URBANA, Ill. — Thirteen University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students and young alumni, including two from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, were offered student Fulbright grants to pursue international educational, research, and teaching experiences across the globe this coming year, and another seven Illinois students were named Fulbright alternates.
As the flagship international educational exchange program of the U.S. government, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program builds international relationships to solve global challenges. Based on their academic and professional achievement, as well as their demonstrated leadership potential, approximately 2,100 U.S. citizens will travel abroad for the 2019-20 academic year through the Fulbright student program.
Jordan Blake Banks, of St. Louis, was awarded a Fulbright to pursue a two-year graduate degree in energy technology, with a specialization in bioenergy systems, at Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland. Banks, a member of the Campus Honors Program, graduated from Illinois in May with a B.S. from the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering in ACES. Banks will study Finland’s leadership in the use of bioenergy, which is the highest in the European Union. Banks said she hopes to pursue a career in advanced biofuels, promoting alternatives to fossil fuels.
Banks was a member of Women in Math, Science, and Engineering (WIMSE) her entire undergraduate career. WIMSE is a community that provides a supportive environment for undergraduate female students in the STEM disciplines. She is also a member of the Society of Women Engineers.
Krti Tallam, of Fremont, California, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to India. In December, Tallam earned dual B.S. degrees from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences in ACES and the Department of Statistics. Her environmental work at Illinois led to recognition in 2017 as one of 50 Udall Scholars in the U.S. In India, Tallam plans to study how climate change and urbanization have affected zoonotic disease ecology trends. She hopes to develop predictive models toward improving the management of zoonotic disease transfer in terrestrial and marine systems. After her Fulbright, Tallam said she plans to accept a deferred entry for a doctorate in geography and the environment at Oxford University to influence environmental conservation through scientifically informed analyses.
Krti says human-wildlife conflict mitigation is her passion—a passion she has already put into practice. Using her own “self-exploration,” rather than a traditional study-abroad program, Krti created opportunities to study in India throughout her college career.
The Fulbright program is jointly administered at Illinois by the National and International Scholarships Program, which works with undergraduates and recent alumni, and the Graduate College Office of External Fellowships, which supports graduate students. Additionally, dozens of Illinois faculty members and staff with geographic and programmatic expertise review student application materials and conduct candidate interviews.
“Few fellowships have the global cachet that Fulbrights do,” said Ken Vickery, director of fellowships in the Graduate College at Illinois. “Fulbrights open doors for students, honoring not only their academic achievement but also their capacity to promote international goodwill and serve as cultural ambassadors.”