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University of Maryland Students, Alumni and Scholars Receive Fulbright Grants

Students and alumni to spend one year abroad to research or teach overseas.


Office of Communications mediainfo@umd.edu


Fifteen University of Maryland students and recent graduates were awarded Fulbright grants to study, conduct research or teach English abroad during the 2017-2018 academic year. The students and alumni will travel to 11 different countries to serve as English teaching assistants or to work on projects in academic fields such as energy policy, history and public health.

UMD students will join over 1,900 students and young professionals who received the prestigious award for their academic accomplishments and leadership potential.

"The University of Maryland is very fortunate to be represented by an outstanding group of students who believe in Fulbright’s mission to promote mutual understandings between the U.S. and other countries,” says James Gilbert, UMD’s Fulbright program advisor. “The Fulbright is a fitting award for their hard work, intelligence and spirit of adventure."

This year’s recipients include:

English Teaching Assistant Awards

Soophia Ansari Soophia Ansari, who recently graduated with a major in mechanical engineering and minor in international development and conflict resolution, will teach English in Malaysia with a focus on STEM related subjects.
Sarah Blumberg Sarah Blumberg, a 2016 alumna with majors in Spanish and biological sciences, will teach English in Spain. She plans to volunteer as a yoga instructor and hopes to implement an after-school mindfulness meditation program for students and teachers.
Anna Lieberman Anna Lieberman, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in 2016, will teach English in Taiwan and plans to volunteer at a local community center and with an organization that assists children with autism.
Leanne Rohrbach

Leanne Rohrbach, a 2016 alumna with majors in psychology and German, will teach English in Germany. She will also volunteer with local community organizations that address mental health.

Hirbod Sajjadi Hirbod Sajjadi, a 2015 alumnus with a major in government and politics and a minor in philosophy, will teach English in the Czech Republic, participate in Sokal, a form of gymnastics that has played an important role in the creation of Czech identity, and volunteer with a local organization that helps people with disabilities.
Gavriel Schreiber Gavriel Schreiber, who recently graduated with a major in philosophy and minor in Chinese, will teach English in Taiwan and work with an after-school baseball program aimed at building camaraderie and trust with local youth.
Nageen Sherani Nageen Sherani, who recently graduated with a major in biochemistry, will teach English in Indonesia, with a focus on STEM subjects. She plans to volunteer at a local health clinic to improve her understanding of cultural sensitivities in patient care.
Shelly Spence Shelly Spence, a 2011 alumna and kinesiology major, will teach English in Thailand and volunteer as a coach for extra-curricular activities that help students learn leadership, accountability and gain self-esteem.
Abigail Trozenski Abigail Trozenski, who recently graduated with a master’s degree in German, will teach English in Germany and volunteer with organizations that serve refugees and asylum seekers. She also plans to coach a local swim team.
Colleen Toohey Colleen Toohey, a 2016 alumna with a major in journalism and minor in Spanish, has been offered a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Colombia. She has declined the award in favor of another opportunity.

Open Study/Research Awards

Sana Haider Sana Haider, a 2016 alumna with a major in community health and minor in general business, will conduct research in the Philippines. She will explore the various perspectives of stakeholders involved in the school-based human papillomavirus vaccination program.
Theresa Kim Theresa Kim, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Health Services Administration, will research the role of health care professionals in Senegalese family planning use, specifically evaluating how health care workers influence long acting reversible contraception utilization (LARC).
Joshua Klein Joshua Klein, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History, will explore the concept of Europe and the transformation of radical German conservatism from the 1930s to 1950s. His research will examine a wide range of Nazi propaganda and postwar periodicals located in the federal archives of Berlin.
Meghan Murphy Meghan Murphy, a 2015 alumna with a major in biological sciences and minor in global poverty, will conduct research in Botswana. She will examine the impact of substance abuse on HIV treatment adherence and failure.
Mohammad Zia Mohammad Zia, a 2015 alumnus with a major in global diplomacy and development through the Individual Studies Program, will conduct research in Morocco. He will examine public policy and institutional frameworks that encourage solar energy uptake in Morocco.

Since 2012, 68 UMD students and alumni have been awarded Fulbright grants to conduct research or teach overseas.


Sridhar Hannenhalli Sridhar Hannenhalli, a Professor in the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences’ Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics will take on a project to forge links between UMD and IISc via bioinformatics teaching, research, and program development in India.
Stacy Kosko Stacy Kosko, an assistant research professor in the College of Behavioral and Natural Sciences' Department of Government and Politics will research and lecture on the agency, participation, and the process suspect of self-determination exploring the rights of national minorities in the Republic of Moldova.
Loretta (“Lori”) Lynch Loretta (“Lori”) Lynch, a professor in the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources’ Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics will conduct research on barriers to the adoption of climate smart agricultural practices, exploring how risk impacts smallholder agriculturists in Colombia.
Devon Payne-Sturges Devon Payne-Sturges, an assistant professor in the School of Public Health’s Applied Environmental Health consulted on on U.S. and German experiences with addressing environmental justice and cumulative risk in Germany.
Rebecca Silverman Rebecca Silverman, an associate professor in the College of Education’s Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education will lecture on teacher education in Burma (Myanmar).
Kathleen (“Kate”) Spanos Kathleen (“Kate”) Spanos, a marketing and communications coordinator in the College of Art & Humanities’ School of Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies will conduct post-doctoral research on the frevo tradition and Pernambucan cultural identity in Brazil.
Conrad Zeutenhorst Conrad Zeutenhorst, an advisor in the Office of International Affairs’ Education Abroad participated in the U.S.-Japan International Education Administrators Abroad seminar in Japan as a part of the International Education Administrators program.

Sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, the Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 360,000 participants with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.


Academic Achievement Programs Higher Education

Colleges and Schools:

A. James Clark School of Engineering College of Arts and Humanities College of Behavioral and Social Sciences College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences College of Education Division of Student Affairs Graduate School Office of Undergraduate Studies Philip Merrill College of Journalism School of Public Health

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