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Friday, November 27, 2020

Academics & Research

UH ranked as top producer of Fulbright students


The 12 recipients that received the award for the 2019-20 grant cycle are already performing their programs abroad. | Courtesy of UH

The 12 recipients that received the award for the 2019-20 grant cycle are already performing their programs abroad. | Courtesy of UH

UH was ranked among the top Fulbright scholars producing institutions in the nation with a record 12 students that received Fulbright awards for research and teaching in the 2019-20 cycle.

Only 45 research institutions in the country were named a top producing institution in a recent list published by The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers research, study and teaching opportunities in over 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students.  

“This brings positive recognition to the school because there are not a lot of schools like us at this level, which is a big deal,” said Ben Rayder, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards.  

From 1966 to 2017, a total of 35 Fulbright students were from UH. In the last two years, 18 Fulbright recipients have come from UH.

“The University of Houston has always had this potential,” Rayder said. “Our student body is a perfect fit for this award because this award wants a diverse group of students.”

The 12 recipients that received the award for the 2019-20 grant cycle are already performing their programs abroad, and the 24 semi-finalists for the 2020-21 competition are waiting to hear back from Fulbright. The semi-finalists expect to know their results around the end of May. 

Fulbright alumni have gone on to have many important leadership and academic positions such as judges, ambassadors, CEOs and university presidents.

“Fulbright has a lot of name recognition because Pulitzer prize winners, politicians, Nobel laureates and MacArthur recipients have received this prestigious award and has a big alumni network,” Rayder said. 

The Fulbright application opens every year around late March to early April. The grant usually lasts for nine to 10 months. 

“It’s a long process, but it’s rewarding because regardless if you’re a recipient or not you get the opportunity to learn about yourself to develop a set of materials that you can use for other applications,” Rayder said. 

To be eligible to apply for the Fulbright program, students must not hold a doctorate, they have to be a U.S. citizen and they must have a bachelor’s degree at the time of the grant period starting. 

“I have a personal connection to this, but I also really want our students to do it because I’ve gone through it myself and seen how beneficial it can be,” Rayder said. 

Rayder said in recent years, UH has grown the project a lot more with the help of more attention and resources.

“My hope is that every year we’ll be a top producing school with 10 or more recipients because our trend has been going up every year,” Rayder said. 

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