A Fulbright grant is among the most prestigious awards a graduate or young alumnus can attain. This year, the University of Vermont celebrates six Fulbright winners who will travel the world – to Spain, Jordan, South Korea, Canada, Poland and Taiwan – to pursue research, serve as cultural ambassadors and advance their careers.

For Alison Chivers ’19, this won’t be her first time conducting research abroad. The graduating medical laboratory sciences student, who minored in Spanish, conducted cancer research at the Biomedical Institute at the University of León in Spain during the summer of 2018. Her Fulbright Open Research Award will allow her to return to the lab in León.

With that experience already under her belt, Chivers is prepared to dive right back into her research exploring how p73, a single gene among millions in the human body, might function as a tumor suppressor in healthy cells. “We're trying to move towards a more molecular, research-based approach to targeting and treating cancer,” she says.

To study the gene’s ability to suppress tumor initiation, Chivers knocks it out of cells, or represses the gene, to make the cells more cancer-like. She then compares the growth of cells active with the gene against the growth of cells with the gene knocked out. “Often when tumor suppressor genes are mutated, cells lose their ability to control their own progression through the cell cycle and, consequently, grow and divide uncontrollably. That's what defines cancer, rapid and uncontrollable cell proliferation,” she explains.

Meet the rest of UVM’s 2019 – 2020 Fulbright recipients:

Claire Dumont in Madaba Governorate, Jordan

Claire Dumont stopped to take in the sights in Madaba Governorate, Jordan, en route to the Dead Sea during her sophomore year abroad in Aman, Jordan. (Photo: Courtesy of Claire Dumont)

Claire Dumont ’19, a Geography major and Environmental Studies minor, will hike the newly established 400-mile Jordan Trail, which spans the length of Jordan from Umm Qais to Aqaba along the Jordan River, in order to create a culturally specific hiking guide. Working in collaboration with the Jordan Trail Association, Dumont’s guide will help Jordan establish its wildlife identity and standards for how citizens and visitors interact with its natural environment. “The goal of the project and why it’s important is, since the trail is becoming more popular, to create this hiking guide so Jordan has control over what their wilderness is supposed to be,” she says.


Patrick Long

Patrick Long. (Photo: Doug Gilman)

Patrick Long G’19, a Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration graduate student, will build English language capacity in South Korean schools as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. “I’m most excited for the opportunity to join a network of leaders, changemakers, and engaged citizens as part of the Fulbright community,” he says.


Briana Martin (left) working with Urmila Chhetri ('21) in the TRIO Student Support Services Office at the University of Vermont.

Briana Martin (left) working with Urmila Chhetri '21 in the TRIO Student Support Services Office at the University of Vermont. (Photo: Doug Gilman)

Briana Martin ’11 will pursue her Masters of Social Work at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, through a Fulbright Graduate Degree Enrollment Award. With a concentration in gender and women’s studies, Martin plans to “support communities on multiple levels through one-on-one counseling, group therapy, and community wellness experiences. I want to uplift, inspire, and support individuals and communities in need through an inclusive social work practice that centers on healing,” she says.


Caitlin Mello

Cailtin Mello. (Photo: Doug Gilman)

Caitlin Mello ’19, a Social Work major and Behavioral Change minor, will teach English in a university setting in Poland and serve as a cultural ambassador as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. “I'm really excited about it. The Fulbright experience can inform what I’m learning in the field, and how that’s going to impact teaching later on. With the Poland Fulbright, I’ll have an opportunity to do community engagement work, along with the chance to experience a different culture,” she says. 


Annie Ryan in the Swiss Alps.

Annie Ryan took in the Swiss Alps while studying abroad in Germany her junior year. (Photo: Courtesy of Annie Ryan)

Annie Ryan ’19, a Global Studies major and Chinese and Anthropology minor, will teach primary or secondary school children English in Taichung City, Taiwan, as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. Drawing on her senior thesis that explored an increase of xenophobia and fear of foreigners, Ryan is looking forward to expanding the world view of students she works with and vice versa. “I think it’s important to promote cultural exchange, especially with small children to help them gain skills to become global citizens and see the world. I’m sure I’m going to learn a ton from them, as they learn a ton from me,” she says.


In the last five years, more than 100 UVM students and alumni have won or been finalists for prestigious scholarships and fellowship competitions ranging from the Fulbright to the Rhodes. Learn more about how UVM supports students and alumni through the Office of Fellowships, Opportunities and Undergraduate Research.


Kaitlin Shea Catania