Trinity College Tops the National Fulbright Scholar List This Year

Hartford’s Trinity College has been recognized as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Top Producing Institution for the 2018–2019 academic year and is at the top of the list among bachelor’s institutions nationwide.

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Each year, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces the top-producing institutions for the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Three Trinity faculty scholars were awarded Fulbright awards for 2018–2019—the highest number awarded to any baccalaureate institution in the nation.

Among the bachelor’s institutions recognized this year as top producers of scholars, Trinity tied with Colgate University and Middlebury College, which each also had three Fulbright Scholar awards.  Other top ranked institutions, with two Fulbright awards, were Bryn Mawr College, Bucknell University, Claremont McKenna College, Colby College, Dickinson College, Macalester College, Pitzer College, Siena College and the University of Richmond. The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes the lists annually.


Trinity was the only Connecticut college or university to earn a spot on the top ranked lists for Bachelor’s, Master’s or Research institutions.  Trinity’s 2018–19 Fulbright Scholars and their overseas host institutions are:

• Kent D. Dunlap, Charles A. Dana Research Professor of Biology, is at Gulbenkian Institute, Lisbon, Portugal, to pursue collaborative research on brain cell production;

• Peter A. Yoon, Professor of Computer Science, is teaching computer science in Ethiopia, realizing a long-standing goal to honor the Ethiopian soldiers who protected his family during the Korean War.  He is at Jimma University School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ethiopia.

• Justin Fifield, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, is studying caregiving practices in Buddhist monasteries of Sri Lanka, at the Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.

“Trinity is honored to be among U.S. institutions producing the greatest number of Fulbright Scholars this year,” said Tim Cresswell, Trinity College dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs. “We are proud of the research and teaching our professors are engaged in, thanks to these prestigious awards, which support both educational exchange and international understanding.

Cresswell added that “The goals of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program are very much in keeping with Trinity’s core mission, which includes engaging members of our academic community as global citizens in the wider world and experiencing the real-world relevance of their liberal arts education.”

Dunlap planned to investigate how social interactions enhance the recovery from injury in fish, a project that stems from a 15-year interest he has had in the birth of brain cells during adulthood.

“My interest in this research was originally sparked by a Trinity student. This student came to me and wanted to study cell death in the brain,” Dunlap explained in an article published on the school’s website.  “It made me think about the opposite: cell birth and the production of new cells in the brain. I’ve been studying it ever since, and now I have the chance to pursue a new branch of this research in Portugal.”

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 390,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential—with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.


More than 800 U.S. college and university faculty and administrators, professionals, artists, journalists, scientists, lawyers, and independent scholars are awarded Fulbright grants to teach and/or conduct research annually. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program operates in more than 125 countries throughout the world.

“I am deeply indebted to Ethiopia,” Yoon explained. “Between June 1951 and April 1954, Emperor of the Kingdom of Ethiopia Haile Selassie sent over 3,000 Ethiopian soldiers to serve as part of the United Nations forces in the Korean War. Many were wounded or killed in battle as they were trying to fend off the North Korean Communists. I was born in Korea a decade after the conflict, but, ever since I learned about the Ethiopian involvement in the war, I have been looking for an opportunity to give back to the country that helped protect the current generation of my family,” Yoon said.

“One of the most pressing issues of higher-education in Ethiopia today [is] a shortage of qualified faculty in computing at colleges and universities.” With the Fulbright grant, Yoon is working to address this issue in collaboration with hosts at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Jimma University to help build that institution’s graduate program in computer science.

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State, funded by an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and supported in its implementation by the Institute of International Education.  The Fulbright Program also awards grants to U.S. students and teachers to conduct research and teach overseas.

Fifield focus is to conduct a qualitative research project on caregiving—caring for the sick, disabled, and elderly—within Buddhist monasteries in Sri Lanka.

“This project extends the work of my dissertation on Buddhist monastic ethics with a specific case study in a contemporary context,” Fifield wrote in his proposal. “The Fulbright grant will enable me to develop as an early-career academic and build interdisciplinary connections between religious studies and medical anthropology.”

Founded in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1823, Trinity College is an independent, nonsectarian liberal arts college with more than 2,200 students from 45 states and 67 countries.