University of Portland
Contact: John Furey, Joe Kuffner

University of Portland named top producer of Fulbright scholars nationwide for second consecutive year

University of Portland has been named the top producer of Fulbright scholars in the nation among “master’s universities” for the second consecutive year, according to a study released recently by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The University had 10 alumni win the prestigious grants to work and study abroad for 2011-12. This is the second top national ranking the University has received in as many months – Washington Monthly recently ranked the University number one nationally among peer institutions for its commitment to community service.

With 10 Fulbright grants, University of Portland is the top college in Oregon regardless of classification, and the fifth-leading producer of Fulbright scholarships among all colleges on the West Coast, behind only Stanford University, University of Washington, University of California-Berkeley, and Pomona College. The University dominated the national “master’s universities” classification – University of Scranton, ranked second on the list, had six Fulbright scholars, four less than UP.

The University has been a leader among its peer institutions in producing Fulbright scholars for several years, also ranking first nationally in 2010-11 and 2007-08 and second nationally in 2006-07, 2008-09 and 2009-10. Since 2001, students from University of Portland have earned 34 Fulbright grants.

“For more than a century the University of Portland has been devoted to superb teaching as a primary way of helping young people find and hone their incredible creative talents,” said University President Rev. E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C., “and we are very pleased to see our own students now bringing their talents worldwide through the Fulbright program. We really do think of our graduates as agents of hope and creativity in the world, and this is a particularly refreshing and influential way to bring the University’s mission into play internationally.”

Of the University’s record 10 Fulbright awards from its Class of 2011, two are for graduate studies in the United Kingdom, five are for English teaching assistantships in Germany, one is for a research position in Germany, one is for an English teaching assistantship in Spain, and one is to study and combat human trafficking in Cambodia.

The United Kingdom is among the most prestigious and competitive of the Fulbright student programs. Approximately 45 Fulbright grants to the United Kingdom are awarded annually from more than 600 applicants nationwide, and two were given to University of Portland graduates.

The recipients of the graduate studies positions in the United Kingdom are: Sean Frederick of Colorado Springs, Colo., University valedictorian and double major in mechanical engineering and Spanish; and Jessica Tsao of Portland, Ore., a four-year starter on the women’s soccer team and a biology major who is a two-time Academic All-American, the 2010 West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and the 2010-11 West Coast Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year.

The recipients of the German teaching grants are: Nicholas Balthrop of Eugene, Ore., a double major in political science and German studies; Lisa McMahan of La Grande, Ore., a double major in English and German studies; Annemarie Medrzycki of Tacoma, Wash., a double major in history and German studies; Jeni Mussio of Eugene, Ore., a German studies major; and Erika O’Sullivan of Juneau, Alaska, a political science major.

The recipient of the German research grant is Natalie Higgins of Portland, Ore., a mechanical engineering major; the recipient of the Spanish teaching grant is Natalie Hemphill of Ashland, Ore., a double major in Spanish and life science and member of the University’s cross country and track teams; and the recipient of the grant to study and combat human trafficking in Cambodia is Brianna Hodge of Altadena, Calif., a double major in social work and sociology.

“It’s gratifying that we continue to do well with applications to Germany, but this past year, we had students selected for positions ranging from Cambodia to the UK, so clearly the University is continuing to graduate students who are well prepared for the challenges facing them anywhere in the world,” said John Orr, Assistant to the Provost for Fellowships and Grants. “The two UK grants are truly significant – that UP was awarded two out of 45 is stunning.”

The United States Fulbright program began in 1946 after World War II to “assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States and other countries of the world” through the exchange of students, scholars and professionals. The program operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.

The University of Portland is an independently governed Catholic university guided by the Congregation of Holy Cross. U.S. News & World Report ranks the institution as one of the top ten regional universities in the West. It is the only school in Oregon to offer a College of Arts & Sciences, a graduate school, and nationally accredited programs in the schools of business, education, engineering, and nursing.

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