Five Salisbury University Students win US Fulbright Student Awards & 3 Named Fulbright Student Alternates


Salisbury University has five winners of prestigious U.S. Fulbright Student awards for the 2019-20 academic year, matching its largest number to date.

Seniors John Bunke and Lydia Narum earned English Teaching Assistantships (ETAs) in Azerbaijan and the Slovak Republic, respectively. Seniors Austin Dabbs and Gabrielle Voithofer and master’s student Sam Stevens won research awards to Germany, Poland and Hungary, respectively.

Three others were named Fulbright Student alternates. Senior psychology major Mia Dikos of Timonium, MD, and recent communications graduate Clayton Levy ’19 of Wyckoff, NJ, both SU Honors College students, are alternates for ETAs in Spain and Bulgaria, respectively. Senior conflict analysis and dispute resolution major Will Fried of Bethesda, MD, is an alternate for a study award to Finland.

This marks the first year SU has had eight students recognized at the finalist level.

“This is again a record year for SU,” said Dr. Kristen Walton, director of the University’s Nationally Competitive Fellowships Office. “This is a spectacular win and demonstrates yet again how SU continues to be not only a force in Maryland, but our students can compete with those at all the best universities in the country.”

Bunke, an international studies major from Silver Spring, MD, also is a recent winner of the national Critical Language Scholarship and prestigious Boren Scholarship to study the Azerbaijani language.

“This English Teaching Assistantship opportunity is a chance for me to act as a cultural ambassador for the United States abroad while developing intimate global connections through establishing citizen-to-citizen relations on the basis of education,” he said.

Narum, from Montgomery Village, MD, said she looks forward to sharing U.S. culture and her knowledge of science and English with students abroad.

“As a biology major with research experience and English and athletic coaching minors, I admire the guiding principles of the Slovak Republic’s Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport, and I am passionate to partake in a program that aims to form well-rounded individuals,” she said.

Dabbs, a chemistry and interdisciplinary studies major and SU Honors College student from Columbia, MD, will work to develop a new lateral flow assay (LFA) at the University of Regensberg. He hopes his research will help increase the speed of diagnosing diseases and genetic ailments while decreasing testing costs.

“The Fulbright will allow me to work alongside Dr. Antje Bäeumner, the leading researcher in this field, and to develop an LFA capable of detecting multiple currently evasive diseases,” he said.

Voithofer, a biology and psychology major and SU Honors College student from California, MD, will study a model of human McArdle’s disease, a metabolic muscular disorder, in zebrafish at the University of Wrocław, Poland.

“Dr. Marta Migocka-Patrzałek, a professor in the department of biology at the University of Wrocław, has created a novel model of human McArdle’s disease in pursuit of a cure for this disorder,” she said. “This is the only lab in the world where I will have the opportunity to work this with this model, allowing me to contribute to the identification of new potential drug therapies for McArdle’s disease.”

Stevens, of Queenstown, MD, earned his B.A. in history in 2018 as a member of the SU Honors College and expects to complete his M.A. in history this year. He will research the history of Hungary under Ottoman rule during the Long Turkish War of 1593-1606, focusing on the interplay between borders, imperial ecology and military history.

“While Ottoman narrative sources on this topic are available in the English-speaking world, going to Hungary will allow me to consult sources in Hungarian to better understand this conflict and its broader implications on the Ottoman Empire,” he said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fulbright officials have postponed placement dates for this year’s recipients until January.

In the past six years, more than 60 SU students have won national and international fellowships, scholarships and awards. SU had a record number of 15 Fulbright Student semifinalists this year.

For three consecutive years, The Chronicle of Higher Education has spotlighted SU as one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright Students. The campus also has a long history of faculty, administrator and alumni Fulbrighters.

The Fulbright is America’s flagship international exchange program and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

SU students or alumni who are interested in applying for national fellowships, may contact Walton at for assistance.

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