more about social dynamics in primates and the evolutionary mechanisms involved in primate cognition,” Balaji said.
Along with primate research, Balaji is excited to learn about a new culture and learn more about “what makes German culture unique and what they value in their culture.”
Sonali Deliwala, a 2022 College graduate, is from Yardley, Pennsylvania and plans to use her Fulbright scholarship to conduct research in India. Deliwala will focus on the economic development of marginalized communities in the state of Gujarat. She majored in political science and economics and minored in creative writing.
Deliwala explained how her classes at Penn, much of which focus on international development and South Asian studies, prepared her for research in Gujarat.
“The Fulbright represents the ability to get closer to my home country and gain first-hand experience of what is happening in India on the ground,” Deliwala added.
College 2022 graduate Luke Coleman is from Dayton, Ohio and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Spain. He majored in PPE and minor in Hispanic Studies as well as survey research and data analysis.
Coleman’s interest in public policy and educational equity came from his classes and experiences in student organizations at Penn. Coleman explained that he had the chance to teach middle school students virtually during the pandemic, deepening his passion for education.
As well as teaching, Coleman said he wanted to help with refugee aid and anti-homelessness policy in Spain. He shared that he chose the country because of the country’s colonialist heritage and his desire to work with Spanish in a European setting, as opposed to the Latin and South American forms of the language he is used to.
For Coleman, Fulbright means an “opportunity to allow students to see someone they might not see reflected in an educational space.”
Lilian Chen, a 2022 Wharton and Nursing graduate, is originally from San Jose, Calif., and received a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Taiwan. She specialized in nursing and health care management.
Chen found her passion for teaching through an internship at a Japanese education company, where she “taught English and writing to students both in America and China.”
“Teaching really lets you engage in the lives of your students and lets you be part of a different community in a different country,” Chen said.
Chen aims to be trilingual in Mandarin, Japanese and English as well as working as a pediatric nurse and getting involved in overseas medical missions.
Chen said she was thrilled “to inspire children, especially the younger generation, to learn a language not just for the future of your academic success and career, but because it allows you to meet so many new people… and to realize that the world is much bigger than yourself.