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IU Bloomington named top producer for Fulbright U.S. Student program for 2023-24

For Immediate Release Feb 13, 2024

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — For the ninth consecutive year, Indiana University Bloomington has been named a top producer of recipients for the Fulbright U.S. Student program. This honor, announced by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is shared with only 56 doctoral research universities in the U.S. for the 2023-24 academic year.

Marria Peduto with North Bali natives Marria Peduto is conducting original research on coastal ecosystem restoration and community economic development in Buleleng, Bali, during her Fulbright. Photo courtesy of Marria Peduto.

IU’s history of success in producing Fulbright students demonstrates its leadership in creating globally ready members of the workforce who conduct impactful research in important areas — like religion and culture, climate change, and food systems — that improve lives around the world.

Thirteen IU Bloomington students were offered Fulbright awards for this academic year, placing IU in the top 40 institutions. Ten of these students were awarded Fulbrights to conduct research, and three received English Teaching Assistant Awards. A doctoral institution must have at least 10 Fulbright U.S. Students to qualify as a top producer.

“These exceptional students join Indiana University’s decades-long history and legacy of producing Fulbright awardees,” IU President Pamela Whitten said. “This honor is one of many examples of how Indiana University is leading the nation in global education and engagement.”

Among the 2023-24 student recipients is Samantha Horton from Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania. A Ph.D. student in African American and Diaspora studies at IU Bloomington, Horton is spending her Fulbright in Brazil; she is conducting research on African-derived religions in the Atlantic, with a focus on Afro-Catholicism. Horton’s goal is to collect oral histories of Black women leading cultural and religious centers in the region, elevating their voices and bringing their narratives to a published work in the future.

Another Fulbright student is Marria Peduto from Indianapolis. Peduto graduated from IU in 2023 with majors in international studies and in East Asian languages and cultures from the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, as well as a major in sustainable food and marine systems — a degree program she created through the College of Arts and Sciences’ Individualized Major Program. She is spending her Fulbright in Bali, Indonesia.

Peduto is conducting original research on coastal ecosystem restoration and community economic development, specifically in Buleleng, Bali, where local communities are working toward intentional and sustainable development. Her vast international experiences as an undergraduate student at IU Bloomington have prepared her for the challenges of conducting research abroad. During her time at IU, Peduto was able to leverage the university’s resources to visit every continent on Earth.

Capper Anderson in Bern, Switzerland Capper Howard is spending his Fulbright arranging vocal songs for the expansion of the brass repertoire in Switzerland. Photo courtesy of Capper Howard

“I’ve loved chatting with the fishermen and scuba divemasters to conduct my surveys,” Peduto said. “I have been able to carry out all of my interviews in Indonesian, which I directly credit to my prior language training. It has been incredibly rewarding to meet people who saw a need for ecosystem restoration in their community and are working to make these changes last for generations.”

Only one in five applicants is accepted to the Fulbright U.S. Student program, and IU strives to support and facilitate student success in pursuing Fulbright opportunities through workshops, specialized training sessions and structured guides. Paul Fogleman, director of the IU Office of National Scholarships and Awards, hosts information sessions and workshops and is available to meet with students and alumni to discuss the application process.

“When you’re working toward something as rigorous as a Fulbright, it’s so important to have someone on your side who will be straightforward, kind and constructive with you the whole way,” said Capper Howard, an IU alumnus from Atlanta, Georgia, who is spending his Fulbright arranging vocal songs for the expansion of the brass repertoire in Switzerland.

Fulbright is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Since its inception in 1946, more than 400,000 recent university graduates, teachers, scientists, researchers, artists and others have participated in the Fulbright Program. 

Since 1949, more than 650 Indiana University students from campuses across the state have been awarded Fulbright scholarships.

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