Vassar Remains a Top Fulbright Producer
The U.S. Department of State has cited Vassar College for its performance in producing Fulbright Scholars for the 2022–23 academic year. The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs awarded the College its Fulbright Top Producing Institution designation for the 15th time since 2008.
This recognition is given to the U.S. colleges and universities that received the highest number of applicants selected for the 2022–23 Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Nine students from Vassar were selected for Fulbright awards for academic year 2022–2023.
Vassar President Elizabeth H. Bradley said the College was honored to receive this recognition. “Being named a Fulbright Top Producing Institution is a tribute not only to our recipients but also to our faculty and to Lisa Kooperman and her team in the Dean of Studies’ Office of Fellowships and Pre-Health Advising for helping our students apply for this prestigious academic opportunity,” President Bradley said.
Fulbright is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. It is also among the most diverse and largest of exchange programs in the world. Since its inception in 1946, more than 400,000 participants from all backgrounds and fields—including recent university graduates, teachers, scientists, researchers, artists, and others, from the United States and over 160 other countries—have participated in the Fulbright Program.
“On behalf of President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken, congratulations to the colleges and universities recognized as 2022–2023 Fulbright Top Producing Institutions, and to all the applicants who were selected for the Fulbright Program this year,” said Lee Satterfield, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. “Thanks to the visionary leadership of these institutions, administrators, and advisors, a new generation of Fulbrighters—changemakers, as I like to say—will catalyze lasting impact on their campus[es], in their communities, and around the world.”
Antonella DeCicci ’20 said their tenure as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Mondragone, a small village in Italy, had helped them find their current career path. The Fulbright experience was postponed for nearly two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and backup career plans were dashed by resulting hiring freezes. From May 2020 through October 2021, DeCicci had four overlapping part-time jobs, while also pursuing a graduate certificate and volunteering in local politics.
“Upon my arrival in Mondragone I went, literally overnight, from working and studying 80-plus hours a week to teaching for 15 hours [per week] in a rural village, while encountering countless barriers to involvement with external commitments,” DeCicci said. “I was forced to slow down, to reflect deeply, to reconnect with myself and my pre-COVID ambitions. Fulbright gave me a cocoon within which I could re-establish my career goals outside of the frenetic and scarcity-driven mindset necessary to navigate the early pandemic as a recent grad.”
Following their Fulbright experience, DeCicci landed a job at Project Democracy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for equitable election laws and other aspects of a working democracy.
The Fulbright Program was established to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. While the primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by U.S. Congress, it benefits from additional support from foreign partner governments, nongovernmental organizations, private organizations, corporate partnerships, and individual donors. U.S. and foreign host institutions provide support as well.