VCU recognized as a top Fulbright producing institution

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Virginia Commonwealth University is a top producer of Fulbright student scholars for 2016-17, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Eleven students from VCU received Fulbright awards for the 2016-2017 academic year, the most of any Virginia college or university. Four recipients have been awarded English Teaching Assistant grants and seven have been awarded study/research grants.

Recipients are: 

  • Fajir Amin, 2012, education (United Arab Emirates)
  • Maya Chesley, 2015, biology and Spanish (ETA to Panama)
  • Erin Coggins, 2015, anthropology (ETA to Bulgaria)
  • Vanessa Diaz, 2015, graphic design (ETA to Jordan)
  • Dylan Halpern, 2015, graphic design (Brazil)
  • Kaelne Koorn, 2015, art history and photography (Mexico)
  • Ellen Korcovelos, 2016, bioinformatics (Canada)
  • Shannon Laribo, 2014, cinema and sociology (United Kingdom)
  • Lynn Secondo, chemical engineering doctoral student (Greece)
  • Charles Perris, 2016, history (ETA to Germany)
  • Levester Williams, 2016, sculpture and extended media (South Africa).
At left are Maya Chesley, Ellen Korcovelos, Erin Coggins and Charlie Perris. At right are Vanessa Diaz, Lynn Secondo, Dylan Halpern and Levester Williams.
<br>Photo by Pat Kane/University Public Affairs
At left are Maya Chesley, Ellen Korcovelos, Erin Coggins and Charlie Perris. At right are Vanessa Diaz, Lynn Secondo, Dylan Halpern and Levester Williams.
Photo by Pat Kane/University Public Affairs

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Top-producing institutions are highlighted annually in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“Along with my colleagues, I am honored to represent a university with so many Fulbright award recipients. Recognition from the program further highlights what we have always known — our students are smart, driven, and engaged,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “Their contributions to VCU and the surrounding communities are remarkable. I look forward to witnessing their future accomplishments, for they will surely have a positive impact on the quality of life of all.”

Each applicant worked with VCU’s National Scholarship Office to apply for the Fulbright Student Scholarship. The office provides support for VCU alumni, graduate students, and undergraduates who wish to compete for prestigious national and international scholarships. Interested students and alumni can contact the NSO at or 804-828-6868.

Forty-five VCU students and recent alumni have been offered Fulbright awards since the NSO was created in 2005.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 370,000 participants — chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. More than 1,900U.S. students, artists and young professionals in more than 100different fields of study are offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English, and conduct research annually. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.  

The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the United States Congress to the Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.

In the United States, the Institute of International Education administers and coordinates the activities relevant to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program on behalf of the Department of State, including conducting an annual competition for the scholarships.    

The Fulbright Program also awards grants to U.S. scholars, teachers and faculty to conduct research and teach overseas. Some 4,000 new foreign Fulbright students and scholars come to the United States annually to study for graduate degrees, conduct research and teach foreign languages.

For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit