Press Release

Vassar Named Top Producer of Fulbright Students

February 15, 2024, Poughkeepsie NY – The U.S. Department of State has recognized Vassar College for being one of the colleges and universities with the highest number of students selected for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Four students from Vassar were selected for Fulbright awards for academic year 2023-24. All of them will be teaching English abroad. They are: Malinda Marie Smith ’23 in Taiwan; Chase Bradley Estes ’22 in Germany; Emmett Michael Cashman ’23 in Kazakhstan; and Maya Slocum ’21 in Italy.

Smith is an English Language Teaching Assistant at an elementary school on the island of Kinmen, about 100 miles from Taiwan’s main island. “I never anticipated working with children or being a teacher, but I truly love my students and the greater Kinmen community,” Smith said. “I have been able to participate in local festivals, pottery classes, volunteering events, a host family program, and I have so much more to do and explore in my remaining time. Living abroad and working bilingually with my co-teachers and students of all ages has given me invaluable interpersonal skills. At its core, Fulbright is about building relationships with people from around the world, whether those people are local shop owners or Kinmenese first graders.” 

Estes, who is a teaching assistant in a primary school in Berlin, said he was enjoying his experience, teaching and exploring the country. “I’ve been learning about the different styles of teaching and curricula that are used here,” he said. “This Fulbright grant has given me a lot of useful insights to use when I return to teaching in the United States.”

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international academic exchange program. Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided over 400,000 talented and accomplished students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds with the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research abroad. Fulbrighters exchange ideas, build people-to-people connections, and work to address complex global challenges.

Stacy Bingham, Associate Dean of the College for Career Education and Interim Director of Fellowships, said Vassar was honored to be named a Fulbright Top Producer. “Vassar graduates are successful in every corner of the world, and so it comes as no surprise that their Vassar education has prepared them to serve as ambassadors for the highly prestigious Fulbright program,” Bingham said.

Applicants to Fulbright at Vassar are supported by Dean of Studies Thomas Porcello, who serves as Chair of the Fellowships Committee. “The committee seeks to make our students aware of the Fulbright program during their sophomore and junior year, so that they can begin developing applications in advance of their due date early in their senior years,” Porcello explained. “Committee members carefully review each proposal and provide constructive feedback to each in advance of the application submission deadline.”

Lee Satterfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, congratulated the Fulbright recipients. “Fulbright’s Top Producing Institutions represent the diversity of America’s higher education community. Dedicated administrators support students and scholars at these institutions to fulfill their potential and rise to address tomorrow’s global challenges,” Satterfield said.

Fulbright is a program of the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. Government. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program.

Fulbright alums work to make a positive impact on their communities and the world. Recipients have included 41 heads of state or government, 62 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 80 MacArthur Fellows, and countless leaders and changemakers who build mutual understanding between the people of the United State and the people of other countries. 

Visit the Fulbright Program website for more information.

About Vassar College

Vassar College, based in Poughkeepsie, NY, is a coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college where perspectives cross, ideas intersect, and passion burns bright. Originally founded to provide women an education equal to that once available only to men, Vassar was the first all-women’s college in the nation to become coeducational when it opened its doors to men in 1969. Vassar fosters an intellectual openness and independence in students, who meet each other as equals, and are encouraged to absorb diverse thought and impassioned dialogue that give them the insight and confidence they will need in a complex world where they will make important contributions. Consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country, Vassar is renowned for pioneering achievements in education, for its long history of curricular innovation, and for the beauty of its campus.

Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays–Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities can be found on the Accessibility and Educational Opportunity website. The Vassar campus is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Contact Larry Hertz,, (845) 518-3098, (845) 437-7938 (Vassar College)

February 15, 2024
Person standing on a balcony with metal railing with and overlook of a river and small mountain backdrop.
Malinda Marie Smith ’23
Person with long hair in front of an old marble building with classic columns.
Chase Bradley Estes ’22

PHOTO: Download high-resolution images from the Vassar College Media Relations Flickr site.