CHICAGO (March 2, 2016) — North Park University has once again been named a top-producer of students winning Fulbright awards, keeping company with schools that include the University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Villanova, and more. The Chronicle of Higher Education published this list in conjunction with a February 22 article exploring Fulbrights’ efforts to diversify the students and scholars who participate in this international exchange program.
This honor as a top-producer is based on the 2014–2015 academic year, when seven North Park students applied for the program, and four were granted awards: Kate Asnicar, Andrea Mitchell, Christina Phillip, and Natalie Wilson. Since 2008, graduating North Park students have consistently won awards taking them around the globe, including to Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Andorra, Poland, Romania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Malaysia, Ecuador, Turkey, and Colombia.
Dr. Linda Parkyn, professor of Spanish, spearheads North Park’s efforts around Fulbright awards, serving as mentor and encourager to student applicants. She has been a Fulbright Scholar and twice a Fulbright Senior Specialist, and readily admits to having “Fulbrightis.” Good candidates, Parkyn says, have stellar grades, a keen interest in some other part of the world, involvement with immigrants and/or refugees at home, and knowledge of another language. “Fulbright is a prestigious award,” says Parkyn. “But to have this experience early in your life, to give back your first year out of college and become an American ambassador sharing language and culture, it will affect your career choices for the rest of your life—and affect change for good in our world!”
Parkyn has been working this academic year with student applicants, but official decisions on who will win student awards will be revealed by the Fulbright Program later this spring. “I can’t give anything away about our student applicants, but we do anticipate more North Parkers to travel the world with Fulbright this year,” she said. “We have three Fulbright semi-finalists for the 2015–2016 year.”
The February list of top-producing institutions is categorized by institution type, and North Park falls into the “master’s institution” category, a reflection of standard Carnegie Classifications for higher education institutions. This is the second time North Park has earned this distinction.
The Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State. Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 300,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential—with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.