Purdue University’s Honors College, its first academic residential college, is highly interdisciplinary and experiential in its teaching and learning mission. As part of its mission, the Honors College houses the National and International Scholarships Office (NISO), which assists students with applying for and earning prestigious scholarship opportunities. The U.S. Student Fulbright Program is a focal point for NISO, and Purdue University has made strides in the number of both students and faculty members who are Fulbright scholars. Since the creation of the office in 2012, the number of U.S. Student Program applicants has more than tripled and developing robust connections between the various Fulbright Program communities on campus has become a focal point at the university.
“Through international exchange, which facilitates collaboration and mutual understanding, the Fulbright program helps scholars broaden their perspectives and tackle our most pressing global challenges,” said Jay Akridge, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity. “This is an exceptional program and we are very pleased that, every year, more students and faculty at Purdue are earning Fulbright scholarships.”
The 2019-2020 academic year saw Purdue set new Fulbright marks in a few areas. Eight Purdue faculty members earned Fulbright Scholar Awards, the most ever for Purdue in a single year. Christopher Lukasik, an associate professor of English and American Studies and former Fulbright Scholar, directs a program in the Provost’s Office that aids faculty in learning about Fulbright awards. “Fulbright recipients often describe their experiences as life-changing, and their expanded world views make them better informed to speak to global issues upon their return to the U.S.,” said Lukasik. “Fulbright faculty are exceptionally well-prepared to speak to students who are not only entering into a global economy, but who belong to a generation that must confront a series of challenges – global in scale – such as climate change or food security. International students also benefit from Fulbright faculty because these faculty have experienced the challenges of living abroad and can speak to cross-cultural education first-hand.”
Purdue also will host their first-ever Fulbright Chair beginning next year. The Fulbright Chair in Interdisciplinary Studies is a partnership between the Honors College and a disciplinary college partner each year to bring a scholar from Brazil to be in residence at Purdue. “Hosting a Fulbright Chair at Purdue is indeed a hallmark of achievement and is reflective of our commitment to fostering intercultural awareness as well as supporting our mission of interdisciplinary learning,” said Rhonda Phillips, Dean of the Purdue Honors College and a three-time Fulbright award recipient.
Fulbright students at Purdue can additionally benefit from the Purdue Fulbright Association, a student organization comprised of Fulbright Foreign Student Scholars at Purdue, which aims to connect past and present “Fulbrighters”. This student-run organization is mainly composed of visiting scholars who are currently completing their degrees at Purdue. With over 50 members from at least 35 countries, the Purdue Fulbright Association is one of the most active campus-based Fulbright student organizations in the country. It helps to integrate those students in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program with international students at Purdue and allows for deeper appreciation and understanding of different countries and cultures. This fall NISO and the Purdue Fulbright Association will co-host the 7th annual Fall Welcome – an event designed to welcome new visiting scholars to campus that brings together Purdue faculty, staff, and students from the Fulbright Scholar Program, Foreign Student Program, and U.S. Student Program.
For more information about Purdue University, visit https://www.purdue.edu/.
–Robert Mills, Purdue Honors College, Communications Manager