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  • Kristin Luciani

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  • Kristin Luciani

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UC San Diego a Top Producer of Fulbright Students

12 students and alumni awarded Fulbright research grants for 2013-2014

Kristina Pistone

The U.S. Department of State recently released its list of colleges and universities that produced the most Fulbright students for 2013-2014, and UC San Diego is one of them. The campus had 24 applicants for the program, of which 12 students and recent graduates were selected—the highest number on record for the university.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. It currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research and teaching worldwide.

“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 grants were awarded over the summer and the UC San Diego recipients are already well into their international research projects, at locations ranging from Mexico to Russia and Kosovo to Vietnam.

“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 currently studying climate science in Chile. 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.

Sharon Seegers

In Chile, Pistone is studying the effects of pollution on clouds in the southeast Pacific in order to 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 is in Vietnam working 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.

“I’ve been 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

The full list of top-producing institutions for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program was published in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Current students and recent graduates interested in the Fulbright 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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