UC Riverside Sees Record Number of Fulbright Semi-Finalists

Eleven UCR students have been recognized as semi-finalists for a Fulbright fellowship

Joselyn Soto is one of 11 UCR students who has been named a Fulbright semi-finalist.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) – The University of California, Riverside, Office of Undergraduate Education, and Graduate Division, announced that the Fulbright U.S. Student Program National Selection Committee has recognized 11 UCR students as semi-finalists for a Fulbright fellowship. This is a record for the university.

Fulbright is the leading international education exchange program. Each year, Fulbright funds nearly 2,000 U.S. citizens to teach, conduct research, and provide expertise abroad.

“We are very proud to have increased the number of students from our campus recognized by the Fulbright program,” said Cindy Larive, vice provost of undergraduate education. “This outstanding achievement reflects the academic excellence of UCR’s undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the dedicated faculty and staff who mentor them.”

The semi-finalists include four undergraduates, and seven graduate students. The UCR semi-finalists are as follows:

  1. Joselyn Soto, undergraduate student in cell, molecular, and developmental biology – Fulbright Research Award (Germany).
  2. Travis Wrightsman, undergraduate student in biochemistry – Fulbright Research Award (Germany).
  3. Zizhong Xiao, undergraduate student in psychology – Fulbright English Teaching Award (Malaysia).
  4. Brian Yang, undergraduate student in languages and literatures – Fulbright English Teaching Award (Russia).
  5. Tiffany Viggiano, graduate student in higher education administration – Fulbright Research Award (Finland).
  6. Corey Blake, graduate student in ethnomusicology – Fulbright Research Award (Panama).
  7. Andrea Decker, graduate student in ethnomusicology – Fulbright Research Award (Indonesia).
  8. Erin Gould, graduate student in anthropology – Fulbright Research Award (Morocco).
  9. Sean Matharoom, graduate student in comparative literature – Fulbright Research Award (Belgium).
  10. Christine Sahin, graduate student in critical dance studies – Fulbright Research Award (Egypt).
  11. Kevin Sliwoski, graduate student in ethnomusicology – Fulbright Research Award (Philippines).

“We’re proud of these students’ accomplishments as they are competing with the very best candidates from around the country,” said Gladis Herrera-Berkowitz, the director of Student Success Programs at the Office of Undergraduate Education. “The candidates began working on their applications as early as spring 2016, and participated in campus interviews in September. We should all join in congratulating these students.”

As semi-finalists, these candidates’ applications will be forwarded to their respective host countries for final selection.

“I applied for the Fulbright with the knowledge of its reputation and prestige. In addition to it being a wonderful source of funding for my dissertation fieldwork, the honor that comes with it is equally important for my academic trajectory. I am incredibly excited about the possibility of receiving a Fulbright to go to Panama for a year to do research,” semi-finalist Corey Blake said.

Corey Blake

Semi-finalist Joselyn Soto said she applied for a Fulbright because she wanted to experience science with a new and fresh perspective. “Little did I know that during the application process I would form strong connections with professionals abroad. Now, I have potential collaborators in my field of study,” Soto said.

UCR students who apply for Fulbright work closely with Herrera-Berkowitz, and Maggie Gover, director of graduate division to refine their applications.

“Gladis and Maggie in particular should also be recognized for their contributions to help students write competitive applications and prepare for their Fulbright interviews,” Larive said.

As UCR continues to build a culture of Fulbright successes, Gover and Herrera-Berkowitz ask professors and advisors to encourage promising students to consider applying for a Fulbright Teaching Award or Research Award. The recruitment process for the 2018-19 academic year will begin in spring 2017.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the leading international education exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries, according to the program’s website. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. The program, which awards approximately 8,000 new grants annually, was established in 1946 under legislation by Arkansas Sen. J. William Fulbright and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It operates in more than 150 countries.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-5893
E-mail: mojgan.sherkat@ucr.edu
Twitter: mojgansherkat

Additional Contacts

Gladis Herrera-Berkowitz
Tel: (951) 827-1010
E-mail: gladis.herrera-berkowitz@ucr.edu

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