USF Fulbright Day 2018 Highlights

Fulbright Day 2018 Go BullsGo Bulls! Pictured from Left to Right: Aroushad Tahsini (Panelist), Dr. Holly Donahue Singh (Panelist), Allyson Hoffman (Panelist), Heather Theisen-Gandara (Panelist, Assistant Director of International Exchange Programs at IIE), Elizabeth Brown (Panelist), Betty Castor (former USF President and past Chair of the J. William Foreign Fulbright Scholarship Board), Lauren Chambers (Moderator of the Panel and USF Student Fulbright Program Advisor (FPA), Dr. Sayandeb Basu (Director of the Office of National Scholarships), and Dr. Charles Adams (Dean of the Honors College).

Learn about USF Fulbright Day below and CLICK HERE to see the panel discussion, "My Fulbright Experience."

On April 6, 2018, USF celebrated its first ever Fulbright Day! Fulbright Day celebrates our university's continued success and legacy with the Fulbright US Student Program and the Fulbright Scholar Program. The Fulbright US Student Program is the largest exchange program in the world – sending US students abroad for up to one year to engage in an independent research project, undertake a master's degree, or teach English. The Fulbright US Scholar Programs offers US faculty, administrators and professionals grants to lecture, and/or conduct research in a variety of academic and professional fields.

For 2017, USF was named as the NUMBER ONE Producer of Fulbright Scholars (faculty) by the Chronicle of Higher Education. With an outstanding 12 faculty members named as scholars, USF doubled its number from the previous year surpassing other top research institutions. Also, in 2017, USF was the institution with the most Fulbright student awards in the state of Florida, having received 10 student awards. Additionally, each year, our university hosts a number of foreign Fulbright students and faculty from across the globe to teach and study at USF.

Fulbright Day is also devoted to celebrating USF's Fulbright success, discussing ways to continue and increase awareness about Fulbright programs across campus, learning about the application process, and listening to the experiences of past Fulbright scholars and students. This contributes to our already strong USF Fulbright legacy, and celebrates the road ahead in terms of the Fulbright legacy at USF.

USF Fulbright Day consists of two events: a student panel discussion and a networking reception event. The panel and reception celebrates and promotes Fulbright at USF, "embracing our Fulbright history, celebrating our Fulbright accomplishments, and works towards our future with Fulbright."

Fulbright Day 2018 panelPictured from Left to Right: Dr. Charles Adams (Dean of the Honors College), Heather Theisen-Gandara (Panelist, Assistant Director of International Exchange Programs at IIE), Allyson Hoffman (Panelist), Dr. Holly Donahue Singh (Panelist), Elizabeth Brown (Panelist), and Aroushad Tahsini (Panelist)

The panel consists of past student Fulbright recipients, as well as Heather Theisen-Gandara, Manager of Outreach and Recruitment for the Institute for International Education (IIE), which manages the Fulbright US Student Program. The student recipients discuss their motivations for applying for Fulbright, what they did with their Fulbright in their host country, and how Fulbright impacted them professionally and personally. Learn more about the 2018 panelists by clicking on their bios below.

Heather Theisen-Gándara
Manager of Outreach and Recruitment for the Institute of International Education (IIE)

Heather Theisen-Gándara has more than nineteen years of experience in the field of international education. She joined IIE twelve years ago from Rice University, where she held the position of Assistant Director for the English as a Second Language Program. In 2005, Heather joined IIE in part to work on outreach for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, in addition to the KAUST Discovery Scholarship, the Iraq Scholars and Leaders Program (ISLP), the ExxonMobil MENA Scholarship Program, EM Russian Scholarship Program, and the Baker Hughes Scholars Program in Angola. For the past two years, Heather has led the Fulbright Student Program Outreach and Recruitment Team. Heather holds a master's degree in education with an emphasis in multi-cultural guidance and counseling and has worked within the global community in several capacities. She is in the dissertation phase of her Doctorate of Education degree with an emphasis in higher education administration at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.


Allyson Hoffman
Fulbright English Teaching Grant Applicant, Norway

Allyson Hoffman is graduating from the University of South Florida in May with her M.F.A in creative writing fiction and a certificate in professional and technical communication. She is a 2018 winner of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Intro Journals Award in Fiction. Her fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and comics have been published in various writing outlets. As a writer and teacher, she believes revision is the most powerful tool in creating polished pieces. Therefore, she spent this Fulbright application cycle writing many, many drafts of her essays. She has been selected as an alternate candidate for an English Teaching Assistantship in Norway in 2018-2019.


Aroushad Tahsini
Fulbright Study Grant Recipient, Spain

Aroushad Tahsini graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015 with degrees in both mass communications and international studies. Through the support of the Office of National Scholarships, she received a Fulbright Study Grant to pursue her master's degree in corporate communication at the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, Spain. Fueled by passion for international relations and her background as an Iranian-American, she chose to apply for the Fulbright program. It allowed her to explore global communications practices and enhanced her understanding of how to interact with diverse backgrounds and experiences.


Elizabeth Brown
Fulbright Research Grant, Germany

Elizabeth Brown is a PhD candidate at the USF College of Marine Science, with a focus in marine micropaleontology. She uses chemical compounds found in the fossil remains of single-celled plankton called foraminifera to reconstruct temperature, salinity, and other features of the earth's ancient oceans. She received a Fulbright Student Research Grant to study in the paleontology laboratories of Prof. Dr. Michel Kucera at the MARUM Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften (Center for Marine Environmental Sciences), Universität Bremen, in northern Germany. Elizabeth applied to the Fulbright Program in 2013, and returned to Germany in summer of 2014. In addition to her own research, she took part in a number of graduate workshops offered by the institute, took German language classes in the evenings, and had an opportunity to volunteer as a shipboard scientist on an expedition to the central Atlantic. She is currently in the final semester of her PhD studies and plans to graduate this summer.


Dr. Holly Donahue Singh
Fulbright Research Grant, India

Dr. Donahue Singh is a full-time faculty member in the USF Honors College, teaching primarily Social/Behavioral Science courses. An alumna of Kenyon College, she received her A.B. in Religious Studies with a concentration in Asian Studies before attending the University of Virginia, where she earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology. She received a Fulbright Student Research Grant to India for 2000-2001 shortly after completing her bachelor's degree. Her project was about how people remember, memorialize, and learn about local pasts through media, visits to historical monuments, family stories, etc., focusing on the mid-size but historically significant city of Lucknow. Dr. Donahue Singh says that Fulbright was the best opportunity she had to make long-term friendships in India and to develop her Hindi language skills while living in a university hostel as the only foreign student with about 500 Indian students (all women). Dr. Singh has continued to return to India for study, research, writing, and travel. She held graduate research and training fellowships from not only the Fulbright United States Student Program, but also the American Institute of Indian Studies, the University of Virginia, and the United States Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies Program.


The networking reception immediately followed the panel discussion, bringing together past student and faculty Fulbright recipients, foreign Fulbrighters currently on campus, and faculty and students interested in applying for the Fulbright US Student Program to engage in discussions about their Fulbright experiences or intentions.