Their applications have passed the very challenging Fulbright U.S. National Screening Committees, and have been forwarded to their potential host nation Fulbright Committees for final review. Those chosen for the award will be notified in late March or April.

English Teaching Assistant Award, Armenia Mentors: Judy McDonald, Whitney Szmodis, Bill Hunter, Elena Reiss, Mary Nicholas

Marissa Hastings

Hastings ‘22 was a double major in International Relations and Economics and also earned a certificate in Global Citizenship. As a Fulbright finalist, she would serve as an English teaching assistant in Armenia. 

Down the road, she intends to earn a graduate degree in international relations and then plans to represent the United States at home and abroad as a Foreign Service Officer. “I will continue promoting mutual language learning as an avenue to cultivate country partnerships and global collaboration.” she says. 

When she was at Lehigh, Hastings served as a Youth Representative to the United Nations for Nor Luyce Mentoring Center for Youth, an experience that will shape her future path.  “I will also stay firmly committed to uplifting Armenian voices through my position on Nor Luyce's Advisory Board.”

Other Lehigh activities included serving as a co-captain of the Lehigh University Dance Team and an ambassador for Lehigh's Global PreLUsion. She was also part of the Global Citizenship Program and worked in the Study Abroad office.

Open Study/Research Award, Germany Faculty Mentor: Siddha Pimputkar

Jonathan Valenzuela

Valenzuela is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Materials Science and Engineering. His Fulbright project would enable him to join the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Stuttgart under the guidance of Dr. Rainer Niewa, a renowned researcher in the field of nitride synthesis. He would be working on the synthesis of Ge2BN, a novel material with unique electronic characteristics that has been found to be stable, but has not been synthesized due to physical constraints. He would be using Niewa's facilities and expertise to synthesize and characterize this material.

Valenzuela is part of his department’s Student Networking Committee, which facilitates events for professional development of MSE students, as well as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. He also recently joined the Lehigh Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers chapter as the Graduate Chair, where he will be making efforts to provide professional development opportunities for graduate engineering students at Lehigh.

“I am generally interested in making academia a more inclusive environment for folks of all cultures, socio-economic and personal backgrounds,” he says. 

Ultimately, Valenzuela hopes to stay in academia or work at a national lab, where plans on developing a research program that will be investigating the bulk-scale synthesis of novel materials for energy production.

Fulbright/University of Sheffield Award, United Kingdom Faculty Mentors: Michael Kramp, Vera Stegmann and Scott Gordon

Deborah Walters

Walters ‘23  is pursuing a double major in English and German. During her Fulbright experience she hopes to pursue an MA in Librarianship at the University of Sheffield (in the UK). While attending this program, she would complete a dissertation concerning her interest in access to women’s voices in archives, specifically as it relates to working-class women who were a part of the steelmaking industry in Sheffield, or women who were impacted by the rise and fall of industrialization in the city. 

This interest stemmed from her experiences working with local history in Bethlehem at Lehigh’s Special Collections – the Bethlehem Steel Corporation greatly impacted the local area and economy and the trajectory of the working class during the 19th and 20th centuries. Walters is interested in how the same processes of industrialization affected the city and the lives of women in Sheffield. 

She is active in the music department, playing the bass in the Philharmonic Orchestra, the Wind Ensemble, and a jazz combo. 

Long-term, Walters intends to go into the field of library science as an archivist. “I love working with old texts and materials (my thesis centers around transcribing and translating Moravian women's memoirs from around 1800, and my work-study is at Special Collections) so a career in library science would be the perfect complement to my academic and professional interests -- such as languages, cultures, accessibility, equity, and so on.” 

Fulbright/University of Manchester Award, United Kingdom Faculty Mentors: Lieutenant Colonel Preston Jackson, Arman Grigoryan, Mary Anne Madeira, Henri Barkey and Devin Finn

Dan Rudiak

Rudiak ‘23 is a double major in International Relations and Modern Languages and Literatures (Arabic), with a minor in anthropology. As a Fulbrighter, Rudiak would study for a masters in Peace and Conflict studies at The University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. 

He is the Battalion Executive Officer for Steel Battalion Army ROTC, and co-founder of the Armed Forces Support Club. During the summer and fall of 2022, he spent five months in Morocco on a Boren Scholarship living in Fes and Meknes with host families and studying intensive Modern Standard Arabic and Moroccan Dialect Arabic. He has also interned for the Brookings’ Institution at their Center for Middle East Policy as a research intern. 

Directly after he graduates, Rudiak will serve as a Military Intelligence Officer in the United States Army. “After my service,” he says, “I hope to receive a PhD in Political Science with my research focusing on the causes of contemporary intrastate ethnic conflicts and the implementation of sustainable political solutions. I’d like to work as a fellow at a think tank and/or in foreign policy formulation after my doctorate studies.”

Fulbright MA Degree Award, Israel Faculty Mentors: Hartley Lachter and Bruce Whitehouse, mentors and college professors; Khurram Hussain, Ilena Key, and Lloyd Steffen, committee members

Toni Isreal

As a Fulbright scholar, Toni Isreal ‘17 would complete her masters in Cyber, Governance, and Politics at Tel Aviv University in Israel while becoming proficient in Hebrew and maintaining her advanced proficiency in Arabic and the Levantine dialect. She also plans to serve in the local community as an EMS volunteer.

“Upon completion of my master's degree,” she says, “I aim to help decision and policy makers find a policy solution to mitigate targeted violence and strengthen resiliency within communities. In my previous role in cyber security, I saw extremist groups use their online presence and social media to spread disinformation and influence individuals to commit violence against ethnic groups and companies that are allegedly against their agenda. Through open source intelligence and threat intelligence, I want to combat the rising number of targeted attacks motivated by hate ideology and acute grievances.”

Beyond the classroom, Isreal, who majored in International Relations/Modern Languages & Literature (Arabic), Africana Studies, and Global Studies and minored in Jewish Studies while at Lehigh, enjoys running, hiking, writing fiction, and learning new things. In April 2022, she finished her first novel in a seven-part series, an endeavor born out of her Africana Studies final project.

English Teaching Assistant Award, Kazakhstan Faculty Mentors: Bill Hunter, Elena Reiss, Dinissa Duvanova, Mary Nicholas

Hannah Moss

As a Fulbright finalist, Moss ‘23, an Economics major with minors in Psychology and Russian, would teach English in Kazakhstan. The exact location in Kazakhstan would be determined by the Fulbright commission. 

In her Lehigh life outside of the classroom, she volunteers at the literacy center as an English teaching assistant and serves as a lead tutor in the Center for Academic Success. She is also involved in the Outing Club.

Moss says the impact of her Fullbright experience would be all about building enduring relationships. “I hope to make lasting connections between me and the students/faculty I interact with as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, as well as between Lehigh and the university I work at in Kazakhstan.”

Long-term, Moss wants to work with international companies to increase clean energy domestically and abroad. 

Open Study/Research Award, Germany Faculty Mentors: Scott Burden, Karen Beck Pooley, Bill Hunter

John Blake

John Blake ‘23 is a Political Science and International Relations double major with a minor in German. If he wins the Fulbright, Blake will be studying at the University of Freiburg in the Environmental Governance Masters program. The program aims to teach the next generation of international sustainability leaders.

A past President of Spectrum, he currently serves as the organization’s Secretary. He is a UN-Youth Rep for Tarumitra and has interned for the Pride Center.

“I hope to have a positive impact on my home community’s relationship with the environment,” says Blake, when discussing his future goals. “More specifically, I hope that I can craft the necessary policies to move our communities toward a more sustainable and green future.”

master’s degree in Urban Planning & Sustainable Design in Singapore

Nicholas Masri

Nicholas Masri ‘23, who would  pursue a master’s degree in Urban Planning & Sustainable Design in Singapore during his Fulbright, could not be reached in reference to this article. 

Thank you to the following people who helped these amazing candidates on their Fulbright journey.

  • Karen Pooley, Professor of Practice, Director of Community Fellows graduate program, Director of Environmental Policy Design program
  • Alberto Lamadrid,  associate professor in the economics department and James T. Kane Faculty Fellow
  • Shamim Pakzad, Professor and Chair, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Rudy Shankar, Director, Energy Systems Engineering
  • Jessica Harbaum, Language Specialist
  • Ashley Murphy, Assistant Director, International Center for Academic and Professional English 
  • Houry Geudelekian Chair of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women
  • Shogher Mikaelyan, Executive Director of Nor Luyce
  • Whitney E. Szmodis, Graduate Student - ED/Elementary Education
  • Emily Groff, Director of Communications and Marketing
  • Mary Nicholas, Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures
  • Hartley Lachter, Associate Professor, Religion Studies, Director, Berman Center for Jewish Studies
  • Ilena Key, Chief Technology Officer
  • Khurram Hussain, Associate Professor of Religion Studies; Director, Humanities Center
  • Lloyd Steffen, University Chaplain, Director of the Center for Dialogue Ethics and Spirituality, Director of the Lehigh Prison Project, Professor of Religion Studies
  • Devin Finn, Adjunct Professor
  • Preston Jackson, Professor of Military Science and Leadership, MSIV Instructor
  • Arman Grigoryan, Associate Professor, Department of International Relations
  • Mary Anne Madeira, Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations
  • Heather Simoneau, Humanities Librarian
  • Rita Jones, Director, The Center for Gender Equity
  • Lois Black, Curator, Special Collections
  • Scott Gordon, Professor of English
  • Michael Kramp, Professor of English
  • Vera Stegmann, Associate Professor of German; Director of Film and Documentary Studies
  • Alex Japha, Digital Archivist, Special Collections
  • Audrey McSain, Sustainability Director
  • Donald Morris, Associate Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Environmental Initiative
  • Scott Burden, Director, The Pride Center
  • Karen Pooley, Professor of Practice, Director of Community Fellows graduate program, Director of Environmental Policy Design program
  • Siddha Pimputkar, assistant professor, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Nicholas Strandwitz, assistant professor, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Wojciech Z. Misiolek, Loewy Professor and MSE Department Chair; Director, The Loewy Institute (Formerly the Institute for Metal Forming), Materials Science & Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics
  • Helen Chan, New Jersey Zinc Professor, New Jersey Zinc Professor