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Second College of Notre Dame Graduate Named as 2010 Fulbright Scholar

September 20, 2010

Micah Yousefi, a 2010 graduate of College of Notre Dame of Maryland, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship to South Korea to teach English as a foreign language, the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced recently. Ms. Yousefi is one of more than 1,500 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2010-2011 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, and joins Kelsey Ritzel (’10) as one of two College of Notre Dame alumnae to receive the honor this year.

A native of Street, Md., Ms. Yousefi is a 2002 graduate of Walkersville Christian School. She graduated from Notre Dame in May, with a degree in political science and spoke on behalf of the class of 2010 at commencement. At Notre Dame, Ms. Yousefi was a Morrissy Honors scholar and received both the Philosophy Departmental Award and the Jeanne Hackley Stevenson Award for Academic Excellence in History and Political Science. She is a member of Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honors Society), Phi Beta Delta (National Honors Society for Achievement in International Education); Pi Sigma Alpha (National Political Science Honors Society), Phi Sigma Tau (National Philosophy Honors Society), Delta Epsilon Sigma (National Scholastic Honor Society) and Kappa Gamma Pi (National Catholic College Graduate Honors Society). Upon her return from South Korea, Ms. Yousefi plans to study law and international relations.

"Fulbright Teaching Assistantships offer students a one year break from the school-career treadmill, during which they can open their minds while becoming immersed in a different culture, teaching, volunteering and researching a topic that interests them,” said Leonor Blum, M.A., associate professor of history and administrator of the Fulbright Program at Notre Dame. 

According to Ms. Blum, Ms. Yousefi has already arrived in South Korea and is currently in a Korean language immersion course to prepare for her year of teaching English as a second language. During her stay she also hopes to volunteer at an orphanage and at a North Korean refugee camp. At the refugee camp she wants to study the role of North Korean women and compare it to the role of women in South Korea.

Over the years, the 11 Notre Dame students who were accepted for either research or teaching Fulbright grants have continued on to graduate school. Ms. Ritzel is due to travel to Indonesia to begin her program shortly. Cassandra Bales, who just returned from Indonesia, is now pursuing a degree in International Relations. 

Notre Dame was recently ranked by the Institute for International Education, which administers the Fulbright program, to a list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most Fulbright students for the 2009-2010 academic year — the only Maryland college in its category (master’s institutions), and one of just three from the state, to be recognized with this honor. 

College of Notre Dame of Maryland is recognized for its commitment to a liberal arts education, including strong teacher preparation and nursing degree programs and small class sizes. The Women’s College—the first Catholic college for women in the United States to award the four-year baccalaureate degree—offers 26 majors. Notre Dame was named to the “Great Schools, Great Prices” listing in America’s Best Colleges 2010. In fall 2009 the College welcomed its inaugural class to the School of Pharmacy. Weekend and Accelerated colleges offer part-time programs for working women and men. Graduate Studies in education, nursing, management, communication and liberal studies provide students with a focused contemporary curriculum. Visit ndm.edu for more information.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide. 

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. 

Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education, and athletics. Forty Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 75 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes. Prominent Fulbright alumni include: Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director and Founder, Grameen Bank, and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient; John Atta Mills, President of Ghana; Lee Evans, Olympic Gold Medalist; Ruth Simmons, President, Brown University; Riccardo Giacconi, Physicist and 2002 Nobel Laureate; Amar Gopal Bose, Chairman and Founder, Bose Corporation; Renee Fleming, soprano; Gish Jen, Writer; and Daniel Libeskind, Architect. 

Fulbright recipients are among over 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. For more than sixty years, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has funded and supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education .

For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, please visit: http://fulbright.state.gov or contact James A. Lawrence, Office of Academic Exchange Programs, telephone 202-632-3241, or e-mail fulbright@state.gov