Karen Williams

Five students and recent alumni at Drake University received Fulbright awards for the 2019–2020 academic year, setting a new University record for the number of recipients.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is an international educational exchange program that offers finalists a federally funded grant and the opportunity to spend a year researching, studying, or teaching abroad.

“We are so proud of our five Fulbright finalists who have been chosen from among the country’s top candidates for this prestigious international scholarship,” said Karen Leroux, associate professor of history and the University’s coordinator for post-graduate scholarships. “Drake’s unprecedented number of Fulbright recipients reflects the University’s excellent academic programs and the unique learning experiences it affords to students, globally and locally.” Drake has been recognized as a top institutional producer of Fulbright recipients. The University has produced 40 Fulbright Students since 2000.

This year’s Fulbright finalists from Drake include:

Ashley Blazek, JO ‘19, English teaching assistantship in Malaysia
Emma Muth, AS ‘19, English teaching assistantship in Indonesia
Hallie O’Neill, AS ‘19, English teaching assistantship in the Czech Republic
Karen Williams, School of Education doctoral candidate, study/research grant at Ghent University in Belgium
Renee Kumon, AS ’15, English teaching assistantship in South Korea

Emma Muth
Pictured: Emma Muth

Alternates include:
Elena Hildebrandt, AS, BN ‘19, English teaching assistantship in Malaysia
Kelanie Crosswait, AS ‘19, English teaching assistantship in the Palestinian Territories


Allyson Miller, AS ’19, another Fulbright semi-finalist, accepted an offer from the Peace Corps. She will be working in Guatemala.


Fulbright recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated service and leadership potential in their fields. According to Leroux, the Fulbright application process is extensive, and many of the candidates began working on their applications nearly a year in advance.


“I am thankful to the faculty and staff at Ghent University for their willingness to work with me on my proposal, as well as to the U.S. Department of State for funding such amazing opportunities,” said Karen Williams, School of Education doctoral candidate.

Karen Williams
Pictured: Karen Williams

“I am also grateful to Dr. Leroux and the Drake International office for offering such valuable feedback and support with my Fulbright application, and to Drake University faculty for providing exceptional learning experiences. The Fulbright experience has already been so enriching, and it has barely just begun.”


Drake University congratulates all of its Fulbright Students. For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit http://eca.state.gov/fulbright.