Cal Poly Named a Top Producer of 2018-19 Fulbright U.S. Scholars

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly has again been named a top producer of U.S. Fulbright scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The distinction was in the Master’s Colleges and Universities category for the 2018-19 academic year. 

Cal Poly’s latest Fulbright scholars are Nayree Barnett and Erica Jorgenson, both staff members in the university’s International Center, and Professor Peggy Papathakis of the Food Science and Nutrition Department in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. 

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Its Fulbright Scholar Program offers nearly 470 teaching, research or combination teaching/research awards in over 125 countries.

“It is not surprising that Cal Poly remains a top producer of U.S. Fulbright scholars,” said President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “Our dedicated faculty and staff work diligently to keep current in the constantly evolving world, and these overseas assignments provide them unique opportunities to further their knowledge and scholarship.”

Two universities, Appalachian State University and the College of Charleston, topped the list of master’s institutions with four scholars each. Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge, and San Jose State University had three scholars, as did Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at Daytona Beach, the University of Alaska at Anchorage and Western Illinois University.  
Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 390,000 individuals — chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

The program awards approximately 8,000 grants annually. Roughly 1,600 U.S. students, 4,000 foreign students, 1,200 U.S. scholars, and 900 visiting scholars receive awards, in addition to several hundred teachers and professionals. The Fulbright Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

About Cal Poly’s 2018-19 Fulbright Scholars:
Nayree Barnett, study abroad coordinator in Cal Poly’s International Center, traveled to Taiwan to take part in a two-week International Education Administrator Seminar in March 2018. The group seminar was organized for international educators from the U.S. to learn more about Taiwan’s higher education system. The seminar consisted of university visits across the island, cultural activities, and meetings with government officials that included a speech from Taiwan’s current president.

Erica Jorgenson, study abroad coordinator in the International Center, participated in a two-week U.S. Administrators in International Education seminar in October 2018 in Germany and Belgium. The seminar is intended as a frank and imaginative assessment of how to deepen and even expand transatlantic academic exchanges. Within this framework, the focus of this seminar was on internationalizing higher education, career services, fundraising and network building. Participants had the chance to engage in discussions on recent challenges in German and U.S. higher education to further their professional development and establish new partnerships.

Peggy Papathakis, professor of nutrition, is spending 10 months in Malawi, Africa, teaching and helping to build the curriculum for a nutrition training program for clinical dietitians at the University of Malawi, College of Medicine. This is Papathakis’ second Fulbright Scholarship; she received one as a doctoral student in 2001. Over the last decade, more than 30 students have worked with Papathakis on her numerous research studies focused on improving the nutritional intake of pregnant women in Malawi in southeastern Africa. 

For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit For lists of Fulbright Scholar recipients, visit:

Contact: Cari Vanderkar

May 8, 2019

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