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Three Drake students receive Fulbright Scholarships

Three Drake University students have been offered Fulbright Scholarships for 2014-2015. Seniors Nora Sullivan, Erin Hassanzadeh, and Nicole O’Connor, will join a lengthy list of Drake graduates who have received Fulbrights in recent years.

Eleanor Zeff, associate professor of politics and international relations, has been the Fulbright program adviser since 2003. She says the application process is incredibly time consuming, but the Fulbright experience is well worth it.

“It is always a pleasure and privilege to work with Drake’s Fulbright applicants,” says Zeff. “The application process is demanding, and these successful applicants have demonstrated their vision and dedication.”

The Fulbright Scholarship program is one of the most competitive postgraduate international exchange programs in the nation. Students who receive a Fulbright Scholarship are federally funded to spend one year of postgraduate study teaching or conducting research in a foreign country. The application process is extensive, and only a select few applicants receive grants. Historically, Drake University has been one of the top institutional producers of Fulbright Scholars in the category of master’s producing institutions.

Nora Sullivan, international relations and religion double major, will be teaching in Bulgaria. Erin Hassanzadeh, broadcast news and sociology double major, will be teaching in South Korea. Nicole O’Conner, elementary education major, will be teaching in Malaysia. This year’s recipients each come from a different college—the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the School of Education.

“The Fulbright application process is very competitive,” says Sullivan. Sullivan submitted her application and essays for review in October, but it was a few months before she learned she had made it through the first round of the process.

Her dream came true just recently when she was offered a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Bulgaria.

“I worked with Dr. Zeff a lot on the decision of where to apply,” says Sullivan. “Ultimately we decided that the Bulgarian program was somewhere I would find a lot of interesting and new challenges, which was what I was hoping for.”

This won’t be Sullivan’s first experience abroad. During the spring of her junior year she studied in Senegal on the west coast of Africa. She said that her experience in Senegal undoubtedly gave her a sense of what it means to be on her own, in a new place, and the challenges of having to navigate an environment that is considerably different than her own.

Visit www.fulbright.org to learn more about the Fulbright Scholarship Program.