UMN Twin Cities undergraduate students and alumni offered Fulbright Awards


Nine will teach and conduct research abroad in 2019-2020.

Nine seniors and recent graduates of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities have been offered grants to study and teach abroad during the 2019-20 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The Fulbright Program was created and funded by Congress in 1946 to promote international good will through the exchange of students and scholars in all areas of education, culture and science. The program, which operates in more than 140 countries, awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study.

UMN Twin Cities 2019-20 Fulbright Scholarship undergraduate recipients are:

Margaret Anderson
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Margaret Anderson of Rochester will graduate this spring from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with majors in geography, Spanish and Portuguese. She will be a Fulbright English teaching assistant in Brazil next year. After graduating from Rochester Mayo High School, she spent a year living in Chile with the Rotary Youth Exchange. Since then, she has served as an alumni leader by guiding exchange students from South America through orientation and life in the United States. At the University of Minnesota, she added Portuguese as a major and spent a semester in São Paulo, Brazil. Anderson served as a student editor of the Spanish and Portuguese Department’s Voc/zes podcast. Following her year in Brazil, Anderson plans to complete a graduate program in education with a focus on bilingual education.

Kathleen Francis
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Kathleen Francis of St. Joseph, Mich. graduated Spring 2018 from the University of Minnesota Twin Citieswith a degree in psychology and is currently a researcher at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Healthcare Center. After earning a degree at Century College, she transferred to the University of Minnesota and began research in Prof. Patricia Frazier’s Stress and Trauma Lab. Fascinated by the challenges of psychological research, she was determined to make a difference for homeless and displaced teenagers. At University Children’s Hospital, Francis developed a trauma-sensitive program for young people and she joined the Project Competence research group in the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development. At Radboud University in the Netherlands, she will complete a master’s degree while studying resilience from a dynamic systems approach with Prof. Isabella Granic.

Matthew Lauer
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Mathew Lauer of Roseville graduated in December 2018  from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a major in comparative literature and cultural studies. Planning to have a career in law, he has been active in debate and civic engagement. Lauer has been a coach for the Minnesota Urban Debate League for four years; has interned with the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change; and he has taught and tutored English as a Second Language (ESL) at Open Door and the Franklin Learning Center. Along the way, Lauer met immigrants from across the globe and became interested in the experience of Eastern Europeans immigrants. Next year, he will take all of these skills and interests to Bulgaria as an English teaching assistant in a secondary school.

Juliana Lillehei
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Juliana Lillehei of Minneapolis graduated from Perpich Center for the Arts in Golden Valley in 2014 and graduated from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2018. In 2014–15, she was an early literacy tutor with the Minnesota Reading Corps. At the University of Minnesota, her passion for working with children led to major in child psychology with a minor in Spanish. She became a research assistant and a teaching aid in the Child Development Center. She has also led art therapy sessions and volunteered with children at a domestic violence shelter. Lillehei also writes poetry and looks forward to sharing her love of children’s literature with her young students in Spain next year as a Fulbright English teaching assistant. Afterwards, she plans to complete a Ph.D. in developmental psychology.

Sofia Logan of Stillwater graduated in December 2018 from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with majors in history and global studies, but her passion was for music. While studying in Ecuador with the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Studies in International Development program, she learned traditional guitar and percussion and collaborated with local bands. In Cuba, she studied Afro-Cuban music and dance. She took up Portuguese with a Foreign Language and Areas Studies scholarship at the University of Minnesota. On campus, Logan taught swing and salsa dance. She has been a performing arts instructor for two summers at Camp Rising Sun. After completing a year as a Fulbright English teaching assistant in Brazil, Logan plans to do graduate work in ethnomusicology.

Rachel Motachwa
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Rachel Motachwa of Coon Rapids graduated in Spring 2018 from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a degree in sociology. She will spend the 2019-20 academic year in Mexico as a Fulbright English teaching assistant. As a tutor at Wellstone International School, she has worked for two years with students to develop their language and study skills. With minors in Spanish and public health, Motachwa also interned with the Ventanilla de Salud program at the Mexican consulate in the Twin Cities. It’s there she dispensed health information and confirmed her own desire to work for health equity. As a Gilman Scholar in Ecuador, she interned with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health. Motachwa expects that a year in Mexico will solidify her skills in Spanish and prepare her for a career working to solve global health challenges.

Lydia Neus
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Lydia Neus of St. Paul will graduate this spring from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a major in global studies and minors in management and teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). She will spend next year at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey, working with students to develop their English language skills. The position will bring together her long standing interests in Middle Eastern cultures, migration and displacement, and service learning.  Two years ago, Neus spent a semester in Jordan and interned with the Middle East Children’s Institute. In 2018, she served as an immigration intern with the International Institute of Minnesota and was a volunteer tutor and English language instructor with a variety of organizations in the Twin Cities. Neus hopes to spend additional time teaching abroad after her Fulbright year.

Augustus Pendleton
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Augustus Pendleton of Shorewood, Wisc., is a microbiology major at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities who received a Fulbright Study/Research award to complete a master’s degree in coastal and marine environments at the National University of Ireland Galway. Having established his interest in marine biology through his classes and summer research at the Darling Marine Center in Maine, Pendleton was awarded a Hollings Scholarship by NOAA as a sophomore and spent last summer researching fungal disease risk in Puget Sound, Wash. At the University of Minnesota, he has worked on bacterial research in Prof. Jeffrey Gralnick’s lab and he has been a teaching assistant in a variety of courses within the College of Biological Sciences. In Ireland, Pendleton plans to focus on aquaculture and community use of ocean resources as he prepares for a career that includes both research and evidence-based environmental advocacy.

Maryam Zahid
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Maryam Zahid of St. Paul graduated in December 2018 from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with majors in journalism and political science. She will spend next year as a Fulbright English teaching assistant in Malaysia. Growing up, she split her time between Pakistan and the United States. In her mother’s school in Pakistan, Zahid assisted in teaching English and came to understand the importance of educational opportunity at an early age.  At the University of Minnesota, she spent three years working at the Minnesota English Language Program helping international students to develop their language skills and adjust to cultural differences. As a Muslim-American, Zahid is looking forward to seeing how Malaysian society negotiates differences of religion and ethnicity. She plans to pursue graduate study in either education or political thought after her Fulbright year.

Current University of Minnesota undergraduates and recent alumni who are interested in applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program should contact Timothy Jones in the Office of National and International Scholarships at or 612-624-5522.



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