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Saint Ben’s lands higher than ever among top producing schools for Fulbright U.S. Students

For the seventh time in nine years, the College of Saint Benedict has been named a Top Producer of Fulbright U.S. Students by the Department of State – and this time it was the highest CSB has landed in the rankings.

Out of just 19 applications, eight Saint Ben’s students were offered Fulbright awards in 2022, placing Saint Ben’s in a tie for 18th among the 42 schools that received the designation. None of the schools above CSB on the list had fewer than 24 applications.

Of the eight awards, five students accepted the appointment – including Valerie Doze ’21, who received a rare open study/research award to work at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Gottingen, Germany. Also accepting Fulbrights, which were English Teaching Assistant awards, were four 2022 graduates – Sarah Broghammer (Norway), Regan Dolezal (Czech Republic), Kate Schiltz (Spain) and Brigid Smith (Colombia).

Saint Ben’s had six Fulbright offers in 2021, which ranked No. 24 – the school’s previous top designation, and was No. 30 in 2020. Since 2021, the data reflect awards offered rather than only those accepted, which was the case prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bowdoin College in Maine led the nation in 2022 with 19 Fulbright offers on 49 applications. Washington and Lee University ranked second with 15 awards on 48 applications. Macalester College, which had 10 awards on 26 applications, was the only school from the Midwest among the top 34 schools.

Doze, who is from Grand Forks, North Dakota, was a double major in biochemistry and German at CSB. Broghammer, from Winona, Minnesota, majored in English and communications. Dolezal, from Woodbury, Minnesota, majored in political science. Schiltz, from Minnetonka, Minnesota, majored in Hispanic Studies and communication. And Smith, who lived in Fargo, North Dakota, but also attended schools internationally as a teen, majored in political science. In addition to those CSB graduates, Noah Knapp ’21, an English major from Aberdeen, South Dakota, represented Saint John’s University by accepting a Fulbright to be an English Teaching Assistant in North Macedonia.

“Our success is built on the quality of our students, the hard work they put into their applications, and the strength of our global and language programs,” said Dr. Phil Kronebusch, professor of political science and coordinator of competitive fellowships at CSB and SJU.

From 2014-21, there were 39 Fulbright U.S. Student awards offered to students at Saint Ben’s and another 11 to students at Saint John’s.

“CSB and SJU are highly invested in supporting students that are pursuing opportunities like Fulbright,” said Lindsey Gunnerson Gutsch, director of the schools’ Office of Undergraduate Research & Scholars. “Competitive fellowships advising is a core function and, along with Dr. Kronebusch, we provide our Fulbright applicants with advising and mentorship that helps them reflect upon their student experience, develop confidence in articulating their future aspirations, and to view the application process as a worthwhile professional development experience. It’s a highlight of each year to meet regularly with our applicants and provide them ongoing application feedback.”

Fulbright is the flagship international exchange program of the U.S. government. About 2,000 recent university graduates receive Fulbright U.S. student awards each year, but the program is much larger than that. It also is among the largest and most diverse exchange programs in the world, awarding approximately 9,000 merit-based scholarships in the United States and more than 160 countries every year to accomplished students, scholars, teachers, artists and professionals of all backgrounds and fields. Fulbrighters study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to complex global challenges.

Additionally in 2022, Pedro dos Santos, an associate professor of political science at CSB and SJU, became the first Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in the schools’ history. Fulbright Scholar awards are for faculty and professionals, and CSB and SJU have had 15 in their history – but none who achieved the Distinguished distinction until dos Santos.

Since its inception in 1946, more than 400,000 participants have expanded their worldview and returned home with a deep appreciation of their host country and its people and a larger network of colleagues and friends.

Each year the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces the list of higher education institutions that produced the highest number of applicants selected for Fulbright U.S. Scholar and Fulbright U.S. Student programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes the list annually.

“On behalf of President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken, congratulations to the colleges and universities recognized as 2022-23 Fulbright Top Producing Institutions and to all the applicants who were selected,” said Lee Satterfield, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs. “Thanks to the visionary leadership of these institutions, administrators and advisors, a new generation of Fulbrighters – changemakers as I like to say – will catalyze lasting impact on their campus, in their communities and around the world.”

The Fulbright Program was established to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. While its primary source of funding is an annual appropriation from Congress, it benefits from additional support from foreign partner governments, non-governmental organizations, private organizations, corporate partnerships, individual donors and U.S. and foreign host institutions.

Fulbright alumni include 41 heads of state government, 62 Nobel laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners and 78 MacArthur Fellows.

CSB and SJU students interested in applying for a Fulbright Award for the 2024-25 academic year should contact Phil Kronebusch, professor of political science and coordinator of competitive fellowships at CSB and SJU, or Lindsey Gunnerson Gutsch, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research & Scholars at CSB and SJU.

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