Three Receive Fulbright Awards

By Dan Verderosa, May 3, 2019
Two graduating seniors and one alumna will spend 2020 conducting research and teaching English abroad.

Addison Dlott ’19 had just subscribed to a newsletter when she received an email notification on her phone. Assuming it was a confirmation message, she opened her phone to read “On behalf of the Fulbright Committee, congratulations on your award…”

“I was floored,” she said. “I was just so excited and so grateful.”

She is one of two IC students to receive Fulbrights to spend the 2019-2020 academic year working on projects overseas. Dlott will teach English in Malaysia, while Grant Brighter ’19 will conduct research in a neuroscience lab in Norway. Alumna Zihui Adams ’17, MS ’18, will teach English in Taiwan.

“We had 11 high-quality Fulbright applications this year, and I’m delighted to hear of these three winners,” said Hugh Egan, professor in the Department of English and faculty liaison for students seeking external grants and awards. “Grant, Addie and Zihui all worked very hard on composing and re-working their application materials. The reward is a Fulbright experience that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.”

The Fulbright Program 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. It provides college seniors and recent graduates — chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchanging ideas and contributing to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Ithaca College has a lengthy track record of successfully placing student Fulbright applicants. The college regularly ranks among the top Master’s institutions for faculty and student Fulbright awards.

Addison Dlott ’19

A young woman in a suit

Addison Dlott ’19 (Photo provided)

A documentary studies and production major in the Roy H. Park School of Communications, Dlott received an English Teaching Award to serve as a teaching assistant in a secondary school in Malaysia. She was inspired to apply for the award after a service trip in The Gambia, and chose Malaysia as a destination because of the country’s cultural diversity.

“I think it will be a really challenging opportunity that I’ll be able to walk away from with a lot of skills both in my personal and professional life,” she said. “I’m really just hoping to make a connection in the communities I’m in and I think a teaching assignment will be humbling in ways I can’t entirely predict.”

Helping others has long been an important part of Dlott’s life. She has worked with local and national nonprofit organizations, including the National Organization for Youth Safety and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.

“Since I was a kid, service has been deeply woven into my life,” said Dlott. “It’s something that I’m passionate about. My ultimate life goal is to do something in the realm of service and media.”

Dlott credits IC faculty like associate professors Mead Loop, John Scott and Derek Adams, as well as friends and family for helping her win a Fulbright award. “I’m thankful for my whole support system on and off campus. It really took a village to get me here and I’m thankful for everyone who was a part of it,” she said.

Grant Brighter ’19

A young man in a t-shirt

Grant Brighter ’19 (Photo by Sabrina Chang)

A double major in psychology and cinema and photography, Brighter received a research award and will conduct research into “synaptic plasticity” — the process of rewiring neurons in the brain. He will work alongside Clive Bramham, head of the Neuroscience Research Group at the University of Bergen in Norway.

Brighter believes his Fulbright experience will help him pursue a career as a neurologist or psychiatrist. “I hope that it’s going to teach me useful lab skills that I can use in research in the future,” he said.

Brighter has significant lab experience already. He did psychological research with a faculty member at Cornell University, worked on several projects in IC’s Department of Psychology and worked in a lab studying addiction at the University of Pittsburgh. He also conducted a study of how people watch movies using brain-imaging and eye-tracking technology for his honors thesis, which was published in the academic journal, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Applicants for research awards must find a mentor before submitting their applications. “That’s a lot of cold emails to random people from around the world,” said Brighter. He found Bramham by luck —Brighter’s mother went to high school with him. At her suggestion Brighter looked him up and found that Bramham’s research tied closely to his interests in cognition and memory.

Brighter is looking forward to the opportunity to explore a different part of the world while continuing his studies.

“The opportunity that the Fulbright program provides — it’s such a blessing to be a part of that,” he said. “This is an opportunity to live outside the country and see parts of the world that I wouldn’t be exposed to otherwise, without necessarily taking a pause on professional development.”

Zihui Adams ’17, MS ’18

A young woman

Zihui Adams ’17, MS ’18 (Photo provided)

Adams graduated from IC in 2017 and 2018 with a BS and MS in occupational therapy from the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance. The recipient of an English Teaching Award, Adams will teach in an elementary school in Taitung, Taiwan, where she will primarily work with children from indigenous groups.

“I’m honored to be selected and really excited for what the future brings,” Adams said. “I’ve always been a person that loves traveling, seeing the world and adding new perspectives. I think this will be another way to continue that learning process.”

As an undergraduate in the Martin Luther King Scholars Program, Adams traveled to London, England; Da Nang, Vietnam; and Havana, Cuba, to conduct research on intergenerational, occupational injustice in local communities. She speaks intermediate Mandarin.

Adams was adopted from China, and hopes to one day work as an occupational therapist in Chinese and Taiwanese orphanages. In addition to teaching in Taiwan, she will also help with community-building after-school programs, and hopes to research how occupational therapy is practiced in that part of the world.

“I think it’s really important to hone our skills in terms of cultural competency,” she said.

Learn more

For more information about the Fulbright program, visit