Fulbright names 17 DePaul students semi-finalists in annual grant competition


Bianca Cseke | The DePaulia

DePaul University Lincoln Park campus.

Seventeen students from DePaul University have been selected as semi-finalists for Fulbright’s 2021-2022 U.S. Student Program.

Fulbright is a highly competitive and prestigious scholarship program that provides full funding for students to spend a year overseas either conducting research and studying or teaching English,” said Phillip Stalley, Fulbright program advisor and associate professor of political science at DePaul. 

According to Stalley, it’s a record for the university — as recent years have averaged “around 30 applicants, 10 semi-finalists and five to six winners.”

“I’m thrilled,” Stalley said. “It’s a testament to the quality of our students and the work that they and the faculty committees put into their applications.”

Stalley explained there are two main categories of grants. 

The first is an English Teaching Assistant program, in which students serve in this role part time and “spend the rest of their time doing a civic engagement project of their design.” The second is a research program in which students put together a program of their own design not for university credit. 

“It can be in just about any discipline, although sometimes it depends on the particular country,” Stalley said. “Some countries have preferences for particular fields, but for the most part it is wide open.”

Stalley said a third category is a graduate program called the “partnership award.” 

“The United Kingdom, for instance, gives out about 50 partnership awards that would allow a student to pursue an MA at a university in the U.K.,” he said.

Senior Lydia Grier is among the semi-finalists. Her proposed research deals with the refugee crisis on the southern border of the European Union. 

Specifically, I will conduct interviews with a sample of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in order to document stances regarding the current EU Refugee Resettlement Scheme,” Grier said. 

Another senior, Elena Medeiros, is exploring the Portuguese student movement of the 1960s. 

“I am very interested in how young scholars of the time played a role in bringing down a fascist regime in Portugal and how they [created] long-lasting political change,” she said. “My project explores the history of how students in Portugal, organizing across a range of labor, anti-colonial and anti-fascist movements at the time came together, built solidarity, and shared new ideas for change that they were then able to make a reality.”

Renee Menart graduated from DePaul in 2016 and has worked at the nonprofit organization Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice based in San Francisco for the last three years. 

Her proposed research involves exploring the perspectives of policy makers and youth relating to Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL) in the Philippines. 

“There is a lack of consistent policy implementation and a gap in research on community-based programs serving CICL,” Menart said. “If selected, I will work closely with a children’s rights organization in the Quezon province. I plan to volunteer in support of their varied programs and partner with youth participants to carry out research using the Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach, which establishes working relationships between researchers and community members.” 

Other semi-finalists include Helena Devens Ortlieb, Kaylee Williams and Stephanie LeBolt. 

Final selections will go out in the spring on a rolling basis, according to Fulbright’s website.

Correction: A previous version of this story listed Fullbright program advisor’s Phillip Stalley as having the last name “Stanley.” The story has been corrected to include the correct spelling.