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Three bright Bulldogs

Fulbright Grants will allow alumni and faculty opportunities to make global impact

The Fulbright Program is the United States government's flagship international educational exchange initiative.

Drake’s 2011 Fulbright recipients are set to create a documentary film in Russia, teach English in Brazil and mentor graduate students at Uganda Martyrs University, among other notable pursuits.

This year’s two alumni grant recipients and faculty fellow add to the University’s success in placing students with esteemed Fulbright research and service opportunities abroad.

“Drake’s Fulbright Scholars represent the University’s interest in helping communities and society on a global scale,” says Eleanor Zeff, the Fulbright Program adviser at Drake. “Above the prestige of the program, our students make a difference in the lives of people.”

Projects take passions beyond borders

While projects span a variety of topics, the common thread between each is the grant recipient’s desire to make a positive impact on the lives of individuals worldwide. 

Bulldog Fulbright beneficiaries have studied and documented the Crimean Tatars’ memories of exile in the Ukraine, explored women’s health initiatives related to reproductive politics in Jordan and taught English in South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand. The two newest winners of the award are 2010 graduates Ellen Bastian and Rachel Shulruf, who will make an impact on communities in Russia and Brazil, respectively. Drake Associate Professor of Finance Jimmy Senteza was also awarded a Faculty Fellowship for work in Uganda.

The Fulbright Program, established in 1946, is the United States government’s flagship international educational exchange initiative. Designed to increase mutual understanding between people of the U.S. and people of other countries, the program awards grants to candidates based on high academic achievement, compelling project proposals and leadership potential.

Since 2004, the Fulbright Program has awarded 16 Drake University alumni Fulbright Grants, enabling Bulldogs to circle the globe in the pursuit of international citizenship, research and service. Drake averages approximately eight applicants and two award recipients every year.

2011 recipients achieve aspirations

Ellen Bastian

Bastian, JO’10, currently a production intern with Iowa Public Television, will use her grant to create a documentary film analyzing the impact of globalization on agricultural practices and the lives of peasant farmers in Russia.

She will spend a year shooting the documentary and studying geoecology in Orenburg, a hub of agribusiness located on the northern boundary of the Kazakh Steppe, a vast region of grasslands adjacent to Kazakhstan.

“Documentary filmmaking has been my professional aspiration since entering college,” says Bastian, who is originally from Belle Fourche, S.D. “The opportunity to not only do such work in Russia, but to choose my own research topic, is incredible.”

Rachel Shulruf

Shulruf, AS’10, originally from Buffalo Grove, Ill., will use her grant to teach English in Brazil for a year. Since January, she has taught English in Colombia through the WorldTeach program.

“Since English is largely the language of tourism, learning English can improve people’s quality of life,” Shulruf says. “I feel honored to have been selected for a Fulbright Grant, and I am grateful to all of the people at Drake who helped me with my application. I look forward to teaching in Brazil.”

Drake alumni, faculty well prepared for Fulbright Grant candidacy

Shulruf credited Drake with preparing her to teach abroad through the University’s international relations program and global citizenship initiatives.

“I received a multifaceted education at Drake, which has qualified me for this cross-cultural opportunity,” she says. “Studying sociology and international relations forced me to explore issues from various perspectives and enhanced my intercultural understanding.”

Bastian cites Drake’s emphasis on the value of multiculturalism as one of the University’s strong suits.

“Drake appealed to me because of its large population of foreign students and innovative language program,” Bastian says. “I am so grateful for the preparation I received at Drake.”

The Fulbright program has also named numerous Drake faculty members as Fulbright Fellows. Most recently, the program awarded Associate Professor of Finance Jimmy Senteza a fellowship to teach, conduct research and mentor graduate students at Uganda Martyrs University for the 2011-12 academic year.

— Stella Hart