10 Penn Staters earn Fulbright awards for 2016-17

Adison Godfrey is one of 10 Penn State students and alumni selected as Fulbright recipients for 2016-17. Godfrey will travel to Ecuador on an English Teaching Assistant Award. Credit: Adison GodfreyAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State, has so far selected six Penn State students and four alumni as award recipients for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Additional recipients of these nationally competitive awards could be named in the coming weeks, as Fulbrights are awarded country by country throughout the spring.

These Penn Staters will travel the globe, some spending close to a year, others spending up to two years, living with and learning from the people of their host countries. Some will conduct research at host universities, while others will help teach English to local students and carry out projects in support of the community.

All will serve as cultural ambassadors of Penn State and the U.S., engaging in the community, gaining an appreciation of others’ viewpoints and beliefs, and promoting cultural exchange and mutual understanding.

“Acceptance to the Fulbright program involves several rounds of interviews and evaluations, first by a team here at Penn State and eventually by reviewers from the prospective host country. Students are chosen on the strengths of their background, their proposed activities, and their suitability to living in a new environment,” said Tanya Furman, interim director of the University Fellowships Office and associate vice president and associate dean for Undergraduate Education.

“We are so proud of these award recipients, and are delighted that they will have such a rich opportunity for learning, exploration and growth," Furman continued.

Penn State consistently ranks among the top-producing research institutions in the country for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, with 10 students receiving awards in 2015-16.

The following Penn Staters have been named Fulbright recipients for 2016-17:

Alexa BeilBeil is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and will graduate from Penn State this spring with a bachelor of arts in art history and minors in German and international arts. With her English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Award to Germany, she hopes to create a love of languages among the children she will teach and integrate art into their classroom experience. She also plans to work with refugees to assist them as they learn the German language.

Hallah ElbeleidyElbeleidy is a Penn State alumnus, having received her master of science in geography in 2015. She received an ETA Award to Turkey, and hopes to immerse herself in Turkish culture by learning the native language, observing religious traditions and holidays, participating in community events, and volunteering with local environmental education initiatives. By further developing her skills in teaching and researching, community engagement, problem-solving, and collaboration, she hopes to be better prepared for a career in public service upon her return to America.

Adison GodfreyGodfrey will graduate from Penn State in May with bachelor of arts in English and Spanish. In October, she will return to Ecuador, where she previously studied as a part of Penn State’s Teaching ESL Certificate Program. With the ETA Award, in addition to assisting local English teachers, she’ll complete a project on special education and inclusion, possibly volunteering for a foundation that educates individuals with disabilities, or helping to create educational programs for these individuals where none currently exist. Godfrey is from from Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Conor HigginsHiggins, from York, Pennsylvania, will travel to Malaysia on an ETA Award where he will assist English teachers inside and outside the classroom, helping students learn the language while also acting as an ambassador for the U.S. and shedding light on our culture for the Malaysian students. Higgins hopes to make a positive impact on the host community and get involved in local life. He received his bachelor of science in biology and a minor in psychology from Penn State in 2015.
Jennifer KlineKline is from Horsham, Pennsylvania, and will graduate from Penn State this spring with bachelor of arts in English, psychology, and letters, arts, and sciences, and minors in linguistics and international studies. With her ETA Award, she will travel to Malaysia where she will assist an English teacher, guide students in language activities, and lead clubs outside the classroom to further engage students. Kline is fascinated by the role of language in culture, and would love to spend her life achieving greater intercultural competency between countries through language education.
Lauren KnothKnoth is currently pursuing her doctorate at Penn State, having previously completed her master of arts in criminology at Penn State in 2015. She will travel to Finland on a Study/Research Award where she will conduct part of her dissertation research on offenders charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The goal of the research is to develop a sentencing risk assessment and predict the likelihood of recidivism for offenders. Knoth is looking forward to conducting the research in a country with a significantly different criminal justice system than the U.S. Knoth is from Independence, Missouri.
Elyse MarkMark, a native of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, will graduate in May with bachelor of arts in English and Chinese and minors in German, international studies, and business. Her Study/Research Award will fund her graduate studies at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan, where she plans to earn a master of arts in international studies with a focus on international development. During her time there, she will study the socioeconomic development techniques that allowed Taiwan to flourish and how these techniques could be transferred to other developing nations in southeast Asia.
Devin McCoyThis spring, McCoy will graduate from Penn State with a bachelor of arts in German and minors in French and linguistics. With her ETA Award, she will provide a native speaker’s insight while teaching high school students in Niedersachsen, Germany. In addition to her work in the classroom, McCoy hopes to volunteer to support Syrian refugees who have recently arrived in the country. McCoy is from Lansdale, Pennsylvania.
Santiago OsorioFrom Highland Park, Illinois, Osorio received his master of music in conducting from Penn State in 2015. His Study/Research Award is contingent upon a successful audition and acceptance into a German music program, where he hopes to improve his skills as a conductor, his ability to bring great music to wide audiences, and help foster relationships between audiences and orchestras. He looks forward to becoming a part of Germany’s long tradition of excellent musical training, its support for the arts, and to better understand the relationship between the country and its cultural institutions.
Brendan TomoschukTomoschuk, from Broomall, Pennsylvania, will travel to Ghent, Belgium, on a Study/Research Award. Currently pursuing his doctorate, he completed his undergraduate work at Penn State in 2014, receiving a bachelor of philosophy in neurolinguistics and a bachelor of science in science. While in Belgium, he will study how knowing multiple languages affects language processing, running experiments with locals who speak Dutch, English, and French, and immersing himself in Belgium’s diverse linguistic background.

For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit

At Penn State, the Fulbright competition is administered through the University Fellowships Office, a resource for undergraduates, graduate students and Penn State alumni seeking information and guidance regarding scholarships and fellowships funded by sources other than Penn State. For more information on fellowship opportunities available, visit, or visit their office in 212 Boucke Building.

The University Fellowships Office is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at

Last Updated May 12, 2016