UW-Eau Claire ranks 4th among top U.S. producers of Fulbright students

| Julie Poquette

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has moved up in its ranking among the top U.S. master’s universities for its number of students who receive Fulbright grants through the U.S Department of State’s prestigious international educational exchange program.

In the 2018-19 Fulbright top-producer list, UW-Eau Claire is tied for fourth among all public and private U.S. universities that offer master’s degrees. This is the first year UW-Eau Claire has broken into the top five in its category. In 2017, the last year in which UW-Eau Claire was a top producer, it was tied for 15th.

The Fulbright Program’s top-producing universities were announced Feb. 11 and published in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“We are proud that UW-Eau Claire is once again recognized among the top universities in this program that does so much to increase understanding between people of the United States and people of other countries,” said UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt. “This honor speaks to the impact of making immersive intercultural experiences a part of a UW-Eau Claire education. Our students leave here ready to engage as global citizens.”

Over the past 10 years, UW-Eau Claire has had 19 Fulbright students — more than double the number from any other master's-level public university in Wisconsin or Minnesota. Four of those Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards were received in 2018-19 alone. (See stories from May and July 2018 about UW-Eau Claire's most recent Fulbright grant recipients.)

“Four Fulbright students in one year is a UW-Eau Claire record,” said Cheryl Lochner-Wright, a study abroad coordinator in UW-Eau Claire’s Center for International Education and the campus advisor for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. “It really speaks to the academic excellence and community engagement of our undergraduates.”

Unique this year is that two of UW-Eau Claire’s successful applicants did not go abroad during their undergraduate careers.

“This shows that UW-Eau Claire is succeeding at introducing students to global perspectives right here on campus,” Lochner-Wright said.

A total of seven UW-Eau Claire students applied for 2018-19 Fulbright grants. When discussing UW-Eau Claire students’ success in the Fulbright process, Lochner-Wright credits both the students and her colleagues on the campus Fulbright committee: Dr. Josh Brown, associate professor of German; Dr. Maria DaCosta, professor of economics; and Dr. David Lonzarich, professor of biology. 

“The Fulbright process is very competitive and our students who receive grants are to be celebrated,” Lochner-Wright said. “But going through the application process is valuable for all who apply. The guidance students receive from faculty in their academic disciplines, as well as from our campus Fulbright committee, prepares them both for their Fulbright application and for future competitive processes, whether in their chosen careers or in pursuing graduate education.”

A complete list of Fulbright recipients is available on the U.S. Fulbright Student Program website.

Top photo caption: Amy Brown (center front), a 2016 UW-Eau Claire elementary education graduate, is pictured with her class during a student teaching experience in Costa Rica as an undergraduate. Brown is one of three UW-Eau Claire alumnae awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships for 2018-19.