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2023 Fulbright Grant Recipients

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Eleven UD recent graduates and alumni receive awards, largest number in UD history

Fulbright

​The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the country’s premier international education exchange program. Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the program is designed to foster mutual understanding between citizens of the United States and people in other countries.​

Eleven University of Delaware recent graduates and alumni received 2023 Fulbright Student Program grants this spring, the largest number of awards in one year in UD history.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the country’s premier international education exchange program. Each year it gives young graduates and graduate students the opportunity to conduct research, study or teach English in more than 160 countries. Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the program is designed to foster mutual understanding betwe​en citizens of the United States and people in other countries.

“UD has had a long and successful his​tory with the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, starting with our first grant to France in 1951,” said Kristin Bennighoff, UD’s Fulbright Student Program Advisor. “We are so proud of the quality applications that were submitted this year. In the past several years, interest and applications have increased, culminating with this year’s outstanding group of grantees.”

Bennighoff expressed gratitude for all faculty members who mentored students and participated in campus interviews, as well as Honors College staff members and Kelsey Cummings, who served as the Fulbright Program advisor for this application cycle.​

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Denise Becker

​Denise Becker, an Honors College student who graduated in 2023 and studied marine science with a concentration in oceanography, received the prestigious Open Study Research Award to the University of Leeds in England. Becker is pictured here presenting at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Conference in Chicago in the winter of 2023.​

This year’s recipients included Denise Becker, who received the prestigious Open Study Research Award to the University of Leeds in England. Becker, an Honors College student who graduated in 2023 and studied marine science with a concentration in oceanography, will begin her year-long study in September. She is the first UD student to receive an award to the UK since 2011.

While at Leeds, Becker will research the rate of sea level rise in the North Sea during the Last Interglacial time period, which took place about 120,000 years ago. Her research is part of an international project called Rates of Interglacial Sea-Level Change and Responses (RISeR).

Becker will study and calculate the rate of sea level rise using tephrochronology, a geochronological technique that uses tephra — microscopic fragments of rock and ash ejected into the air by an erupting volcano — to create a chronological framework.

“Because tephra is so small, it can be carried thousands of kilometers away from a volcano, fall into the ocean and be deposited into the sediment record,” Becker said. “Every volcano has its own unique chemical signature, so the tephra will have its own chemical signature to a specific volcano. If I find a specific piece of tephra, I’m able to look at the chemical signature and know what volcano it came from. Then I’m able to take the date of the volcanic eruption and date the sediment core relative to that.”

Becker said she is excited to conduct research that will have a direct impact on studying the future of climate change.

“Other people on this project will use my data to help predict long-term sea-level rise past the year 2100,” she said. “I’m studying the past, but there’s also people on the project at other universities that will use my data to help predict sea level rise in the future.”

In addition to Becker, the following UD recent graduates and alumni also received open study/research awards:

  • Rebecca King, a 2020 Honors College graduate who majored in Russian studies and geography, will conduct research in Kazakhstan.

  • Rebecca Metellus, a 2023 graduate who majored in nutrition and medical sciences, will conduct research in Trinidad and Tobago.

  • Mina Rulis, a 2023 Honors College graduate who majored in political science, international relations and computer science, will conduct research at the University of Konstanz in Germany.

Seven recent graduates and alumni received English Teaching Assistantships (ETA):

  • Aniya Brown, a 2023 Honors College graduate who majored in pre-veterinary medicine, received an ETA to Colombia.

  • Anika Devotta, a 2022 Honors College Graduate and World Scholar who majored in criminal justice and sociology, received the Fulbright/Athens College-Hellenic American Educational Foundation ETA award to Greece.

  • Faith Goetzke, a 2022 Honors College graduate and World Scholar who majored in Spanish, political science and psychology, received an ETA to Cote d’Ivoire.

  • Clara Kinken, a 2023 Honors College graduate and World Scholar who majored in French, political science and three languages, received an ETA to Germany.

  • Jeffrey Lin, a 2023 Honors College graduate who majored in biochemistry, will spend his year teaching English in Kosovo.

  • Madeline Riordan, a 2023 Honors College graduate who majored in medical diagnostics, will teach English at Université St Louis in Brussels, Belgium.

  • Tyrus Van Dyke, a 2023 graduate who majored in political science, international relations and Russian studies, will teach English in Latvia.

Fulbrights at UD

The 2024-25 Fulbright U.S. Student Program application cycle is underway. Interested students and alumni are encouraged to create an application on the Fulbright U.S.Program website and submit the UD Fulbright Interest Form. For more information, please contact the UD Fulbright U.S. Student Program advisor in the Honors College at honors@udel.edu.​

Article by Kristin Bennighoff, Hilary Douwes and Adam Thomas

Illustration by Jaynell Keely

Photo courtesy of Denise Becker

June 23, 2023​​

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