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Congratulations to Drexel's 2021 Fulbright Semi-Finalists!

February 15, 2021

We are pleased to announce that 14 Drexel students and recent alumni have been selected as semi-finalists for the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program for 2021-22. These students spent considerable time developing research or study proposals, crafting application essays, and incorporating feedback from supportive readers.

After being chosen by Fulbright U.S. National Screening Committees, their applications have been passed to the host countries for final selection. They will hear in the coming months whether they receive the award. We wish them the best of luck!

2021 Fulbright Semi-Finalists


Kathlyn Elliott
PhD student Educational Leadership

Fulbright Program:
Study/Research Grant, Finland
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kristy Kelly

Kathlyn Elliott is a PhD student in the School of Education, focused on educational leadership. She was a high school history teacher for 10 years before returning to school to earn her doctoral degree. Kathlyn's research is on preventing violent extremism through education in both the US and Finland. If awarded the Fulbright, her research would look at the implementation of the Finnish National Action Plan for the Prevention of Radicalization and Extremism, specifically the REDI model (Resilience, Democracy and Dialogue Against Violent Radicalization and Extremism in Educational Institutions) in both formal and informal education. Kathlyn would be working with the Growing Up Radical Project at the University of Helsinki, which designed the REDI model.

Haley Carlton
BS Environmental Science '21
Fulbright Program: Study/Research Grant, Taiwan
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Watson

Haley Carlton is an environmental science major with minors in geoscience and bioscience. She was involved in several research projects at Drexel and other universities and organizations. Her first research experience was at Rutgers University, where she studied social hierarchies among twin goats. At Drexel, she worked with Dr. Loyc Vanderkluysen studying strombolian eruptions and is currently working with Dr. Elizabeth Watson to study the water quality in tidally restricted ponds in Elkhorn Slough. She also completed co-ops in the coastal and marine sciences with Stevens Institute of Technology, NOAA Fisheries at Sandy Hook, and the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. These projects included studying living shorelines along the New Jersey coast, using mercury as a tracer in monkfish, and describing the early life history of Ronquilus Jordani. Haley is a member of the Drexel Club Swim Team and the Paleo-Geo Club. Her research interests are fisheries and physical oceanography.

Rebecca Russ
MA Dance/Movement Therapy & Mental Health Counseling '20

Fulbright Program: Study/Research Grant, Israel
Faculty Mentor: Dawn Morningstar

Rebecca recently graduated with an MA in dance/movement therapy and mental health counseling. She delivers relational and embodiment-based psychotherapy. She believes the way we connect with one another is the key to understanding ourselves at a deeper level. Rebecca has worked with individuals from all age groups in a variety of settings including psychiatric hospitals, partial-hospitals, schools, adult day-centers, and non-profit sectors. Her professional aim is to help individuals express themselves from a place of truth, access their creative potential for healing, and cultivate a deeper connection to themselves and loved ones. Currently, she works with Addressing Loneliness through Movement & Art (ALMA), a non-profit which serves to increase a sense of belonging and vitality to isolated older adults by creating opportunities for intergenerational connections with volunteers through movement, music, and art.

Gowri Cheepurupalli
BA Political Science '19
Fulbright Program: English Teaching Assistantship, Malaysia

Gowri Cheepurupalli graduated from Drexel University in 2019 with a BA in political science and minors in legal studies and Spanish. While at Drexel, Gowri was engaged with many student organizations such as the Undergraduate Student Government Association, Mock Trial, Biddle Law Society and Drexel Jhalak. With a special interest in politics and grassroots work, Gowri also had the opportunity to work with Governor Tom Wolf's re-election campaign, the Pennsylvania State Senate, Population Connection and Philadelphia City Councilwoman Maria D. Quinones-Sanchez. Upon graduation, Gowri joined Peace Corps and was a HIV/AIDS capacity building specialist in Botswana focusing her work on gender-based violence as well as orphans and vulnerable children. While in Botswana, she worked extensively with the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, SOS Children's Village, and BONEPWA+. Due to COVID19, she was evacuated prematurely from Peace Corps. Gowri hopes to gain more international exposure through the Fulbright ETA in Malaysia, after which she wants to pursue a law degree with a focus on children's and women's rights.

Emma Dietz
BS Product Design '21
Fulbright Program: Study/Research Grant, Finland

Majoring in product design has let Emma be both creative and analytical, ready to solve any problem at hand. Her personal passions lie in making clothes and other goods which she brings into her work life. Her work at the fashion brand Grant Blvd pairs social justice with fashion design and sustainability, and there she has helped lead a team of seamstresses through multiple collection launches. Emma's other endeavors include four years of being the Production and Design Manager of Drexel's student-run newspaper, The Triangle, and being the President of the club swimming team in her senior year. Using her knowledge of sustainability in design, the Fulbright will allow her to collaborate with Demos Helsinki to create governance for the blue economy of Finland. If awarded, she is excited to become immersed in Finnish design and culture and lend her skills to help create a more fair and just future.

KerryLyn Kercher
MA Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling '21
Fulbright Program: Study/Research Grant, Germany
Faculty Mentor: Christina Devereaux

KerryLyn will be graduating from Drexel's dance/movement therapy (DMT) and counseling master's program in the Spring of 2021. Her background is in professional dance studies and she holds a BFA in dance performance from Shenandoah University. Originally from Allentown, PA, KerryLyn has lived in Buffalo, N.Y., Washington, D.C., and New York City pursuing her dance career. Her new path in DMT allows her curiosities about the healing power of movement to be utilized in a therapeutic setting. Honing these skills internationally will allow for culturally diverse development as a therapist and create cross-cultural connections that inform her own personal development.

Parisa Khoshnood
BA Global Studies and Modern Languages '20
Fulbright Program: English Teaching Assistantship, Turkey

Parisa holds a B.A. in global studies & modern languages with a concentration in justice and human rights, as well as a French minor. She currently serves as the Education Program Administrator at HIAS Pennsylvania. In this role, Parisa supports school enrollment for newly arrived refugee youth, adult ESL, K-8, and high school programming, to provide a safe space for multilevel language learners using trauma-informed teaching strategies. As an ETA in Turkey, she hopes to combine her interests in refugee education and English language learning while exploring all that Turkey has to offer. She would like to express her gratitude to her Fulbright advisor, Kelly Weissberger, for all of her encouragement and support!

Anas Qatanani
MD '22
Fulbright Program: Study/Research Grant, Jordan
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stecen Rosenzweig

Anas Qatanani is a medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine and an alumnus of Drexel University, where he majored in biology and minored in philosophy. Anas's interests lie at the intersection of medicine and religion in the field of medical ethics. He enjoys delving into ethical dilemmas facing patients and physicians, such as those associated with organ donation and mechanical ventilation. Anas plans to earn a master's degree in Islamic studies from the University of Jordan. He is seeking an education and experiences to build a solid foundation upon which he can be an ethically practicing physician that helps his patients prioritize their values through shared decision-making. In the future, Anas hopes to pursue other advanced degrees in varying ethical systems to expand his utility as a universal healthcare provider.

Danielle Wolfson
BS Custom-Designed Major - Museum Studies '20, Honors
Fulbright Program: Study/Research Grant, Bulgaria
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Paula Marantz Cohen, Dr. Kevin Egan, Dr. Rosalind Remer, and Mrs. Kate Hughes

Danielle Wolfson is a recent Pennoni Honors College graduate who created her own major through Drexel University's Custom-Design Major program. Her museum studies major allowed her to craft an interdisciplinary curriculum focused on art management, history, and social science. Alongside her minors in political science and art history, she created an academic environment that allowed her to critically evaluate the cultural field. In her professional career, she hopes to advocate for a more transparent cultural sector through policy work.

Danielle hopes that by receiving a Fulbright grant, she will be able to start researching contemporary issues related to cultural heritage. In Bulgaria, she would work with the Balkan Heritage Foundation to study how monuments inform a city's public identity on a local, national, and transnational level. She selected Sofia as her case study, due to the city's unique preservation of culture, as you can find physical remnants of its ancestry everywhere. From the ancient Roman city of Serdica's amphitheater and thermal baths to Byzantine, Ottoman, and Soviet Bloc architecture. In all, this opportunity would allow Danielle to study monuments' functionality in a unique and worthwhile way. Finally, Danielle would like to thank Dean Paula Marantz Cohen, Dr. Kevin Egan, Dr. Rosalind Remer, Leah Gates, and Kelly Weissberger from Drexel, and Dr. Brian Daniels from the University of Pennsylvania's Cultural Heritage Center for their continued support.

Lila Vanni
BS Film & Video '21
Fulbright Program: Study Grant - Global Wales Postgraduate Award, Wales
Faculty Mentors: Gerard Hooper and Ian Abrams

Lila Vanni is a Drexel Liberty Scholar majoring in film amd video and minoring in art history, film studies, and screenwriting. Upon leaving the East Coast for the first time, during her sophomore year for an Intensive Course Abroad (ICA) in Cuba, she uncovered her passion for telling the intimate stories of the cultures and communities she explores. She then participated in the Drexel in L.A. program, gaining her first Hollywood internship before promptly going on to study at the National University of Ireland, Galway, where she created a documentary about her experience learning the Irish language. Outside of filmmaking, Lila seeks to support creativity within her community as a volunteer guitar instructor at Drexel's Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships and as the treasurer of MAYA Literary Magazine.

Krishna Venigalla
BS Custom-Designed Major '21, Honors
Fulbright Program: English Teaching Assistantship, Indonesia
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Kevin Egan and Jennifer Adams

Krishna is custom-designed major at Drexel University tailoring her major to understand the various aspects of sustainability in the context of global development. She enjoys working with kids and conducting research on education in the developing world and volunteering her time to improve opportunities for young people to help build a more sustainable world. Krishna was a Dornsife Global Development Scholar in Zambia and later studied a term in Costa Rica and volunteered her time teaching English to adults with Down Syndrome. She is also the founder of Impactive, a platform and network under works that helps young people around the world connect on issues they care about.

Jorge Fortin-Mejia
BS Communication '19
Fulbright Program: English Teaching Assistantship, Argentina

Jorge is a recent graduate who majored in communication with a minor in writing. Throughout his professional career, he’s worked in different realms of communication — nonprofits, literary publications, and public broadcasting companies — to broaden his understanding of language. He also has a great fascination for literature, specifically for short fiction stories. As an undergraduate, Jorge participated in the Rittenhouse Writers’ Group and through this writing workshop, sharpened his writing skills and developed confidence as a storyteller. He hopes to bring this curiosity for language to his Argentinian students if awarded the Fulbright grant. Simultaneously, he looks forward to connecting deeply to the Argentinian identity, which was created by the amalgamation of various ethnicities and nationalities. He wishes to turn his love for literature, language, and culture into an academic career, where he will be able to encourage students to participate in global exchanges.

Jieying Chen
BS/MS Marketing and Elementary Education '20, Honors
Fulbright Program: English Teaching Assistantship, Taiwan

Jieying decided to apply to the ETA program because she wants to gain more experience and learn skills from other teachers. Teaching in Taiwan not only will provide her the opportunity to learn from other teachers, but to learn how to interact and educate students whose English is considered their second language in Asia. She believes that with her passion in teaching and experiences of both eastern and western cultures, she will be a good candidate for the ETA program in Taiwan. This experience will help her learn to be a better bridge between cultures and facilitate cross-cultural understanding.

 *This does not include the students who declined to be publicized in this step of the process.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards funding for one academic year of self-designed study, research, creative projects, or teaching English in over 140 countries around the world. 

For more information please visit the Fulbright U.S. Student Program website or email

Special thanks to the Drexel faculty and staff members who worked with us during the summer and fall to advise individual applicants, review campus applications, and conduct preliminary review and campus interviews:

Stacy Ake, Co-Director, Certificate Program in Medical Humanities, Associate Teaching Professor of Philosophy

Bill Albertson, Instructor, English Language Center

Pete Amato, Director, Programs in Philosophy and Teaching Professor of Philosophy, Department of English and Philosophy

Ben Barnett, Instructor, English Language Center

Ellana Black, Academic Advisor, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

Natalia Broz, Associate Director or Graduate Programs, School of Biomedical Engineering, Sciences, and Health Systems

Paula Marantz Cohen, Distinguished Professor of English and Dean of the Pennoni Honors College

Laura-Edythe Coleman, Assistant Teaching Professor, Arts & Entertainment Enterprise

Kimberly David-Chung, Assistant Vice President, Virtual Student Experience, Drexel Online

Lauren Davis, Program Manager, Academic Program, Pennoni Honors College

Casey Devine, Coordinator, Office of Global Engagement

Kevin Egan, Director of Academic Programs, Pennoni Honors College

Arthur Frank, Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health

Tasha Gardner, Director for the Center for Inclusive Education and Scholarship

Tali Gidalevitz, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences

Katie Gross, Director of Recruitment and Retention, Westphal College of Media Arts and Design

Marcia Henisz, Senior Director of International Health, Safety, and Security, Office of Global Engagement

Cathy Hernandez, Adjunct Instructor, Westphal College of Media Arts and Design

Tom Hindman, Academic Advisor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Barbara Hoekje, Associate Professor of Communication and Graduate Faculty Member, Department of Communication, College of Arts and Sciences

Brian Kantorek, Assistant Director of Marketing and Media, Pennoni Honors College

Emily Kashka-Ginsburg, Assistant Director, Undergraduate Research and Enrichment Programs, Pennoni Honors College

Kristy Kelly, Assistant Clinical Professor and Program Director of Global and International Education

Emmanuel Koku, Associate Professor of Sociology and Graduate Faculty Member, Communication, Culture & Media, Department of Sociology

Daniel Korschun, Associate Professor, Assistant Department Head, and Stephen Cozen Research Scholar in Marketing, LeBow College of Business

Roger Kurtz, Department Head and Professor, Department of English and Philosophy

Beth Leonberg, Associate Clinical Professor; Director, Dietetics Education Programs; Interim Vice-Chair, Nutrition Sciences, College of Nursing and Health Professions

Melinda Lewis, Associate Director of Marketing and Media, Pennoni Honors College

Brent Luvaas, Director of the Minor Program in Anthropology, Associate Professor, and Graduate Faculty Member; Center for Science, Technology and Society, Department of Global Studies and Modern Languages, College of Arts and Sciences

Maria Matus-Mendoza, Associate Professor of Spanish, Department of Global Studies and Modern Languages, College of Arts and Sciences

Kate McAloon, Advisor, Steinbright Career Development Center

Rachael McBride, Academic Advisor, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

Janel McCloskey, Associate Director, University Writing Program(Drexel Writing Center)

Bernetta Millonde, Director, Diversity Initiatives & Community Relations, Undergraduate Admissions

Jaya Mohan, Director of Undergraduate Research and Enrichment Programs, Pennoni Honors College

Marna Mozeff, Managing Director & Faculty, Division for Exploring Students, Goodwin College of Professional Studies

Kristine Mulhorn, Chair, Health Administration Department and Teaching Professor, College of Nursing and Health Professions

VK Narayanan, Deloitte Touche Jones Stubbs Professor, Management, LeBow College of Business

Dagmar Niebur, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering

Karen Nulton, Director, Writing Assessment and Teaching Professor of English, Department of English and Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences

Young-Min Park, Education Abroad Advisor, Office of Global Engagement

Abioseh Porter, Professor of English, Department of English and Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences

Florette Press, Senior Academic Adviser, College of Arts and Sciences

Gordon Richards, Professor, Department of Physics, College of Arts and Sciences

Greg Risser, Biomedical Engineering, PHD Doctoral Candidate, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health Systems

Idris Robinson, Director of Global Health Programs and the Dornsife Global Development Scholars Program, Office of Global Engagement

Dorilona Rose, Director of Policy & External Affairs, Office of the Dean, College of Engineering

Andrew Sandefur, Education Abroad Advisor, Office of Global Engagement

Joe Santangelo, Senior Academic Advisor, Honors Program, Pennoni Honors College

Simone Schlichting-Artur, Teaching Professor of German, Global Studies and Modern Languages 

Adrian Shieh, Associate Teaching Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health Systems

Denise Snow, Academic Advisor, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

Suruchi Sood, Associate Professor, Community Health and Prevention, Dornsife School of Public Health

Jeff Stanley, Adjunct Professor, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

Ashley Trump, Education Abroad Advisor, Office of Global Engagement

Marc Vallone, Associate Director of International Admissions

Loyc Vanderkluysen, Associate Professor, Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science, Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science, College of Arts and Sciences

Nielufar Varjavand, Professor, Department of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine

Jin Wen, Professor, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering

Rachel Wenrick, Director, Writers Room

Julia Wisniewski, Associate Director; Honors Program, Pennoni Honors College

Erica Zelinger, Director of Marketing and Media, Pennoni Honors College

Emily Zimmerman, Director of the Criminal Law Program and Professor of Law, Kline School of Law

Ian Zimmerman,Communication, Culture & Media, PHD Doctoral Candidate, College of Arts and Sciences