Eleven VCU Students and Alumni Receive 2016-2017 Fulbright Awards

May 2016

Eleven VCU alumni have received U.S. Fulbright Student Program awards for the 2016-2017 academic year. This is the largest group of recipients from VCU in a single year.

Four recipients have been awarded English Teaching Assistantship grants and seven have been awarded research grants. Three recipients are graduating this May, and eight are recent alumni.

  • AMINFajir Amin, from Richmond, Virginia, received her Master of Education in elementary education degree from VCU in 2012, ten years after attending the Al Iman School for Girls in Jerusalem, Palestine in 2002. With the support of her Fulbright award, she will study the effects of looping on the aptitude and attitude of students towards English language acquisition amongst elementary students in the United Arab Emirates. In the future, Amin plans to continue impacting education around the world on a macro level.
  • Maya ChesleyMaya Chesley, from Chesapeake, Virginia, received her Bachelor of Science in biology and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish degrees from VCU in December 2015. During her Fulbright year, Chesley will be teaching English in Panama as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. After her experience with Fulbright, Chesley plans to enter a Ph.D. program for TESOL and Spanish language, then go on to become an English as a Foreign Language professor for speakers of Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, and/or Danish.
  • Erin CogginsErin Coggins, from Alexandria, Virginia, received her Bachelor of Science in anthropology degree from VCU in 2014. With the support of her Fulbright grant, Coggins will be teaching English in Bulgaria as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. Beyond her experience with Fulbright, Coggins will pursue a graduate degree in international development.
  • DIAZVanessa Diaz, from Maywood, New Jersey, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design degree from VCU in 2015. Diaz will be teaching English in Jordan as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. After her Fulbright year, Diaz plans to pursue a master’s in an interdisciplinary program for intercultural communication, and then go on to work as a graphic designer for a nonprofit in the Middle East.
  • Dylan HalpernDylan Halpern, from Fairfax, Virginia, received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design degree from VCU in 2015. Halpern will be studying urban planning in São Paulo, Brazil with the support of his Fulbright research grant. After his experience with Fulbright, Halpern plans to pursue further graduate education in the realm of digital or connected urbanism.
  • Kaelne Koorn 1Kaelne Koorn, from Virginia Beach, Virginia, received her Bachelor of Arts in art history and Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography degrees from VCU in 2015. During her Fulbright year, Koorn will be studying the Asian marketplace in the colonial Plaza Mayor of Mexico City and its contribution to the development of a unique and multicultural Mexican artistic style. Beyond Fulbright, Koorn plans to join a graduate program in the study of colonial Latin American art, specializing in the theme of the evolution of style and the incorporation of multicultural motifs.
  • Ellen Korcovelos - Profile Photos 3-30-16-4943Ellen Korcovelos, from Richmond, Virginia, will receive her Bachelor of Science in bioinformatics degree from VCU in May. With the support of her Fulbright research grant, Korcovelos will be studying the linguistic variation between individuals with dementia and those without cognitive decay at the University of Toronto. After her Fulbright year, Korcovelos will return to work at Commonwealth Computer Research Inc., where she currently works as a data scientist. Eventually, she intends to pursue a Ph.D. in computational linguistics.
  • Shannon Laribo - FulbrightShannon Laribo, from Charleston, South Carolina, received her Bachelor of Arts in cinema and Bachelor of Science in sociology degrees from VCU in 2014. With the support of her Fulbright grant, Laribo will pursue her master’s degree at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. After she graduates from her master’s program, Laribo plans to work as a researcher for an education non-profit that focuses on reducing racial prejudices at the elementary school level. Eventually, she hopes to develop anti-racism curriculum for secondary students across the globe.
  • Lynn SecondoLynn Secondo, from Maumee, Ohio, is pursuing her Ph.D. in chemical engineering. With the support of her Fulbright grant, Secondo will be continuing her current research on metal oxide fuel additives in diesel exhaust and the nanoparticle effects on the human lungs with the project’s collaborator in Thermi, Greece, at the Chemical Process and Energy Resources Institute. After her Fulbright year, Secondo plans to finish her degree at VCU and pursue a career in academia related to sustainability in chemical engineering.
  • Charles PerrisCharles Perris, from Montclair, New Jersey, will receive his Bachelor of Arts in history degree from VCU in May. Perris will be teaching English in Germany as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. After his year teaching in the Fulbright ETA program, Perris hopes to attend graduate school in Germany, studying either 20th Century German history or American Studies. He plans to eventually teach at the high school or university level.
  • WILLIAMSLevester Williams, from Lasing, Michigan, will receive his Master of Fine Art in sculpture and extended media degree from VCU in May. With the support of his Fulbright grant, Williams will explore the role of identity, memory and community in the urban landscape through the critical lens of art in Johannesburg, South Africa. Williams has proposed to create artworks that will engage with the politics and poetics of space and place surrounding Johannesburg and its ongoing transformation into a post-apartheid city. After his experience with Fulbright, Williams will begin his career as a visual artist.

With this latest group of Fulbright Student Scholarship recipients, 44 VCU students and recent alumni have been offered Fulbright awards since the National Scholarship Office was created in 2005.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries, through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills. Sponsored by the United States Department of State, the Fulbright Program provides funding for students, scholars and professionals to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university teaching and teaching in elementary and secondary schools.

Every Fulbright recipient from VCU worked with the National Scholarship Office (NSO). The NSO works with VCU alumni, graduate students, and undergraduates who wish to compete for prestigious national and international scholarships, such as Fulbright. If you are interested in applying for Fulbright or other nationally or internationally competitive scholarships, please contact the NSO at natlscholar@vcu.edu or (804) 828-6868.