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Twelve Fulbright Grants Awarded to UC San Diego Students and Alumni


  • Kristin Luciani

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  • Kristin Luciani

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With destinations ranging from Mexico to Russia and Kosovo to Vietnam, 12 students and recent graduates from the University of California, San Diego have been awarded grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to conduct research abroad in the 2013-2014 academic year.  This is the most Fulbright grantees selected from the university on record. The grant awards cover round-trip airfare to the host country, travel and health insurance and a monthly stipend for living expenses for each recipient’s 10-month project.

Kristina Pistone

“At UC San Diego, we strive to educate global citizens who will be successful leaders, scholars and entrepreneurs in the 21st century,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “The selection of these 12 scholars from UC San Diego to the Fulbright program is a testament to the caliber of our students and their contributions to research and service.”

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the nation’s largest exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.

“Fulbright offers a great opportunity for me to expand my dissertation work,” said Kristina Pistone, a fifth year doctoral student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography who is studying climate science. Pistone’s dissertation focuses on the albedo of the Earth—how much incoming solar energy is reflected back to space—which acts as a significant control on global climate. Clouds, in addition to snow and ice, are major components of the Earth’s albedo.

With the Fulbright grant, Pistone will travel to Chile to study the effects of pollution on clouds in the southeast Pacific and compare the data with her previous research on Indian Ocean clouds. “Different clouds, different types of pollution and different meteorology can mean very different effects,” she said. “I hope this analysis will lead to a better understanding of these interactions in a broader context.”

For Sharon Seegers, who graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in American Sign Language, the Fulbright grant presents a research opportunity that will help prepare her to pursue a doctoral degree. Seegers will travel to Vietnam to work with the Hanoi Association of the Deaf, researching how sign language interpretation services are developing in the country and the implications of this for the deaf community in Vietnam.

Sharon Seegers

“I’m really looking forward to this project,” she said. “One of the amazing things about UC San Diego is that we have a very strong international focus. It really allows students to grow.”

The 12 Fulbright grant recipients from UC San Diego are:

  • Christina Aguila—B.A. in International Studies, 2012—Indonesia
  • Rachel Brown—B.A. in Third World Studies, 2013—Taiwan
  • Arik Burakovsky—B.A. in Political Science, 2013—Russia
  • Foster Chamberlin—Ph.D. student in History—Spain
  • Ann Dimitras—B.A. in Literature, 2013—Kosovo
  • Harrison Gill—B.A. in International Studies, 2013—Czech Republic
  • Casey McCoy—Ph.D. student in Philosophy—Austria
  • David Morales—B.A. in Latin American Studies, 2013—Ecuador
  • Kristina Pistone—Ph.D. student in Oceanography—Chile
  • Luis Sanchez-Lopez—Ph.D. student in History—Mexico
  • Sharon Seegers—B.A. in Political Science, 2012—Vietnam
  • Sarika Talve-Goodman—Ph.D. student in Literature—Israel

Current students and recent graduates interested in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program can apply through UC San Diego’s Office of Graduate Studies. For more information, email

For more stories from current UC San Diego Fulbright recipients, visit the UCSD Fulbright Student Blog.

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