Three KU students earn Fulbright Awards

Tue, 06/15/2021


Christine Metz Howard

LAWRENCE – Three University of Kansas students received prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Awards to study, conduct research and teach English abroad for the 2021-2022 academic year. Five additional KU students were named as alternate Fulbright recipients.

This year’s Fulbright U.S. Student grantees include recent graduates from the School of Music who will study and conduct research in Spain and the Czech Republic, and a recent graduate from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences who was selected to teach English in Colombia.

“As the Fulbright program reemerges from the pandemic, I could not be more delighted to see KU students leading the way,” said Charles Bankart, associate vice provost for International Affairs. “This past year has brought unprecedented challenges to mobility, resulting in the complete suspension of critical programs like Fulbright. At the same time, the pandemic has underscored the global nature of the problems our society faces and how critical international collaboration and global networking are to knowledge, discovery, innovation and advancement.”

The Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between Americans and people of other countries. The U.S. Student Fulbright program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.

Fulbright grant recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. Fulbright grants provide funding for round-trip travel, maintenance for one academic year, health and accident insurance, and, where relevant, tuition.

Since the program’s inception in 1946, KU has had 484 students, including this year’s recipients, selected for Fulbright awards. KU International Affairs coordinates the applications for Fulbright grants.

“This was the largest applicant group KU has had during my time as the university’s Fulbright Program adviser,” said Rachel Sherman Johnson, director of internationalization and partnerships at KU International Affairs. “These students rose to the challenge of applying for the program during a worldwide crisis, their enthusiasm for and belief in the value of international engagement undiminished by the pandemic. To be selected for a Fulbright award is always an outstanding achievement, but even more so in our current global moment.”

The 2021-2022 Fulbright recipients:

Samuel Buse, La Mesa, California, is a 2021 graduate with a master’s degree in church music and organ performance. Buse will study at the Instituto del Órgano Hispano in Seville, Spain, with Andrés Cea Galán, a prominent performer, teacher and scholar of the historic Spanish organ. Buse will have access to historically significant organs throughout southern Spain, primary source documents and the guidance of an expert in private instruction. These experiences will build upon the musical and academic research that Buse has already begun and inspire a work of original scholarship.

Gabrielle Doue, Omaha, Nebraska, is a 2019 KU graduate with bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish and is a graduate student in linguistics and language pedagogy at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She was selected for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship for Colombia. Doue also was selected in 2020-21, deferred and re-applied for the award in the 2021-2022 cycle.

Isabel Keleti, Leawood, graduated from KU in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in piano performance and from The New School in 2019 with a master’s degree in piano performance. She will spend nine months in the Czech Republic studying Czech piano repertoire with an emphasis on the works of Leoš Janácek. Keleti will study at the Janácek Academy of Music and Performing Arts under the guidance of Professor Jan Jiraský, a leading scholar of Janácek. The opportunity will provide a deeper understanding of how Czech composers combine elements of mainstream classical music with those that are distinctly Czech. Upon her return, Keleti will share Czech repertoire through performance, research and teaching.


Sadie Arft, Menasha, Wisconsin, is a doctoral candidate in the history of art. She proposed a project in Belgium to explore the production, patronage and cultural significance of game park tapestries created in the Flemish weaving centers of Enghien, Brussels and Oudenaarde during the second half of the 16th century. The research contributes to a broader understanding of the importance of tapestries, an understudied medium, to the visual culture of early modern Europe.

Natasha LaGrega, Leawood, is a 2021graduate with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology. She proposed to travel to Spain to discover factors that contribute to developing mild cognitive impairment. The research would have been with the Vallecas Project in South Madrid, which through a longitudinal study of community participants aims to identify markers in healthy individuals that predict potential neurodegeneration leading to Alzheimer’s disease.

Matthew Santoyo, Ventura, California, is a 2021 graduate with bachelor’s degrees in aerospace engineering and German studies. He is an alternative for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship for Germany.

Jacob Springer, Salina, is a 2020 graduate with bachelor’s degrees in history and Slavic and Eurasian languages & literatures with a Russian emphasis. He is an alternate for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship for Belarus.

Sneha Verma, Wichita, is a 2021 graduate with bachelor’s degrees in economics and mathematics. She proposed research in Malaysia to evaluate the effectiveness of Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Programme in Kuala Lumpur. The program attempts to grow and revolutionize Malaysia into a high-income economy, and the research focuses on two specific policies: increased technological integration for a more efficient high-speed transit system and increased green space per person.

Tue, 06/15/2021


Christine Metz Howard

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Christine Metz Howard

International Affairs