Fulbright Comes to NJIT
By Liem Ho
On Friday, April 22, the Director of U.S. Student Programs of the Institute of International Education, Dr. Daniel Kramer, will be visiting NJIT to speak about the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Dr. Shivon Boodhoo, Director of Special Programs at the Albert Dorman Honors College of NJIT says, “applying for (and potentially winning a Fulbright) is a unique and potentially life changing opportunity for NJIT students.”
The Fulbright Program is the “flagship international and educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries”. Started in 1946, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill proposed by Senator J. William Fulbright to fund and encourage students to pursue projects internationally to improve society. Funding for the Fulbright Program is currently an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. There are also various participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and other foundations in the United States and countries around the world that also provide direct and indirect support.
This program is now the largest international exchange program in the United States as it awards approximately 8,000 grants annually in various fields of study and operates in over 160 countries around the world.
Students are selected for Fulbright grants on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.
Grant benefits of the program include round trip transportation to the host country of the applicant’s choice, funding for room, board and incidental costs, and accident and sickness health benefits.
In order to be eligible to apply, applicants must be U.S. citizens at the time of application. Applicants should have also earned a conferred bachelor’s degree or the equivalent before the start of the program. Juniors graduating in the Spring or Summer of 2017 are eligible to apply this upcoming cycle before the October deadline.
The application for the next cycle was made available March 31, and the NJIT campus deadline to self-identify is May 20th. As NJIT’s Fulbright Program Advisor (FPA), it is Dr. Boodhoo’s responsibility to work with students on their applications and to submit Campus Committee Evaluations (CCE) which are essentially the university’s nomination form. Students are encouraged to begin the application process early so that application materials can be collected and refined as necessary.
NJIT has recently formed a committee on National Fellowships, co-chaired by Dr. John Bechtold, Associate Dean of the Honors College, and Dr. Basil Baltzis, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, which is comprised of representatives from all colleges. The committee is charged with screening applicants and providing guidance and support to qualified students who are nominated for highly competitive fellowships, such as Fulbright Awards. According to Dr. Bechtold, “we have some extraordinary students at NJIT who are superb candidates for prestigious national and international fellowships. We are committed to identifying strong candidates and working closely with them so that they may put their strongest application forward. I’m certain we will have many Fulbright Award winners in the future.”
NJIT is also a member of the National Association of Fellowship Advisors (NAFA). Other universities affiliated include Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Harvard College, Princeton Universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Members of this national association, such as Dr. Boodhoo, are able to better understand the application process for national fellowships—having the additional experience and information helps ensure that students are provided with the greatest chances of being a recipient of the award. This past application cycle, one of NJIT’s first applicants for the Fulbright Scholar award was also named a national finalist.
David Anderson, a senior mathematical sciences major in the Honors College, has been awarded a Fulbright grant which will allow him to take courses in mathematical finance at Technische Universitat Munchen in Germany. In order to accept the Fulbright, Anderson deferred his acceptance to masters programs at Columbia University and Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, two of the world’s most prestigious universities. “I decided to apply because I knew that I wanted to give myself an international brand as well as study how cultural propensities towards debt and spending affects economic recoveries following financial crises,” says Anderson.
“David Anderson’s success proves that NJIT students have the capacity and the profile required to win prestigious national fellowships such as the Fulbright,” says Dr. Boodhoo.
Students interested in applying for Fulbright should reach out to the FPA before the end of the spring semester to ensure ample time for application preparation. For more information or to apply for a Fulbright, contact Dr. Shivon Boodhoo at firstname.lastname@example.org.