Carnegie Mellon University
June 05, 2023

Fulbright Grantees To Embark on Adventures Abroad

By Kelly Saavedra

Peter Kerwin
  • Director of Media Relations, University Communications and Marketing
  • 412-268-1151

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program has awarded grants to six Carnegie Mellon University alumni to explore their educational interests abroad. Maegan Bogetti, Ian Daugherty, Eliza Hallinan and Francine Leung will be headed to Italy, Taiwan, Australia and the United Kingdom, respectively. Rachel Koenig and Joshua Pinckney are going to Spain. 

Proposing to spend an entire academic year studying, teaching or conducting research abroad is a grand undertaking. The application process for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, which takes up to a year to complete, involves reaching out to potential overseas affiliations, asking mentors to write recommendations, crafting compelling essays, interviewing, and incorporating feedback from expert faculty and staff. 

"The hardest part about applying for the Fulbright scholarship was the many waiting periods between different steps of the application process," said Leung, a 2023 mechanical engineering graduate whose dream is to use her knowledge of computer simulation technologies to improve equipment for athletes in a way that enhances both safety and performance. 

Leung attended a summer camp at the University of Oxford and knew she wanted to return to England for school at some point. This fall, she'll pursue a Ph.D. in sports biomechanics at Loughborough University, which is ranked No. 1 in the world for sports-related studies.

Hallinan's family emigrated from Australia, so Hallinan has always had a fascination with how multicultural upbringing influences the way people view the world. A 2023 graduate of the School of Drama, Hallinan will develop a podcast series interviewing people in Sydney about their experiences with immigration, the ways migration has shaped their perspectives and how multiculturalism manifests in storytelling. 

Bogetti, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in global studies and environmental and sustainability studies, is excited to reconnect with her Italian roots while she studies the waste dumping and incineration crisis in Naples. 

"Gaining an international, cross-cultural perspective on our shared environmental struggles and solutions as well as the ways we face different challenges and have different approaches to remediation will be an extremely valuable experience," she said.

Koenig, who earned a bachelor's degree in physics and Hispanic studies in 2023, and Pinckney, who received a bachelor's degree in international relations and Hispanic studies in 2021, will embark on teaching assistantships in Spain.

Pinckney said he hopes to augment the knowledge he gained working with health care clients with Spanish health care policy and practices to reimagine how Spain, the U.S. and others can collaborate to improve health outcomes in developing nations.

"I wanted a seat at the table with the next generation of young Spanish leaders to understand how they envision and actively shape the trajectory of their country," said Pinckney, who will use the opportunity to inform his studies and work at the intersection of public policy and diplomacy. 

Daugherty, who majored in physics and Chinese studies, learned Chinese so he could better understand Chinese-speaking peoples' native culture. His teaching assistantship in Taiwan will put him one step closer to his goal of becoming a teacher sensitive to the needs of his students.

"I am grateful — and hopeful — because of the many ways my church leaders, coaches, professors, family and friends have unconditionally loved, strengthened and motivated me," said Daugherty, who also wants to be a Christian missionary. "Mostly, I want to learn how to care for and build up individuals with infinite potential."

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides an unparalleled opportunity to teach, study and conduct research in over 150 countries worldwide. Carnegie Mellon was named a top producer of Fulbright U.S. students for the 2022-23 academic year by the U.S. Department of States' Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The university has been a part of the Fulbright program since the inaugural class in 1949. Since then, 122 Tartans have been selected.

Richelle Bernazzoli, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholar Development, said Carnegie Mellon students make great Fulbright applicants because of their intellectual fearlessness and ability to excel in many different areas at once.

"To be competitive, applicants must convey maturity, adaptability and cultural sensitivity through their various leadership, service and intercultural endeavors," Bernazzoli said. "These students have also demonstrated they are culturally aware and well-informed on current events in both the United States and their host country; and can be excellent cultural ambassadors during their grants."

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