CLAS graduate students Anderson, Frank, Green, Shyue named 2019-20 Fulbright Scholars

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Four graduate students studying in College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) departments have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants to conduct research, undertake creative projects, or serve as English teaching assistants abroad in 2019–20.

This year, the UI had the largest-ever number of applicants, with a total of 47 students completing the rigorous application and interview process. A record number of 32 semifinalists were selected to compete in the second round of the competition. Eleven CLAS undergraduates were also named Fulbright Scholars.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to increase understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries by providing participants the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

“The Fulbright awards provide life-changing opportunities for UI students, and this record-breaking year is a testament to the hard work of our talented students and the tremendous team of faculty and staff in International Programs that has prepared them compete successfully for these prestigious awards,” says Downing Thomas, associate provost and dean of International Programs, which oversees the university’s Fulbright programs.

The Fulbright competition is administered at the UI through International Programs under the guidance of Fulbright Program Advisor Karen Wachsmuth. Students interested in applying for the 2020–21 Fulbright competition should make an appointment to learn more about the application process.

“For this year’s 17 talented Fulbright awardees from the University of Iowa, Sen. William Fulbright’s vision of academic and cultural exchange in 1946 has become a reality,” Wachsmuth says. “After competing successfully in a field of more than 10,000 applicants nationally over the past year, four students have been selected to undertake arts projects, six students will do research or enroll in graduate programs in fields ranging from public health to translation, and seven students will serve as English teaching assistants abroad. They will represent the university, the state of Iowa, and the U.S. as superb citizen ambassadors, and will carry this badge of honor forward into their future professional lives.”

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

The CLAS graduate students selected for 2019-20 are:

Brittany AbndersonBrittany Anderson, of Sparta, Wisconsin, is a PhD candidate in anthropology. With her Fulbright Study/Research Award in anthropology to Sierra Leone, Anderson will examine how Ebola survivors navigate social, economic, and medical hardships through complex relationships with communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the government.


Alexa FrankAlexa Frank, of Irvington, New York, is expected to graduate from the UI in 2019 with an MFA in creative writing. With her Fulbright Study/Research Arts Award in creative writing to Japan, Frank will spend the year completing a novel that examines Japan and America’s relationship to mental illness. She will serve as a guest lecturer on contemporary American literature at Waseda University in Tokyo.


Charles GreenCharles Green, of Los Angeles, is expected to graduate from the UI in 2019 with an MFA in playwriting. With his Fulbright Study/Research Award in creative writing/playwriting to Germany, Green will research and write a theatrical text about the influence of immigrant Eastern European Yiddish theater troupes on local German Jewish performance artists in Berlin from 1918 to 1933.


Jennifer ShyueJennifer Shyue, of Brooklyn, New York, is expected to graduate from the UI in 2019 with an MFA in literary translation. With her Fulbright Study/Research Award in translation to Peru, Shyue will undertake Spanish-to-English translations of fiction by Julia Wong Kcomt, one of only a few Peruvian writers of Chinese descent. She hopes to expand the scope of U.S. scholarship on the Asian diaspora in the Americas.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa is a comprehensive college offering 73 majors in the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. More than 17,000 undergraduate and 1,900 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by professors at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all UI undergraduates through the General Education Program, and confers about 70 percent of the UI's bachelor's degrees each academic year.