For more than 70 years, UC's top students have received prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program Awards –– begun by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1945 –– to meet, work, live and study abroad for an academic year of cultural exchange.  



Bright minds

Five UC students are honored with prestigious Fulbright scholarships to study abroad in Asia, Africa and Europe for the upcoming academic year.




By Melanie Schefft

(513) 556-5213

Photos: provided and UC Creative Services


June 1, 2017

Five students and recent graduates from the University of Cincinnati are stretching their intellectual muscle beyond our borders after earning Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards to teach English, conduct research and study abroad for the 2017-18 academic year.
Bearcats Avery Maddox, Corey-Levi Cloyd, Samantha McLean, Mohamed Elzarka and 2012 UC alumnus Wyatt Niehaus are five of over 1,900 U.S. students, artists and early career professionals offered Fulbright program grants this year to study and teach in over 155 countries worldwide.
UC’s talented group is currently beginning their Fulbright year immersed in projects ranging from researching refugee immigration in Germany and studying green infrastructure in Africa to teaching English in Vietnam, documenting historical legacies in Amsterdam and developing psychosocial care in Bosnia.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered at UC through the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards (NCA).





“We are proud of these students, who serve as ambassadors for UC and the U.S. during their year abroad. They are continuing a long tradition of UC students and alumni winning Fulbright grants to engage in exciting international experiences and build crucial relationships across the globe.”

‒ Cara Pickett, NCA assistant director and Fulbright program advisor for UC

In the last five years, 19 UC student Fulbright winners have made an international impact in a variety of ways such as, improving global green architecture and infrastructure, studying ancient influences on current climate change and helping close cultural gaps through music performance and teaching English in countries all over the world –– just to name a few.
UC’s past recipients join a distinguished list of Fulbright alumni who now hold leadership positions in a wide range of professions including medicine, education, business, government service, the arts and more.


More about this year's honorees:


Avery Maddox sitting at desk with computer and co-worker while working in Dr. Leah Kottyan's lab at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. photo/Avery Maddox

UC A&S student Avery Maddox while working in Dr. Leah Kottyan's lab at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.




Avery Maddox

Master of Science candidate in Biomedical Engineering (A&S)
Avery Maddox is a recipient of the 2017-18 Fulbright English teaching assistantship to teach English in Vietnam.
As an educator, Maddox has served as a teaching assistant at Chongqing University in China, as well as a teaching assistant, tutor and mentor at UC.
In addition to teaching English while in Vietnam, Maddox plans to further his Fulbright studies by volunteering at local medical clinics and engaging his Vietnamese students, perhaps by forming a choir or computer programming club.

“I am inspired by the difference Fulbright makes through its promotion of education and mutual understanding between nations. I look forward to volunteering at a local hospital to learn more about medical care in Vietnam and the valuable experience I will gain toward becoming a future volunteer physician.”

‒ Avery Maddox

Upon completion of his Fulbright study abroad, Maddox plans to attend medical school so he can eventually volunteer internationally through organizations such as Doctors Without Borders.


UC student and 2017 Fulbright winner Corey-Levi Cloyd and his son in front of a large rock. photo/Corey-Levi Cloyd

UC A&S student Corey-Levi Cloyd with his son Cyrus Kai. 


Corey-Levi Cloyd

Master of Arts candidate in German (A&S)
Corey-Levi Cloyd is a recipient of the 2017-18 Fulbright Study/Research Grant to research intercultural German studies and German as a foreign language at the University of Gӧttingen. Cloyd will study the dynamic between immigrant and refugee populations and their host nations in the context of globalization.
His research will focus on the growing fears of the loss of a German cultural “identity” and the presumed pressure on German society to assimilate a myriad of cultures.
While in Germany, Corey will volunteer to teach English and/or German at a refugee center and hopes to help facilitate immigrant and refugees’ desire for social integration and mutual understanding without succumbing to the urge for cultural assimilation.
Having served previously in the U.S. military as an intelligence analyst, Cloyd plans to apply for officer candidate school after completing his Fulbright study abroad.
Cloyd hopes to become a foreign area officer in the U.S. Army, a position that requires near native foreign language proficiency and extensive knowledge of a foreign culture –– with Europe as his regional area of concentration. His immersion in the German language and culture as a Fulbright student will help bring him closer to achieving these goals.



Samantha McLean standing in front of a natural rock arch in Arches National Park, Grand County, Utah. photo/Samantha McLean
Portrait of UC student Samantha McLean. photo/Samantha McLean

UC student Samantha McLean while in Arches National Park, Utah (left).  


Samantha McLean

Master of Arts candidate in Community Planning (DAAP)
Samantha McLean is a recipient of the 2017-18 Fulbright Study/Research Grant to study green infrastructure and the use of natural landscapes to manage functions such as stormwater drainage in Senegal, Africa.
McLean is a community planning student and is particularly interested in how green infrastructure can be implemented to preserve a UNESCO World Heritage site facing climate change threats.

During her Fulbright study abroad –– with the support of Adrien Coly at the Université de Gaston-Berger –– McLean will look into how green infrastructure can be used as a tool to enhance the overall environmental, social and economic benefits to the community of Île Saint-Louis, Senegal.
While in Senegal, McLean also looks forward to immersing herself in the local culture and volunteering with a local nonprofit, Bridge Kids International.

After combining her graduate thesis work and her Fulbright research into a successful doctoral dissertation, McLean hopes to contribute to sustainable urban planning, especially in historic cities affected by climate change.


UC student Mohamed Elzarka standing in front of McMicken Hall. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

Mohamed Elzarka in front of UC's McMicken Hall after receiving the Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence Award in 2017. Photo: Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services


Mohamed Elzarka

Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts graduate, A&S ’17
Mohamed Elzarka is a recipient of the 2017-18 Fulbright Study/Research Grant to Bosnia and Herzegovina to study mental health with the Wings of Hope Foundation.
While abroad, Elzarka plans to work on the development of psychosocial care as a result of the Yugoslavian civil war and explore the community-oriented nature of the Wings of Hope Foundation work and how this methodology is related to important determinants of mental health care access and outcomes. This research will help him complete his master’s degree in public health in 2018, with a concentration in global health.
In 2016, Elzarka was named honorable mention for the Goldwater Scholarship, which recognizes excellence in STEM research. In 2017 he received the UC Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence Award, was a graduate of the University Honors Program and was UC’s first Truman Scholarship recipient, awarded to students dedicated to public service.
Elzarka will eventually pursue a medical and doctoral degree in either epidemiology or public health policy on issues of mental health. His goal is to one day mitigate the effects or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions through his research.


Portrait of Wyatt Niehaus, UC 2012 DAAP alum.

Wyatt Niehaus, DAAP '12 received the Fulbright U.S. Student Study/Research grant for recent graduates.  


Wyatt Niehaus

Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate, DAAP ’12

As a 2012 UC alum, Wyatt Niehaus has already made a global impact with his award-winning art, film and photography. As a UC recipient of the 2017-18 Fulbright Study/Research grant for recent graduates, Niehaus will increase his oeuvre by studying globalism and historical legacies at the Sandberg Instituut graduate program at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam.
After completing his undergraduate studies at DAAP, Wyatt traveled to Japan to film and take photographs at an industrial robotics factory where his primary interest was to look at how the iconography of the factory has changed in the advent of automation and robotics. (art/videos can be seen here)

As a visual and prose artist currently living and working in New York, Niehaus has had his writing featured in the International Journal of Art, Culture, and Design Technologies and the Unlike Us Reader, published by the Institute of Network Cultures at Hogeschool van Amsterdam.

Recent visual exhibitions include Color Shift at Mixed Greens, New York; Pixel Pops at Nouvel Organon, Paris; Daisychain at Antena, Chicago and a two-person exhibition with Olivia Erlanger at H. Klum Fine Art, Portland, Oregon.
The photographs and short videos he has produced have been exhibited in major galleries and museums in the United States and Europe, including the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Luma Foundation in Zurich and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
As he completes his graduate studies in Amsterdam through the Fulbright grant, Niehaus plans to enhance his global impact by creating an artist’s book on the historical legacy of the commercial ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
In addition to his work as a photographer and filmmaker, Wyatt hopes to eventually start an academic career as an instructor.


Wyatt Niehaus "Body Assembly" video project as part of his work on how the iconography of industrial robotics has changed the advent of automation and robotics in Japan.



Faculty Fulbright Scholar Awards were also granted to six UC faculty this year:

  • Anne Runyan, A&S, received the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award
  • Stefan Fiol, CCM, received the Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowship
  • Jan Fritz, DAAP, received the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award
  • Gregory Beaucage, CEAS, received the Fulbright Global Scholar Award
  • Russ McMahon, CECH-IT, received the Fulbright Specialist Roster Award
  • Charles Matthews, LCB, received the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award


Several members of John F. Kennedy's White House cabinet watch as he signs the Fulbright-Hays Act in 1961. photo/courtesy Fulbright Facebook

Sen. J. William Fulbright and Sen. Hubert Humphrey on far left look on as President John F. Kennedy signs into law House Resolution 8666 (the Fulbright-Hays Act) at the White House, September 21, 1961.

left to right: U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Sen. J. William Fulbright, Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. (Embassy of Japan in the USA) Koichiro Asakai, August 25, 1961. photo/courtesy Fulbright Facebook

U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Sen. J. William Fulbright with Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. (Embassy of Japan in the USA) Koichiro Asakai, 15 years after the end of WWII, August 25, 1961.


More about the Fulbright Program

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright program has provided more than 370,000 participants — chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
The Fulbright program is funded through an annual appropriation by the United States Congress to the U.S. Department of State and managed by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.


More about UC’s Nationally Competitive Awards

Fulbright is open to graduating seniors, graduate students and alumni. UC students interested in applying for Fulbright grants, contact Cara Pickett at Similarly prestigious scholarships and award resources and assistance can be found in UC’s Office of Nationally Competitive Awards.  
NCA supports students in their application for a variety of prestigious national and international fellowships –– such as Fulbright –– by meeting with them to discuss their goals and fit for a fellowship, providing feedback on application drafts and assisting with all stages of the application process. Students wishing to apply for a Fulbright in 2017-18 must apply by August 25, 2017.

NCA General Info Sessions
Mondays at noon
Swift 709
No appointment needed
Online Fulbright Info Sessions
Week of June 5th, every day at noon
Register here
You will receive the access link via email after registering
Fulbright Application Workshops
Throught the summer, we will offer Personal Statement Workshops & Statement of Grant Purpose Workshops
Find the dates and register here
Contact NCA Assistant Director Cara Pickett,, for more information or to schedule an appointment.


Become a Bearcat

Learn how you can apply to UC and explore the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards as a resource for outstanding students at the University of Cincinnati who seek to compete for world-renowned and highly competitive scholarships and fellowships.