Three Drake University students were recognized by the 2020–2021 Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Two students were named finalists while a third will be an alternate in what is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. A finalist is an applicant who was approved by the host country and offered a Fulbright U.S. Student Award and an alternate may be promoted to finalist status if additional funding becomes available.

Drake University has been recognized as a top institutional producer of Fulbright recipients in the past with more than 40 Fulbright students honored since 2000.

The Fulbright program is one of the most competitive international exchange programs in the nation. The program provides funds for students to teach or take part in research projects overseas.

Drake University students recognized by the program are as follows:

  • Madelyn Bjork, finalist for an English teaching assistantship in Bulgaria. Madelyn earned a Bachelor of Arts in Law, Politics, and Society as well as Rhetoric, Media, and Social Change.
  • Margaret Nervig, finalist for an English teaching assistantship in Slovakia. Margaret earned a Master of Arts in Teaching with an endorsement in secondary social studies.
  • Delaney Beier, alternate for a Fulbright-Schuman study/research grant covering the European Union in Belgium. Delaney earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and an MBA from Drake, as well as a JD from Drake Law School.

“We are extremely proud of Delaney, Madelyn, and Margaret’s accomplishments,” said Eleanor Zeff, Drake University’s coordinator for post-graduate scholarships. “To be named a Fulbright finalist or alternate is a tremendous honor that underscores Drake’s commitment to providing an exceptional learning environment with global citizenship at its core.”

Drake’s Fulbright applicants this fall were diverse, according to Zeff, both in their backgrounds and their relative programs and degrees.

“All of Drake’s six colleges and schools were represented this application cycle,” said Zeff. “We are pleased with the quality and diversity of submissions, and proud of our faculty and staff who are strongly focused on student success and continue to mentor applicants through the rigorous Fulbright process.”

The Fulbright application process is known to be extensive, and many candidates began working on their applications as early as last spring. The three Drake students have been recognized by the U.S. National Screening Committee as having the exceptional academic record, remarkable personal traits, and distinguished educational experiences the Fulbright committee looks for in potential award recipients.

Fulbright finalists will receive a federally funded grant and spend a year in their chosen country teaching English or conducting research. Due to the ongoing global pandemic, circumstances around Fulbright experiences may change as additional information becomes available.

Students interested in applying for the 2021–2022 program have until October to complete their application and should be in touch immediately with Associate Professor of Political Science and University Coordinator for Post-Graduate Opportunities Eleanor Zeff at

About the Fulbright Program:

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide. To learn more about application and selection process, visit the Fulbright website at