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SMU Students Earn Prestigious Fulbright, Boren Awards

SMU News:

Eight SMU students have accepted Fulbright and Boren awards for international study, research and teaching in Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea. Five will be headed across the world as Fulbright finalists to conduct research and teach abroad for the 2022-2023 academic year, while three will travel as Boren fellows and scholars.

“The pursuit of national fellowships such as the Fulbright and the Boren align with SMU’s goals for greater academic quality, and I am so proud of the recognition our students have received,” said Elizabeth G. Loboa, SMU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

“These scholarships provide a transformative opportunity for our students to go out and make their mark on the world as researchers, teachers, and cultural ambassadors and to extend SMU’s reach and reputation on a global scale,” Loboa said. “I congratulate this year’s recipients, all of our student applicants and the faculty and staff who supported them throughout the rigorous application process.”  READ MORE


The Fulbright U.S. Student Program operates in partnership with more than 140 countries worldwide. Awardees are selected in an open, merit-based competition that considers leadership potential, academic and/or professional achievement, and a record of service. Fulbright alumni include 61 Nobel Prize laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize recipients and 40 who have served as heads of state or government. SMU Fulbright Finalists include:

Austin Hickle, South Korea, English teaching assistant

Austin Hickle graduated in May 2022 with a B.A. in Economics and Public Policy after serving as student body president during his senior year and student body vice president as a junior. During his time on the Hilltop, he received a number of awards and honors including the Harry S. Truman Scholarship and the Ray L. and Nancy Ann Hunt Leadership Scholarship. Austin also was inducted into both Phi Beta Kappa and the Robert Stewart Hyer Society, SMU’s most prestigious academic organization for undergraduate students. Passionate about educational policy, he founded several organizations addressing student needs including the College Health Alliance of Texas, a statewide coalition of 41 student government leaders who worked together for a safe reopening of campuses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Global Education Mission, a nonprofit providing education for children living in Cameroon. Austin also worked as a teacher’s assistant and instructor both in Dallas and in Cameroon. He will travel to South Korea as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in January 2023.

Camilla Martinez, Bulgaria, English teaching assistant

Camilla Martinez recently received her M.F.A. in Theatre from the Meadows School of the Arts. Camilla is headed to a small town in Bulgaria (Smolyan) where she will teach English. During her time at SMU she has taught the Art of Acting, has performed in mainstage productions on campus, and was a resident artist at the TX Studio in Dallas. Most recently Camilla was an understudy for Tiny Beautiful Things at Dallas Theatre Center. She applied for the Fulbright ETA program because it allows her to bring together artistry and education. Camilla will capitalize on the skills she honed as an instructor at SMU, where she helped students venture out of their comfort zone and step into their own as individuals taking the stage in front of an audience. “The Fulbright mission aligns with my desire to be a globally aware artist, and to use the skills I have to teach, make art, and connect with people,” Camilla said. After Bulgaria, Camilla plans to return to the U.S. and create a career in theatre, film and photography.

Evan Schumacher, Germany, research

Evan Schumacher graduated in May 2022 with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance and a B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in Cognitive Science. In addition to performing with the SMU Dance Ensemble every semester, Evan pursued independent research on gender and casting at dance companies in London, Paris, and Washington, DC, funded by the University Honors Program’s Richter Independent Research Fellowship and the Engaged Learning Fellowship. As a senior he received the 2022 Outstanding Achievement in Dance Award. For his Fulbright Germany Study/Research award, Evan will analyze the aesthetic values of the Stuttgart Ballet by examining the institution’s archival papers, including those of its influential directors Jean-Georges Noverre and John Cranko. Evan said, “My Fulbright award will ideally serve as a testing ground for me to begin to nail down my ideas about the philosophy of dance. Ultimately, I hope that the ideas I develop on my Fulbright become the foundation of my future theories that will shine a light on the nuanced values that drive the practice of ballet.”

Anna Taglioli, Taiwan, English teaching assistant

Anna Taglioli graduated in May 2022 with majors in international studies, human rights, and world languages (Chinese and Italian) with a minor in piano. Her list of honors includes induction into the Robert Stewart Hyer Society and Phi Beta Kappa, as well as membership in the University Honors Program. A student of Mandarin since the age of 10, Anna is eager to travel to Taiwan on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship because she always has been interested in promoting cultural exchange. The Fulbright assistantship will build on her experience teaching languages, including four years as an English teaching assistant at the QD Academy in Plano and as a Chinese and Italian language teacher in the SMU Child Care Center. Anna said, “I intend to center my career around international and language studies, so I believe my Fulbright award will be invaluable to my future career. I hope to pursue a career in foreign service to continue to support peace, cultural exchange, and promote American interests abroad.”

Izzah Zaheer, Belgium, English teaching assistant

Izzah Zaheer graduated in May 2022 with a B.A. in Political Science and a B.B.A. in Management. During her time on the Hilltop, she was selected as a Highland Capital Management Tower Scholar and member of the University Honors Program, served as a Residential Assistant in MHPS Commons, and completed an Engaged Learning Fellowship capstone research project titled “The Evolution of Local Journalism.”  Outside of the classroom, Izzah pursued her passion for journalism as a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She chose to apply for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Belgium because she “loved the mix of different European identities, its relevance as the center of Europe and the various languages used through the country.”

Three SMU graduate students were named Fulbright Alternates. Xxavier Carter was named an alternate for an Arts award to Norway. Laura Bell and Virginia Ridley were named alternates for English Teaching Assistantship awards to Andorra and Luxembourg, respectively.


Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are awarded through a major federal initiative – the National Security Education Program – designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. The program provides U.S. undergraduate and graduate students with resources and encouragement to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of the United States. In exchange for funding, Boren Award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year. SMU’s Boren Scholars and Fellows are:

Benjamin Feinstein, Kazakhstan, Boren Scholar

Undergraduate Benjamin Feinstein is pursuing a major in history and a minor in Russian area studies. He works as a student researcher and editor on the Center for Presidential History’s “US Relations under Bush and Putin” project and serves as the President of the SMU Russian Club. A testament to his academic achievement so far, Ben was invited to join the Robert Stewart Hyer Society as a junior. He will spend the 2022-2023 academic year at Al Farabi National Kazakh University in Almaty, Kazakhstan studying Russian language and Eurasian history. “I will return with a year of immersion in a Russian-speaking country and invaluable knowledge about key player in the critical strategic region of Central Asia,” Ben said. “Such linguistic, political, and cultural knowledge will qualify me to enter a relevant defense job as soon as I graduate from SMU. In short, Boren will qualify me for my dream in a way that I could not have imagined.”

Matthew O’Donohue, South Korea, Boren Fellow

Matthew O’Donohue is a third year Ph.D. student in the Lyle School of Engineering who will be working in partnership with a laboratory in South Korea to create a device that will be used to sequence DNA and characterize various biologically relevant proteins. Drawing on his nanotechnology experience in mechanical engineering professor MinJun Kim’s Biological, Actuation, Sensing and Transport Laboratory at SMU, Matthew seeks to internationalize his research in South Korea while learning Korean. “I will be able to conduct research in a state-of-the-art laboratory with access to many advanced tools that will benefit me as a researcher,” Matthew said. Outside of the laboratory, Matthew is most excited to experience living in a new culture. He said he chose to research in South Korea because, “I have never been to Korea, let alone Asia, and wanted an opportunity to experience that part of the world.” Upon completing his Boren Fellowship, Matthew will return to SMU to complete his Ph.D. and plans to pursue a career as a science, technology and weapons analyst in the U.S. Department of Defense.

Madeline Pan, Taiwan, Boren Scholar

Undergraduate Madeline Pan is majoring in Biological Sciences and Health & Society, and minoring in Statistical Science and Chemistry. At SMU, Madeline has received an Engaged Learning Fellowship, Robert Mayer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and the Richter International Fellowship, which helped her to pursue various research topics related to COVID-19 and the antibiotic industry. She will travel to Singapore in August to improve her Mandarin Chinese language skills. As someone interested in becoming a physician, she will capitalize upon this opportunity to enhance her Chinese language and cultural competency skills in preparation for caring for a wider patient population.  Madeline is excited to thoroughly explore the city-state and connect with the locals and students at the language school.

SMU students interested in pursuing international study, research or travel should reach out to their respective fellowship offices. Undergraduate fellowships are administered by Brandon Miller (, assistant dean for University Honors Program and Fellowships, and graduate fellowships are administered by Rachel Ball-Phillips (, director of Graduate Fellowships and Awards in the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. READ MORE