Twelve Villanovans Awarded Fulbright Scholarships for 2017-18

Eleven are from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Fulbright Scholars 2017
11 Villanovans who will travel overseas this fall as part of the Fulbright Program. Pictured here (left to right): Amanda Holmes; Karla Guadron; James O’Donnell; Melissa Madden; Christine Butchko; Brendan Carchidi and Meghan Cullinan (Not Pictured: Nora Doherty; Ellen Moxley; Payal Shah; and Briana Taylor)

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Twelve Villanovans were awarded 2017-18 Fulbright U.S. Student Grants as a part of The Fulbright Program, a prestigious international education exchange program sponsored by the United States government. These grants will allow the Fulbright recipients to serve as international cultural ambassadors by performing research or teaching English in foreign countries. Villanova is listed among the nation’s top producers of Fulbright Students by the Fulbright Program.

“Villanova’s strong representation in the Fulbright competition illustrates the University’s ongoing commitment to academic excellence coupled with a global perspective,” said Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD, Villanova University Provost. “It is a reflection of our mission and curricula, which encourage students to engage in experiences and research that create an informed respect for differences among people and cultures and that have a positive impact. Congratulations to all of our awardees.”

The 12 Villanovans awarded Fulbright Student Grants include:

  • Christine Butchko ’17 CLAS was awarded a Fulbright ETA to teach English in Malaysia.
  • Brendan Carchidi ’17 CLAS was awarded a Fulbright research grant to study the role of non-governmental organizations in increasing women’s employment in Jordan.
  • Meghan Cullinan ’17 CLAS was awarded a Fulbright ETA to teach English in Indonesia.
  • Nora Doherty ’15 CLAS was awarded a Fulbright ETA and will teach English in Colombia.
  • Karla Guadron ’15 CLAS was awarded a Fulbright ETA and will teach English in Thailand.
  • Amanda Holmes ’18 PhD was awarded a Fulbright research grant to conduct research in Slovenia for her doctoral dissertation, an examination of the philosophical concept of anxiety.
  • Melissa Madden ’13 CLAS was awarded a Fulbright ETA to teach English in the Netherlands.
  • Ellen Moxley ’17 CLAS was awarded a Fulbright research grant to study microbial dehalogenation in terrestrial environments at the Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology in Seville, Spain.
  • James O’Donnell ’17 CLAS was awarded a Fulbright research grant to study the implementation of universal basic income policies at the University of Tampere in Finland.
  • Payal Shah ’17 COE was awarded a Fulbright ETA to teach English in India.
  • Briana Taylor ’15 CLAS was awarded a Fulbright ETA to teach English in Spain.
  • Linda Nguyen ’17 CLAS was awarded a Fulbright ETA to teach English in Vietnam, but will instead be pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Health at Columbia University this fall.

During the course of their grants, Fulbright recipients meet, work, live with and learn from the people of the host country, sharing daily experiences. The program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction on an individual basis in the classroom, field, home, and in routine tasks, allowing the grantee to gain an appreciation of others’ viewpoints and beliefs, the way they do things, and the way they think. For more on the program, click here.

Villanova’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF), housed within the Office of the Provost, supports students in the application processes for numerous nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships. For more on CURF and the scholarship and fellowship opportunities, click here.

Below are short biographies on the 11 Villanovans who will travel overseas this fall as part of the Fulbright Program:

  • Christine Butchko, of Morris Plains, N.J., graduates this year with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in Business Administration. A member of Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority, Butchko was widely involved in service as a Peer Tutor in Villanova’s RUIBAL program, a facilitator in the Service Learning Community and an English Tutor at Strawberry Mansion High School in Philadelphia. She also studied abroad for a semester in France. Butchko has been awarded a Fulbright grant to teach English in Malaysia.  Upon completion of her Fulbright year, she intends to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service.
  • Brendan Carchidi, of Holliston, Mass., graduates this year with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Honors with majors in Global Interdisciplinary Studies, Arab and Islamic Studies, and French and Francophone Studies. As a first-year student, Carchidi won the U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic in Jordan and has subsequently served as an intern for the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the Al Hayat Center for Civil Society in Amman, Jordan, and Women’s Campaign International in Philadelphia. He also spent a semester in France and a summer in Oman on a Cruse Scholarship. Carchidi was awarded the Boren Scholarship and was a finalist for the Truman Scholarship. He has been awarded a Fulbright research grant to study the role of non-governmental organizations in increasing women’s employment in Jordan.
  • Meghan Cullinan, of Upper Saddle River, N.J., graduates this year with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and Education. President of the Panhellenic Council and a member of Chi Omega Sorority, Cullinan has served as a site leader for the University’s Service Learning Community and a Peer Tutor for students with disabilities through the student organization LEVEL. Cullinan received a Center for Global Leadership Service Award to teach English in Indonesia in the summer of 2016. For her Fulbright, she will be returning to Indonesia through the English Teaching Assistant Program.
  • Nora Doherty, of Topsfield, Mass., graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Spanish. Doherty currently works as a middle school teacher in Lawrence, Mass., through Teach for America and is pursuing a Master’s of Education degree in Curriculum and Teaching through Boston University.  At Villanova, Doherty was a Student Ambassador for Catholic Relief Services and on the Executive Board of the Student Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia.  She was also a tutor for former inmates through Sisters Returning Home and in elementary schools in Philadelphia.  Doherty studied abroad in Rwanda and Spain.  She has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Grant to Colombia.
  • Karla Guadron, of Yonkers, N.Y., graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Cultural Studies. She currently works as a ninth grade algebra teacher through Blue Engine, an educational non-profit in New York City. Immediately after graduation, she served as a Legal Advocate for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle. In her time at Villanova, Guadron co-founded the Food Recovery Network and served as co-director of recruitment and training for the POWER peer educators program. A member of Phi Sigma Pi Honors Fraternity and Sonja Bruns Memorial Scholarship recipient, Guadron participated in Service and Justice Experiences to Tennessee, Georgia, and Texas. Through her Fulbright, Guadron will be teaching English in Thailand.
  • Amanda Holmes, of Helotes, Texas, is currently pursuing a PhD in Philosophy at Villanova University. Holmes holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Spanish from Saint Xavier University and a Master’s of Arts degree in Philosophy from Miami University in Ohio.  She has received multiple Summer Research Fellowships from Villanova, has served as a teaching assistant in the Department of Philosophy, and worked as an editorial assistant for the journal Hypatia: Feminist Philosophy.  Holmes has been awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to Slovenia to conduct research for her doctoral dissertation, an examination of the philosophical concept of anxiety.
  • Melissa Madden, of Columbia, Md., graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors in Mathematics and Sociology. After graduation, she served as a mathematics teacher at Camden Academy in New Jersey through Teach for America. This year, Madden completed a Master of Arts degree in Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies from the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. At Villanova, she was a facilitator for the Service Learning Community program and an editor for Belle Air Yearbook.  Madden was chosen for the inaugural Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program in the Netherlands.
  • Ellen Moxley, of West Friendship, Md., graduates this year with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish. In 2016, Moxley served as a research assistant at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology in Baltimore, Md. She is highly involved in equestrian eventing; training and competing horses through the United States Eventing Association and volunteering with the United States Pony Clubs. Moxley studied abroad in Cadiz, Spain. She will be returning to Spain on a Fulbright Research Grant to study microbial dehalogenation in terrestrial environments at the Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology in Seville.
  • James O’Donnell, of Lowell, Mass., graduates this year with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Economics. A Villanova University Presidential Scholar, O’Donnell spent last summer in a research internship at the Roosevelt Institute in New York City and presented his research on Progressive Strategy at the Fall Undergraduate Research Poster Session. He served with the Special Olympics and Ambassadors programs throughout his tenure at Villanova and served as the Program Chair for RUIBAL and an Honors Peer Advisor. O’Donnell was awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to Finland to study the implementation of universal basic income policies at the University of Tampere.
  • Payal Shah, of South Weymouth, Mass., graduates this year with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering.  A Tau Beta Pi inductee, Shah is president of the Villanova Chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. She has served as a teaching assistant for courses in chemistry and organic chemistry and as an athletic tutor in chemistry and physics. Shah completed a research and development internship at Merck and Co. in 2016 and was involved as a CEER PEER in the College of Engineering. Shah was awarded a Fulbright Teaching Assistant Grant to India.
  • Briana Taylor, of Barnegat, N.J., graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication. After graduation, she served as a legislative intern for Senators Cory Booker and Debbie Stabenow.  At Villanova, Taylor was a Peer Educator through POWER, a student facilitator in the Global Learning Community, and a Peer Educator for the Association for Change and Transformation. She also worked as an Equipment Manager for the Villanova Football program for four years.  Taylor will spend next year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Madrid, Spain.

In addition to the 12 Villanovans awarded Fulbrights, the following three students were named Fulbright alternates: Ashley Bell ’16 CLAS, Fulbright ETA in Thailand; Shanika Griffiths ’14 CLAS, ’17 CLAS, Fulbright ETA in Greece; and, Stephen Purcell ’17 CLAS, Fulbright ETA in Luxembourg.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. Fulbright U.S. Student alumni populate a range of professions and include ambassadors, members of Congress, judges, heads of corporations, university presidents, journalists, artists, professors, and teachers. Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 340,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenged and changing world. With 39 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.

Media Contact

Jennifer Schu

Director of Communications, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

jennifer.schu@villanova.edu