Welcome to the Loyola University Newsroom

Print this page

Three Loyola students selected for prestigious Fulbright Scholar Program

Loyola press release - June 1, 2015

Three Loyola University New Orleans students received Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants to study abroad from the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and the U.S. Department of State.

Molly Alper ‘14, Joseph Patrick Dougherty ‘14 and Mara Steven ‘15 are among the more than 1,900 students offered an opportunity to travel and study abroad for the 2015-16 academic year. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.

"The Fulbright is one of the most prestigious awards an undergraduate can win," said Laura Murphy, Ph.D., assistant professor of English and adviser to Loyola's Fulbright applicants. "We are so incredibly proud of all 14 students who put together brilliant and highly competitive applications this year. This is the highest number of Fulbright winners Loyola has ever had. In the last few years, Loyola has dedicated additional effort to guiding students through the competitive process of applying for major awards like the Fulbright and the Rhodes. These wins are a very visible sign of the excellent educations and one-on-one attention our students receive here at Loyola."

Alper, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in sociology and Spanish, will travel to South America to do research on human trafficking, an issue she has been studying since her freshman year at Loyola. She has worked on campus as a member of Loyola's chapter of Free the Slaves, a student organization working to raise awareness of and combat slavery and human trafficking. She also interned with Loyola's Modern Slavery Research Project, a program working to address the issue of human trafficking in New Orleans, the U.S. and abroad.

"I plan to research how governments and nonprofits can improve social services for victims of human trafficking," Alper said. "More specifically, I will be interviewing trafficking survivors about the reintegration process and how we can improve long-term services so that victims do not have to return to that life. I am looking forward to building a relationship between human trafficking organizations in the U.S. and South America. I also am looking forward to doing some hiking throughout Argentina."

Dougherty, a 2014 graduate with a degree in history, plans to travel to Indonesia to teach English, then return to New Orleans to teach.

"I chose Indonesia because it was a great way to go to a country outside the U.S. and outside my comfort zone," Dougherty said. "I wanted a challenge. I'm looking forward to learning a new language and seeing what it's like to live there."

Steven, who graduated this year with degrees in history and psychology, was awarded the Fulbright to travel to Tajikistan to teach English.

"The experience applying helped me organize my thoughts for the future and reflect upon what I have done while at school," Steven said. "Writing the essay was a daunting task, but very rewarding when I had a finished product."

Murphy said that Steven's experience is typical of the Fulbright applicants.

"The application process helps students recognize the value of their Loyola educations, articulate their intellectual ambitions and hone their life goals. I encourage all students with a strong GPA and an interest in living abroad to apply."

Established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 360,000 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. It 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 program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.