The inaugural celebration honored recipients of the prestigious Fulbright award from across campus, and highlighted CU Boulder’s support for those unique and diverse experiences.

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Fulbright U.S. Scholar Info Session

Interested in applying for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program? Join us for this brief presentation and Q&A with Fulbright program staff.

  • Who: All CU Boulder faculty interested in the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program
  • When: Tuesday, February 27, 2024, 2–3 p.m. MT
  • Where: Virtual via Zoom

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A joyous gathering in December brought together enthusiastic CU Boulder faculty Fulbright awardees, who had visited locations worldwide, to share their stories. Some attendees, including faculty from every college and many departments across campus, showed slides of their unique time abroad and talked about the huge and transformative impact their experiences have had on them, personally and professionally.

“Many attendees were surprised and elated to have an event centered on them and their achievements, as well as the space and time to discuss their research and how their travels impacted their careers and, in many cases, the trajectory of their entire lives,” said Alicia Adelman, research development officer and prestigious nominations manager with the Research & Innovation Office (RIO).  

The event was co-sponsored by RIO and the Office of Top Scholarships. In his remarks at the event, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation and Dean of the Institutes Massimo Ruzzene recognized the prestige of a Fulbright award, expressed CU Boulder’s delight in having such accomplished faculty and encouraged them to continue sharing their experiences with the larger campus community.

Celebrating a growing international community of scholarship

“It is an honor to celebrate CU Boulder’s distinguished Fulbright scholars who contribute to the international exchange of knowledge,” said Ruzzene. “Seeing the slides of the many Fulbrighters and their experiences reminds us of the power of collaboration and the impact it has on shaping a global community of scholars. The experiences shared through the Fulbright Program enrich not only the individuals involved but also the institutions and communities they touch.”

Those scholars included Rachel Rinaldo, associate professor of Sociology and director of the Center for Asian Studies, who spent the last academic year at Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia. While there, she studied women and work during and after the COVID-19 pandemic “in order to understand how they are negotiating the competing demands of work and family during this era of rapid social and economic change,” she said.

The Fulbright award allowed Rinaldo to travel with her husband (Robert Wyrod, associate professor in the Department of Women and Gender Studies and the International Affairs Program in the College of Arts and Sciences) and their nine-year-old son. “It was an incredible experience for us as a family to have the opportunity to live in Indonesia for a full year,” said Rinaldo.

And it was invaluable for her research and teaching. “Being in Indonesia for a year meant that I could do extensive and immersive sociological fieldwork for my next book,” she said, and it created a network of current and future collaborators. Plus, she said, “I am already starting to teach some of the wonderful scholarship I've been reading over the last year.”

About the Fulbright Scholar Program

The Fulbright Program, established nationwide by Congress in 1946, is the flagship international educational and cultural exchange allowing awardees a chance to study, teach and swap ideas and understanding in more than 160 countries. Talented Fulbrighters from all backgrounds inspire, innovate and contribute to finding solutions to challenges facing communities and the world.

CU Boulder’s first faculty Fulbrighters received their awards in 1955, and CU Boulder has had 533 faculty awardees since then, with roughly 50 active Fulbright awardees on CU Boulder’s campus today. During the campus celebration, Ruzzene acknowledged several staff champions of the Fulbright Program whose work has contributed to the success of those applicants.

Those include “exceptional proposal editor” Donna Axel, who supports faculty across campus (including Rachael Rinaldo). Ruzzene also recognized Deborah Viles, director of Top Scholarships, whose efforts have led to CU Boulder being named one of the “Top producers of Fulbright U.S. Students” by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (nine CU Boulder students and alumni were named Fulbright finalists in 2022-2023). Viles began serving as faculty liaison in 2019 and partnered with Axel, who offers proposal writing support.

Rinaldo expressed gratitude for the guidance. “Fulbright is a very competitive program, and I benefited so much from Donna Axel’s support during the proposal writing process. As a sociologist who does ethnographic and qualitative research, I didn’t have that much experience with proposal writing, but with Donna’s assistance, my Fulbright proposal was vastly improved from the first draft to the final draft,” she said. “I am pleased that CU Boulder has invested in more support for social sciences and humanities grant and fellowship applications.” 

Ruzzene captured the spirit of the event and of the Fulbright Program in general. “May the connections forged through Fulbright continue to inspire new ideas, bridge cultural gaps and contribute to the collective progress of humanity,” he said.

To learn more about Fulbright programs, please contact Deborah Viles at Faculty interested in applying for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program are encouraged to register for and attend the upcoming virtual presentation on Tuesday, February 27