Occidental Is Top Student Fulbright Producer

Jim Tranquada

For the 18th consecutive year, Occidental College is one of the country’s top producers of student Fulbright Awards, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual Fulbright rankings.

Five Occidental seniors and alumni won 2022-23 Fulbrights to work and study abroad. The five are among 134 Occidental students and alumni who have won Fulbrights since 2003.

Almost 600 U.S. higher-education institutions actively participate in the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright program, which covers travel, education and living expenses in more than 155 countries worldwide.

Preliminary numbers for this year are promising, with 18 students and alumni being named as semi-finalists—a 17 percent increase over last year, says Jennifer Locke, director of national and international fellowships.

Selection is a two-phase process. All applicants must pass through the U.S.-based Fulbright National Screening Committee. Those selected as semi-finalists are then forwarded to the individual country commissions for the final round of selections. Final decisions are made on a country-by-country basis from March to May.

Recipients are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

Occidental’s 2023-24 student Fulbright semi-finalists include:

  • Austin Bitterman ’22, a comparative studies in literature and culture (CSLC) major from Portland, Ore.—teaching, Germany
  • Leo Blain ’23, an urban and environmental policy (UEP) major from Takoma Park, Md.—research, Germany
  • Layla Devlin ’23, an economics major from Brooklyn, N.Y.—study award, Northern Ireland
  • Aidan Garagic ’22, an economics major from Wayland, Mass.—teaching, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Chris George ’23, a biochemistry major from Middleton, Wis.—research, Germany
  • Charlotte Harrington ’23, a psychology major from Nashville, Tenn.—teaching, Germany
  • Ava Lubetkin ’22, a cognitive science and philosophy major from Houston—study award, U.K.
  • Sydney Martinez ’23, a computer science and music major from Claremont, Calif.—study award, Italy
  • Ellie McKinney ’23, a history and UEP major from Minneapolis—research, Vietnam
  • Katie Moore ’23, a psychology major from Arlington, Va.—teaching, Panama
  • Carol Palumbo ’23, a Spanish studies and psychology major from Southampton, N.Y.—teaching, Mexico
  • Eden Perez Bonilla ’23, an East Asian studies major from Albuquerque, N.M.—teaching, South Korea
  • Courtney Saqueton ’23, a biochemistry major from Dallas—research, Spain
  • Zoe Spearman ’21, a biology major from Exeter, N.H.—research, Australia
  • Mostyn Trudinger-Smith ’23, a CSLC major from Tucson, Ariz.—teaching, Germany
  • Rees Walker ’23, a critical theory and social justice major from Seattle—teaching, Indonesia
  • Anita Wybraniec ’22, a psychology and Spanish studies major from Palo Alto, Calif.—teaching, Mexico