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Sunday, September 24, 2023
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UW-Madison ranked third as a top university for producing Fulbright scholars

Eight UW-Madison faculty and students were awarded grants alongside research development opportunities in various nations abroad.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has been recognized by the Fulbright Scholars Program as a top-producing institution for scholars. The achievement acknowledges the extensive research done by both faculty and students and offers grants to build further upon their research ideals.

With the selection of seven faculty members and one graduate student from UW-Madison, the university tied for third place with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the highest number of awardees

The Fulbright Scholars Program is one that “provide[s] lecturing and research opportunities that open doors to collaboration and foster long-lasting connections” through the distribution of grants. This helps scholars benefit “their home and host institutions and countries.”

The main goal of the program — which is overseen at UW-Madison by Coordinator Mark Lilleleht — offers “more than 1,700 fellowships each year, enabling 800 U.S. scholars to go abroad.” 

Among those 800 scholars were several of UW-Madison’s own, each possessing a wide range of research topics and experience. Katarzyna Beilin, Andrea Hicks, Adam Kern, John Ohnesorge, Anne Pringle, Brittany St. John, Brittany Travers and Michel Wattiaux are the eight scholars nominated for a research grant through the Fulbright program. 

With the exception of St. John, who is a graduate student in UW-Madison’s Department of Kinesiology, the additional seven awardees are faculty members on campus. 

St. John, a selectee for the 2022-23 Fulbright program, highlighted how UW-Madison’s extensive emphasis on research development led her to become a Fulbright scholar. 

“UW-Madison, and the Waisman Center in particular, is an incredible research environment that I was privileged to be a part of,” St. John explained. “My experiences in interdisciplinary fellowships, leading research projects, mentoring students and collaborating to produce research are absolutely the reason I received a Fulbright and have set a solid foundation for my next step into an independent line of research.” 

The grants offered through Fulbright permit awardees to travel abroad, all in efforts to widen research opportunities and obtain a deeper connection with their host countries

Just among Madison recipients alone, grants have been allotted for travel to areas of Mexico, Ireland, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Australia, Spain and Canada. 

St. John, who has been residing in Australia through the Fulbright program, noted how she has “already connected with several research colleagues and identified ways to expand [her] ideas into an exciting line of independent research.”

The university offers many resources for students to learn more about the program and apply. Students can make appointments with UW-Madison Fulbright coordinator Mark Lilleleht, and also receive access to “personal statements from previous UW-Madison Fulbright recipients.” 

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St. John described the accessibility of these resources while going about her application process. 

“I met with a staff person to discuss options, and they recommended the scholars program for my specific goals,” said St. John. They also sent me examples of funded applications from UW for the student program. It was a helpful first step.”

St. John further discussed the opportunities presented to her as an award recipient through the Fulbright Program.

“Being a Fulbright Scholar carries a lot of weight when you are networking and making connections in the academic world,” St. John stated. “I have been welcomed into conversations with top researchers and have been able to easily coordinate community and department connections to support my work.” 

St. John also described how these connections continue to expand even after being abroad. 

“Fulbright facilitates those connections through their alumni communications once your appointment is ended as well,” St. John noted.

To learn more about the Fulbright Scholar program and grants, you can visit the program website at

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