Occidental Students and Alumni Win Six Fulbrights

Six Occidental students and alumni were recently awarded acceptance into the prestigious Fulbright Program, the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government. Two current students and one alumnus were also selected as alternates for the program.

Sydney Martinez '23, Ellie McKinney '23, Caroline Palumbo '23, Courtney Saqueton '23 and Anita Wybraniec '22 were all named awardees, and Aidan Garagic '22 and Katie Moore '23 were listed as alternates. One awardee and one alternate wish not to be named. 

Martinez, a music major from Claremont, has received a study grant to attend the Polytechnic University of Milan, where she will study at the School of Industrial and Information Engineering for a master’s degree in music and acoustic engineering. Within this degree program, Martinez hopes to continue her studies in music and artificial intelligence with regards to human-computer interaction. As Martinez also studied abroad in Milan, she says she “can’t wait to go back” to see the “many friends there that [she is] still in contact with.” 

McKinney, a double history and urban and environmental policy major from Minneapolis, has received a research grant to conduct research at the Vietnamese-German Transit Research Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. There, she will study mixed-method public transit, especially focusing on integration of motorbikes within a public transit model. McKinney is most excited for the opportunity to live in Vietnam for a year; she “loved it when [she] first visited in 2019,” so she is “very happy to have the opportunity to return!”

Palumbo, a Spanish studies and psychology major with a linguistics minor from Southampton, N.Y., has received an English teaching assistant award in Mexico. Palumbo is still waiting to find out where she will be placed. “I could be placed in anything from an elementary school to a college anywhere in Mexico … it is all a mystery,” she says. Regardless of where she is placed, Palumbo is excited to visit Mexico for the first time and learn from the teacher she studies with, since she aspires to become a teacher as well. 

Saqueton, a biochemistry major and computer science minor from Dallas, has received a research award to conduct research at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center in Madrid. Saqueton will work in a cancer genetics research lab, where she will identify genetic markers of immunotherapy toxicity in cancer patients. When asked what most excites her about receiving the Fulbright award, Saqueton says, “I am most excited to explore–to find people and places that will be my new favorites and to learn from everyone around me, both within and outside of the lab.” 

Wybraniec, a Spanish studies and psychology double major from Palso Alto, also received an English teaching assistant award in Mexico.