UArizona Ranks Third Among Top Producers of Fulbright US Scholars

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The University of Arizona set a new high-water mark in the number of faculty and researchers awarded Fulbrights in 2020-21.

A total of 11 UArizona faculty members and researchers received Fulbright U.S. Scholar awards, besting the university's previous record of eight, set in 2018-19. That number placed the university at No. 3 nationally, behind Ohio State University (15) and the University of Michigan (12).

"This record-breaking number of Fulbright scholars at the University of Arizona reflects our commitment to teaching and research excellence," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "I am very proud of these terrific educators, researchers and scientists as they prepare to make an impact throughout the world."

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends American scholars and professionals abroad to lecture or conduct research for up to a year. Each year the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces the top-producing institutions for the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program. The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes the lists annually.

Below is a list of some of the Fulbright Scholar awardees, along with the nations in which they plan to conduct their research.

  • Susan Brewer-Osorio, assistant professor of Latin American studies, Colombia.
  • Eric Butcher, professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, India.
  • Megan A. Carney, assistant professor in the School of Anthropology and director of the Center for Regional Food Studies, Italy.
  • Christopher Hamilton, associate professor in the UArizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Iceland.
  • Sunggye Hong, associate professor of disability and psychoeducational studies, South Korea.
  • Anna Ochoa O'Leary, professor and head of the Department of Mexican American Studies, Mexico.
  • David Pietz, professor of Chinese history and director of the global studies program in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, China.
  • Joellen Russell, professor in the Department of Geosciences, New Zealand.
  • Chris Scott, professor of geography and regional development and director of the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and the UArizona Consortium for Arizona-Mexico Arid Environments, Argentina.
  • Kimberly Shea, assistant professor in the College of Nursing, Chile.

In response to recent program adaptations to prioritize the health, safety and well-being of participants and host communities, the 2020-21 Fulbright data reflect the total number of awards offered, rather than the number of awards accepted, as in past years. Some awardees may elect to postpone their travel to 2021-22.

Additionally, Melissa Fitch, a University Distinguished Professor of Spanish, was recently named a Fulbright Specialist. Under that program, Fitch will be eligible for up to three two- to eight-week international research trips over the next four years.

"The Fulbright Scholar Program is known the world over for attracting some of the best and brightest minds, with scholars going on to great achievements, including winning Nobel and Pulitzer prizes and becoming heads of state government," said Elizabeth "Betsy" Cantwell, senior vice president for research and innovation. "I am thrilled to see University of Arizona faculty and students recognized and supported by a program that is truly a pinnacle of research, education and expression that heightens cultural awareness and knowledge."

In addition to the university's status as a top producer of Fulbright Scholars, eight students at UArizona were awarded Fulbrights. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fellowships for graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to research, study or teach English abroad for one academic year.

This year's student awardees, their projects and the countries where they planned to pursue them are:

  • Renee Spellman, a doctoral student in Middle Eastern and North African studies, English Teaching Assistantship, Palestinian territories.
  • Benjamin Miller, a doctoral student in the Department of History and the Division for Late Medieval and Reformation Studies, study/research, Germany.
  • Allison Stuewe, a doctoral student in the School of Anthropology, study/research, Germany.
  • Benjamin Custer, a doctoral student in the Department of Communication, English Teaching Assistantship, Bulgaria.
  • Thatcher Warrick Hess, an undergraduate alumna of the Department of History, English Teaching Assistantship, Brazil.
  • Mia Carvalho Guimaraes, an undergraduate alumna of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the College of Public Health, English Teaching Assistantship, Spain.
  • Amber Laughing, an undergraduate in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, English Teaching Assistantship, Taiwan.
  • Megan Baker, a doctoral student in the Center for the Study of Higher Education, study/research, Chile.

Fulbright Week at UArizona will take place April 5-9.

"We are delighted to see that the colleges and universities we are honoring as 2020-2021 Fulbright Top Producing Institutions reflect the geographic and institutional diversity of higher education in the United States," said Mary Kirk, director of the Office of Academic Exchange Programs in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. "In supporting their faculty and administrators who pursue Fulbright awards, these institutions benefit from new viewpoints from abroad and new international collaborations, which often lead to discoveries and breakthroughs that have a global impact."

The Fulbright Program was created to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright is the world's largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program. Celebrations throughout the year will highlight the impressive accomplishments and legacy of the program and its alumni over its first 75 years, both in the United States and around the world. A dedicated 75th anniversary website will be updated throughout 2021 to showcase Fulbright alumni, partner countries, and anniversary events.

Fulbright is active in more than 160 countries worldwide and partners with participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States. For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit

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