Announcements, News

Middlebury College has been named to the Fulbright Top Producing Institutions list for the 2023–2024 academic year by the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Program.

Four students and three faculty members were selected for Fulbright awards, placing Middlebury among the top 12 colleges and universities for the number of grants received from the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program and the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Middlebury is one of only two Baccalaureate institutions to appear on both lists.

“Fulbright’s Top Producing Institutions represent the diversity of America’s higher education community,” said Lee Satterfield, U.S. assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs. “Dedicated administrators support students and scholars at these institutions to fulfill their potential and rise to address tomorrow’s global challenges.”

Lisa Gates, associate dean for fellowships and research, has been working since 2008 to increase the number of Fulbright applicants through the Office of Fellowships at the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research. Middlebury and Fulbright are a natural fit, says Gates, given the College’s international focus through its Language Schools, C.V. Starr Schools Abroad, and Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

“Spending a Fulbright year abroad is a formative experience,” said Gates, who spent a year in Germany as a Fulbright grantee from 1988 to 1989. “It teaches young people so much about a new culture, a new country, and themselves. And for many, it shapes the professional direction they pursue.”

Middlebury has been a top producer of U.S. Student Fulbright grantees every year since 2011. Makoto Johnstone ’23, who majored in physics with minors in Spanish and mathematics, plans to take a year off from his PhD program in astronomy at the University of Virginia for a Fulbright research grant in Chile studying merging black hole systems.

“Chile is home to some of the world’s most powerful telescopes, allowing us to observe pairs of black holes that are in the final moments before they merge,” said Johnstone. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with data from such advanced technology, and I’m excited to immerse myself in both a new culture and a thriving astronomy community.”

Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Grant Winners

Peter Matthews, Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics (Finland)
Justin Doran, assistant professor of religion (Brazil)
Gloria González Zenteno, professor of Luso-Hispanic Studies (Mexico)

Fulbright U.S. Student Program Grant Winners 

Asa Skinder ’23 (Mexico) 
Major: Joint major in environmental studies and geography with a minor in Spanish
Fulbright Plans: Work as an English teaching assistant sharing knowledge of English, along with social and political aspects of life in the United States.

Makoto Johnstone ’23 (Chile)
Major: Physics with minors in Spanish and mathematics
Fulbright Plans: Conduct research on merging black hole systems and teach an after-school program that helps students explore astronomy concepts.

Rory Kelly ’19 (Tunisia)
Major: Neuroscience with a minor in Arabic
Fulbright Plans: Work with a research team and the Tunisian Football Federation for her project, “Elevating Tunisian Girls and Women Through Sports Medicine and Sports Science Research.”

Grace McCarthy ’23 (Argentina)
Major: English and American literatures and Spanish
Fulbright Plans: Work as an English teaching assistant exploring the history of immigration and migration in Argentina along with its preservation of Indigenous languages and cultures.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international academic exchange program. Since 1946, it has provided over 400,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds with the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research abroad. Fulbright grant winners exchange ideas, build meaningful connections, and work to address complex global challenges.