Five UMass alums awarded Fulbright Scholarships

By Staff

Nick O'Malley/Collegian

Five former University of Massachusetts students, among them four 2010 graduates, were awarded Fulbright Scholarships for international studies, according to a Wednesday release from the University’s News and Media Relations office.

The students are among some 1,500 U.S. citizens to win Fulbrights, administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, for the 2010 – 2011 academic year.

Last year, UMass was named a “Top Producer of Fulbright Scholars” by the education journal Chronicle of Higher Education.

Psychology professor and director of the University’s Office of National Scholarship Advisement Susan Whitbourne said in the release that the awards illustrate the strength of the school’s student body.

“Once again, our students have demonstrated exceptional academic skills and a determination to stand out during the selection process,” she said. “It is also a proud achievement for the faculty and staff who worked with the students as they pursued these highly competitive scholarships.”

Of the five students who received the scholarships, three graduated last year with distinction from the Commonwealth Honors College.

That group includes Needham, Mass., native Lucian Bessmer, a former history major here who will study in Turkey, classics graduate Kelsey Whiting-Jones, a resident of Cummington, Mass., who will travel to Malaysia to teach English and Kerry Shields, also of Needham, a bachelor’s degree with individual concentration recipient who focused on international relations and community development in Amherst. Shields will study public health in Senegal.

The other two students who received the prestigious scholarships are Leif Walcutt and Jacob Dyer-Spiegel. Walcutt is a Marstons Mills, Mass., native who studied journalism at UMass. He will travel to Indonesia to teach English. Dyer-Spiegel, from Amherst, finished his undergraduate studies here in 2002 and is now a Ph.D. student in comparative literature. He will pursue further comparative literature studies in Brazil.

According to the University release, the Fulbright program debuted in 1946, and has in that time facilitated international studies for more than 110,000 Americans. The program is active in more than 155 countries worldwide.

Collegian News Staff