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Twelve SLU Students Advance to Semi-Finalist Stage for Fulbright Grants

02/04/2022Media Inquiries

Maggie Rotermund
Senior Media Relations Specialist

Reserved for members of the media.


ST. LOUIS - Saint Louis University’s Office of Competitive Fellowships and Scholarships announced on Feb. 4 that 12 students have been selected as semifinalists for the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Saint Louis University

After recommendation from the Fulbright U.S. National Screening Committees, the semifinalists’ applications have been passed to the host countries for final selection. Fulbright decisions are updated regularly, and applicants will be notified in the spring whether they have been selected as finalists to receive the award.

Fulbright invites students to apply for two types of awards: Open Study/Research Awards or English Teaching Assistant Awards. The Fulbright Open Study/Research Award is a grant for which a candidate designs a proposal for research or study at the graduate level in a specific country. The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program places recipients in classrooms overseas to supplement local English language instruction. There are also some specialty grants within certain countries for internships and similar opportunities. Grantees receive eight to 10 months of funding to complete their award.

“The Fulbright U.S. Student Program speaks the language so many of our students learn and cultivate during their time at SLU,” said Robert Pampel, Ph.D., Director of the University Honors Program. “We’re thrilled the national committee values our students’ commitment to service, their authentic desire for bilateral intercultural exchange, and their potential to be unofficial ambassadors for the best of our country’s values abroad—generosity, respect, thoughtfulness, and care for the common good.”

Applicants worked with Brooke Taylor, Ph.D., fellowships advisor, to polish their applications, craft their essays and incorporate feedback from faculty mentors and SLU’s Fulbright campus interview committee.

“We had our largest number of applicants this year, and I am so pleased by the number of semifinalists who are moving forward in the competition. I enjoy working with applicants at every stage in their process—from deciding which country to fine-tuning their essays. It’s a really rewarding experience for me, and I hope that it is helpful for our students and alumni, too,” Taylor said. “Whatever happens with Fulbright, this process helps to prepare them for other kinds of competitive applications and helps them realize their ambitions are within reach.”

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected through a merit-based competition that considers academics, personal qualifications, language preparation, and the quality of the proposed project, as well as how it fits into Fulbright’s aim of promoting mutual understanding among nations. Since the founding of the program in 1946, more than 390,000 Fulbrighters have participated in the program, studying and teaching in over 140 countries worldwide.

Saint Louis University Fulbright Semifinalists

Hunter Baldridge, MA student (Madrid), Political Science
  • Award: English Teaching Assistant
  • Country of Application: North Macedonia
  • “I applied to the Fulbright because I wanted to be a part of an organization that helps to bridge the international divide in knowledge and understanding. I hope to use my Fulbright award to connect internationally and in a professional manner, where I can teach as well as learn from others.”
Allie Biscupski, BA (Madrid), International Business / Economics 
  • Award: Binational Internship Program
  • Country of Application: Mexico
  • “The Binational Internship program is a unique opportunity in the Fulbright world to study in a prestigious Mexican university and collaborate with multinational companies in Mexico. I’ve always been drawn to Mexican language and culture, and I believe that strategic cooperation between Mexico and the US is the key to sustainable economic growth in the private sector. The Fulbright application process has made it clear that Mexico is the next step in my journey to break down barriers in a constantly globalized society, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to achieve that with Fulbright. I look forward to forming deep connections with Mexican colleagues and academics, while perfecting my professional Spanish and sharing our cultures.”
Paige Giarmona, BA (Madrid), Political Science / Economics
  • Award: English Teaching Assistantship
  • Country of Application: Indonesia
  • “My goals and determination are the same even if this is the second year I've applied for a Fulbright grant. This time around I applied for Indonesia because of the rich cultural immersion, exploration of a staggeringly important international force, and the variety of personal skills I would gain from a year spent in a teaching role. This program has always been something I've planned to pursue, for both professional and personal reasons. I aspire to work in foreign service representing the U.S. so a Fulbright grant presents such a unique opportunity to dig into my host community and to explore this person-to-person diplomacy. I am tremendously excited to foster connections with my students through teaching, which has been such a rewarding passion of mine for years already. Fulbright in Indonesia will be the perfect bridge between the work I have done so far at SLU-Madrid and all that there is waiting for me!”
Reed McLean, senior, Musical Theatre Performance / Economics
  • Award: Fulbright/University College London, MS Entrepreneurship
  • Country of Application: United Kingdom
  • “With the Fulbright Award, I plan to study entrepreneurship at University College London (UCL) in order to develop the pragmatic skills required to transform Make Dark Days Brighter into a revolutionary digital application. In 2019, I launched Make Dark Days Brighter as a social media-based initiative to encourage mental, physical, spiritual, and financial wellness amongst fine and performing artists at SLU and the surrounding metropolitan area. With theatres and performance venues across the world literally dark for two years, the pandemic has highlighted the universal need for additional support in the arts when it comes to health and wellbeing. Throughout this application process, I have learned that who I am is ultimately centered around working with and for others. The Fulbright UCL Entrepreneurship Award will allow me to leverage the market forces, link them to the theatre, and benefit this community of which I am part and for which I care deeply.” 
Ree Miller, senior, Political Science
  • Award: English Teaching Assistant
  • Country of Application: Spain (Madrid)
  • “Throughout my Spanish coursework at Saint Louis University, I have spent time speaking with conversation partners around the world. This sparked my interest in participating in cultural exchange on a larger scale, and ultimately led me to volunteer with the International Institute of Saint Louis as well as the Community ESL program at the Madrid campus. During my time with the Fulbright program, I will work alongside Spanish educators as an English Teaching Assistant. My own experiences with learning languages have been formative, and I am energized about the opportunity to inspire students to study English. Personally, I believe that my time in Spain will be invaluable in my future career as a legal advocate. This incredible opportunity to advance my Spanish abilities and learn about international law would not be possible without all of the support I have had from members of the SLU community.”
Dan O’Connell, senior, Psychology
  • Award: English Teaching Assistant
  • Country of Application: Colombia
  • “In order to prepare for my desired career as a bilingual clinical psychologist, engaging with the culture of Spanish-speakers in the US, I sought out a Fulbright grant. I know this would be a great way to better appreciate the lived experience of immigrants and understand global mental health. Importantly, I hope to give students in Colombia the tools to speak English while I simultaneously refine my Spanish.”
Emma Pauer, senior, Spanish
  • Award: English Teaching Assistant
  • Country of Application: Mexico
  • “I applied for the Fulbright in part to reclaim what I had lost in the pandemic—the opportunity to study abroad and enrich my Spanish language skills—but also because I see it as the perfect launching point into my future career. I intend to go to medical school after teaching English for a year in Mexico, with the goal of working in immigrant Latinx communities as a pediatrician. In addition to teaching, I hope to pursue a supplementary project at a local health clinic, engaging with the community and learning about the patient expectations I may see as a physician serving immigrant populations. The application process has helped me to craft a larger narrative about who I am and what I want to do with my life, which has been immensely helpful in my medical school applications.”
Kate Rabideau, senior, Biology
  • Award: Open Study/Research
  • Country of Application: Germany
  • “I decided to apply for a Fulbright Grant because I have wanted to live and work abroad in Germany since middle school. I want to be fully immersed in a different culture instead of visiting it briefly as a tourist. The Fulbright Grant will allow me to do so, therefore I will be able to practice my German language skills in a deep and meaningful way, form lifelong friendships, and experience every little difference in daily life, all while completing research in the field of neuropsychiatry with some of the best scientists in the field. I look forward to sharing my personal interests and culture, as well. These experiences will serve me greatly throughout my future life and career.”
Anushah Sajwani, senior, International Studies / Political Science
  • Award: English Teaching Assistant
  • Country of Application: Spain
  • “Experience is a formative means of learning; the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Spain would give me the opportunity to explore some of my academic passions such as education, international development, and land autonomy. As an ETA, I aspire to serve as a mentor for my students. As someone who grew up in a multilingual household, I recognize some of the complexities behind language learning and I want to ensure my students feel supported in the classroom. I also intend on perfecting my Spanish speaking skills and learning the additional language prominent to the autonomous community I would be placed in (such as Galician if I were to be placed in Galicia). My Political Science courses at SLU, alongside my life experiences, have led to my academic inquiry in autonomous regions. Spain’s unique territorial makeup and rich culture prominent to each region are what drew me to this country. While in Spain, I am required to additionally lead a supplementary project. I intend on conducting a story-telling initiative that respectfully highlights the culture of the autonomous community I’m located in. The ETA position and implementation of my supplementary project would aid me in cultivating the skills needed for me to succeed in the vast field of International Human Rights and Development.”
Dmitri Schmidt, senior, German Studies / Anthropology / Classical Humanities
  • Award: English Teaching Assistant
  • Country of Application: Germany
  • “I chose to apply to the ETA grant in Germany in order to explore how cultural context shapes our perception of history, something I’m passionate about as an anthropology major. Furthermore, serving as an ETA is an opportunity to improve my communication skills; teaching English to a German audience will require a total rewiring of my typical thinking. Upon my return to the U.S., I plan to continue learning about the transmission of cultural heritage through a graduate studies program in museum studies.”
Sierra Zima, BA (Madrid), International Business
  • Award: Binational Internship Program
  • Country of Application: Mexico
  • “During my senior year at SLU-Madrid, I scoured the internet for other opportunities to work internationally, which is when I came across the Binational Internship Program. I've always had an interest in working in Mexico since its trade relationship with the US provides endless possibilities to foster greater collaboration in both business communities. Since I graduated at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed more prudent to seek out full-time employment instead of applying for the grant; two years and invaluable work experience later, it felt like the right time to finally explore this opportunity. During this process, I’ve found greater clarity in my career and personal goals. Those essays really force you to focus on where you are currently, where you want to be in the future, and how this grant will enable you to get there. If awarded the grant, I hope to develop a deeper understanding of Mexican business culture (while sharing my own), learn from industry experts, and create meaningful connections with other students and colleagues.”

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. It offers students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 2,000 grants annually in all fields of study and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.

Those interested in applying for a Fulbright or another nationally or internationally competitive scholarship or fellowship should contact Fellowships Advisor Brooke Taylor at or visit the Office of Competitive Fellowships & Scholarships for more information.

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers more than 13,500 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.