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PLU Named Top Fulbright Producer

November 5, 2010

PLU Named Top Fulbright Producer

By Chris Albert

Pacific Lutheran University ranks among the top schools in the nation for the number of students selected for a Fulbright Student Fellowship in 2010.


Eric Bulley and Nicolette Paso

Eric Buley and Nicolette Paso were selected as student Fulbright Fellowship recipients. Buley as a teaching assistant in Venezuela and Paso in research in Germany. (Photo by John Froschauer)

Among comparable master’s degree granting institutions, PLU ranked in the top 15 in the country with three awards.

Since 1975, 83 students from PLU have received fellowships, a prime indicator of the fact that for the past 30 years, PLU has been steadily building the foundation for a globally focused university.

“Today, our model of global education is preparing students to be citizens of the world – to be learners as well as teachers, to strive to understand before trying to be understood and to collaborate rather than to impose one-size-fits-all solutions,” said PLU President Loren J. Anderson.

“Our bold vision is to educate a new generation of leaders who together will help shape a just, healthy, sustainable and peaceful world,” he said.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright program was established in 1946 by the U.S. Congress to “enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

It is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide.

To read more about how the Fulbright program encourages its participants to find innovative solutions to global issues such as climate change and pandemics, visit The Chronicle of Higher education Oct. 29 story “Fulbright Puts Money Where Problems Are.”

This year the three PLU students who received the prestigious U.S. Fulbright Student Fellowships are Eric Buley, Nicolette Paso and Kelly Ryan.

Eric Buley – English Teaching Assistant in Venezuela
Kelly Ryan '11

Kelly Ryan was selected as a Fulbright recipient to conduct research in Macedonia.

Buley will be placed in either one of Venezuela’s universities or at a Binational Center (learning centers affiliated with the U.S. Embassy) as an English teaching assistant.

There he will lead language learning classes, facilitate conversation groups and present lectures and discussions on U.S. culture and society.

“I decided to apply for an English teaching assistantship to learn more about teaching, to gain experience in the education field and to make a meaningful impact in the lives of students,” Buley said.

In his free time in Venezuela, he hopes to pursue work with a community-based organization that provides educational opportunities to low-income communities.

“Within my formal Fulbright assignment and in my volunteer pursuit I look forward to continuing to refine my leadership skills and to achieving ambitious and measurable results with students,” Buley said.

Nicolette Paso – Research in Germany

Paso will be moving to Leipzig, Germany, to complete her Fulbright Research Grant. Her hope is to apply her research toward a master’s degree, and eventually doctorate, in religion.

Her research project is centered on the early Reformation church ordinances that created the first state-sponsored systems of social welfare.

“I am primarily interested in how theological context of each particular city influenced the social reform that it’s government enacted,” she said.

She’s excited to be in Germany again. A few years ago she studied abroad there and is looking forward to returning.

“As nerdy as it sounds, I am thrilled to be able to work in the city archives and libraries,” Paso said. “Research is something that I enjoy, particularly when it is connected to my passion for social justice. It is rare for an undergraduate to be able to travel to the original sources for this kind of project.”

Kelly Ryan – Research in Macedonia

Ryan (pictured here on a trip to China) will be working with the Nansen Dialogue Network in Skopje, Macedonia, conducting research in grassroots reconciliation in Macedonia. It’s in connection with his political science capstone project.

“I hope to research what makes their reconciliation practices successful and trying to understand how their techniques and findings can impact the rest of the world,” Ryan said.

“I am most excited to work with world leaders in peace building, and gaining a better understanding of how intractable conflicts can be resolved,” he said.


Along with three PLU students receiving Fulbright Student Fellowships, three faculty members received Fulbright awards.

Joanne Lisosky, associate professor of communication, received a Fulbright Award beginning in January 2011 in Azerbaijan to teach journalism at Baku University.

Janet Weiss, assistant professor of instructional development and leadership, received a Fulbright-Hays Award to do curriculum work in Namibia during July.

Jennifer Jenkins, assistant professor of German, was selected to participate during the summer of 2010 in the Baden-Württemberg Seminar for American Faculty in German and German Studies, funded by the German American Fulbright Commission and the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of Baden- Württemberg.