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Oberlin College recognized for number of Fulbright scholars

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OBERLIN — For the 10th year in a row, Oberlin College is being recognized as a top producer of Fulbright students.

Nick Petzak, director of the office of fellowships and awards for the college, said Oberlin College has achieved this through multiple factors. The college’s greatest assets, he said are the diverse pools of study all vying for the Fulbright program and the college’s many connections with multiple institutions and organizations.

Oberlin’s 220 recipients of Fulbright U.S. student grants have been able to embark on a wide range of studies — from violin in Samoa to studying anti-obstetric violence law in Argentina, according to a news release.

Aside from the schools of music and science, the college’s teaching program also has been a huge help in receiving grants due to the many opportunities for local teaching partnerships, Petzak said. Another factor is the strong language program that the college has, which helps candidates vying for a Fulbright.

Petzak, who is the director and coordinator for the Fulbright program at the college, said it is really the students who are the biggest reason why the college produces so many Fulbright scholars.

“Our students are just really committed community organizers, working on all kinds of social justice issues and that kind of outreach and that ability to lead those kinds of fields makes them competitive for Fulbright,” he said.

The Fulbright program was first introduced in 1946 by then-Sen. J. William Fulbright as a student exchange program to offer opportunities for students and young professionals to study, research and teach worldwide. The program offers these opportunities in more than 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students. More than 3,600 candidates are recommended annually by 157 subsections of the National Screening Committee, composed of 457 senior faculty or field-of-study professionals.

According to the Fulbright program website, the program requires each applicant to submit personal information, give an essay statement about the purpose of their project and back that application with transcripts and letters of recommendation. Applicants are expected to show their aptitude in foreign language and prove the ethical implications of their projects.

This hallmark of a straight decade of Fulbright recipients coming from Oberlin College is a testament to the college’s broad excellence, Petzak said.

“They are fantastic researchers, they’re brilliant teachers and they have the kind of skills to be adaptable and flexible, so they make great ambassadors,” he said. “It’s great to have Oberlin students out there making a difference, for sure.”

Contact Bruce Walton at (440) 329-7123 or by email at bwalton@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Facebook @BWalton440 or on Twitter @BruceWalton.
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