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Congratulations to Drexel's 2020 Fulbright Honorees!

April 23, 2020

Congratulations to the latest Drexel students and alumni to be recognized by the Fulbright U.S. Student Program!

Three Drexel students and alumni have been selected as Finalists for the 2020-21 Fulbright US Student Program and two have been designated as Alternates. These students will join over 2,100 U.S. citizens who will study, research, teach, and undertake creative projects abroad in 2021 through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. We are proud of their hard work and persistence through the rigorous application process -- developing research proposals, crafting application essays, and incorporating feedback from multiple reviewers -- and are delighted that they have been recognized for their significant achievement and potential!

2020 Fulbright Honorees

Nicole Bedoya
BA Global Studies '19
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Brazil

Nicole Bedoya is a recent graduate who majored in Global Studies with minors in French and Spanish. She has a natural love for languages having also studied Italian, Portuguese, and Japanese along with her language minors. She hopes to use her time in Brazil to solidify her Portuguese skills while also allowing her to explore a vast country with a diverse history. During her undergraduate career she has had the fortune of pursuing education and work abroad in Cambodia, Brazil, England, Ireland, Argentina, and Spain. She wishes to continue to pursue global opportunities and encourage others to do so in her position as an English Teaching Assistant. Nicole would like to thank Dr. Hoekje, Dr. McMahon, Kelly Weissberger, Kate Hughes, and the Study Abroad team for their support during the application process and her undergraduate endeavors.

Isa Betancourt
MS Communication '19
Fulbright Study/Research Grant to Indonesia
Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellow

Isa Betancourt is a Curatorial Assistant of Entomology at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and she recently completed her Master's in communication at Drexel University. Isa is interested in documenting, protecting, and celebrating biodiversity. She has realized these interests through her work supporting research in the entomology collection at the Academy, through her book Backyard Bugs of Philadelphia, and through social media outreach initiatives like the #bugscope on

With the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Isa will work with the National University (UNAS) in Indonesia to collect data on insect biodiversity at the University's field site in Borneo, which can be used to inform restoration initiatives. The project will document the biodiversity by creating an UNAS entomological research collection. With the additional Fulbright-National Geographic Fellowship, she will have the opportunity to share stories from her experience, and the stories of those she meets, through National Geographic and social media platforms.

Neil Eelman
BS Computer Engineering '20, Honors
Fulbright Study/Research Grant, Alternate to the Netherlands

Neil Eelman is a computer engineering major with a minor in mathematics. Neil was awarded a Gilman Scholarship to the Netherlands for the Spring and Summer of 2019. With the support of Gilman, he completed his last co‐op at the Delft University of Technology, working in a quantum computing lab. His first co‐op was at Susquehanna International Group in Philadelphia, and his second was at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Maryland. With the support of a Fulbright Award, Neil is looking to return to TU Delft to complete a Master's in Computer Engineering, focusing on emerging quantum computer technologies.

Marissa Olson
BA Global Studies '20
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Spain

Marissa Olson is a Drexel Liberty Scholar majoring in Global Studies and minoring in Public Health and Spanish. Upon leaving the country for the first time for an Alternative Spring Break trip to Haiti during her freshman year, Marissa discovered a love for new cultures. Due to her global mindset, Marissa aspires to create social change and challenges herself to embark on new opportunities. She is a Dornsife Global Development Scholar, and completed her first co-op in Eswatini, Africa (formerly Swaziland) focusing on menstrual hygiene in schools and sanitation and hygiene education. While studying abroad in Costa Rica the following year, Marissa strived to learn more about health care in vulnerable populations. Marissa seeks to educate and inspire and has worked in two schools in West Philadelphia where she applies her global learning outcomes closer to home.

Marissa hopes to broaden her educational experience through the Fulbright program by teaching English in Spain. Through this experience, she hopes to underscore her dedication to women in leadership by starting a girls’ wellness and empowerment group, emphasizing confidence and self-care. Marissa embarks on her post-graduate journey thankful for the opportunity that the Liberty Scholars program has provided her. Additionally, she thanks Ahaji Schreffler for challenging her to think globally and sparking her love for travel as a mentor, Kate Hughes for being extremely supportive as an advisor throughout her college experience, and Kelly Weissberger who has helped her tremendously in the Fulbright application process.

Reva Swiedler
BA Global Studies '20, Honors
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, Alternate to Mexico

Reva Swiedler is a Global Studies student minoring in Public Health and Spanish. While at Drexel, she has been an officer and garden manager for Drexel’s Sierra Club and is a member of the Women’s Club Soccer team. Her interest in food justice and medical anthropology can be seen in her coursework, her time volunteering at various community gardens in Philadelphia, and as a tutor and clinic volunteer for Puentes de Salud. At Drexel, she was a Humanities and Social Sciences Fellow working under Dr. Erin Graham, researching “The Decline of Multilateralism in the United Nations” and spent her co-ops at a philanthropic foundation, the BESAFIR lab at UPenn, and a healthcare technology start-up. In her pursuit to learn Spanish, she has spent time abroad living with a host family in Mexico and studying at a university in Madrid, Spain. She is excited by the opportunity to go back to Mexico and hopes to enhance her ability to communicate complicated concepts of health with deeper cross-cultural understanding, to eventually work as a public health educator for Spanish-speaking communities in the U.S. She is grateful of the support from Dr. Erin Graham, Kate Hughes, and Kelly Weissberger.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards funding for one academic year of self-designed study, research, creative projects, or teaching English in over 160 countries around the world. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

The 2021-22 Fulbright U.S. Student Program is now open! For more information please visit our Fulbright U.S. Student Program webpage or email

More About the Fulbright Program

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.  The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State.  Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 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 more than 390,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all disciplines while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 59 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 84 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.

In the United States, the Institute of International Education supports the implementation of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, including conducting an annual competition for the scholarships.      
For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit