Mary Ellen Schmider

Former Board Member

Mary Ellen Heian Schmider has spent much of the last decade serving the Fulbright Association. In 2012, and again in 2016, she became Executive Director, offering her services in the interim as the search committees worked to find permanent leadership for the national office. In 2019, she served as President of the Board of Directors. Additionally, most of the other years she served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. She led the conference in London in 2012: “Fulbrighters Minding the Gaps and Bridging Them.” In 2016, the 70th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program was celebrated with a serious look at the Challenges Ahead at the largest national conference to date. She partnered with Cultural Heritage without Borders to plan the first three Service Corps Travel opportunities in the Balkans; engaged with the International Fulbright Commission leadership in the development of Advocacy as a major initiative of the association; and in the last three J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding events, she has overseen the work of the International Selection Committees. Her background in academic administration and teaching led to emerita status as Graduate Dean and Research Officer at the Minnesota State University Moorhead. Currently, she teaches online as an Adjunct Full Professor in American History and Women’s Studies for the University of Maryland University College. Board service beyond Fulbright included nearly fourteen years on the Fortune 300 Thrivent Financial and its predecessor bodies, eight as an officer of the Board for Higher Education and Schools of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and two as chairperson of the Minnesota Humanities Commission. She has held two Senior Fulbright Lecturer Awards: People’s Republic of China, 1997, and the Republic of Macedonia, 2005-2006.