Kansas State University


Graduate School

International students come to K-State to study through Fulbright program

13 international graduate students, from all parts of the world, are advancing their education at Kansas State University through the Fulbright program.

The Fulbright program provides international students the opportunity to explore and engage with students and faculty in their field in a different cultural setting while undertaking a graduate experience at a U.S. university. Students can receive up to two years of funding to study at an institution through the Fulbright program.

Fulbright scholars work, live with and learn from fellow students and faculty members during the fellowship at Kansas State University. The Fulbright program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction with students and faculty on an individual basis in the classroom and laboratory, or at social events. These experiences allow the Fulbright scholars to gain an appreciation of others viewpoints and beliefs.

Henry Jesus Moncrieff, a Venezuelan and a first year Fulbright scholar, is pursuing his master’s in Security Studies. Moncrieff believes studying here will help prepare him for the return to a highly conflicted society.

“As an aspiring researcher, the knowledge gained from this experience would help me promote policy solution by studying key domestic and strategic issues affecting my country,” Mocrieff said. “As a professor and citizen, I want to diffuse the educational processes, discipline, and honesty that faculty and students share at Kansas State University.”

In two short months of being a graduate student, Moncrieff has already adjusted to the K-State culture nicely.

“K-State offers an ideal environment for international students, which is something that is important to me,” Moncrieff said. “Students, faculty, staff, and administrators are committed to having the best education possible and creating a friendly environment for international students.”

Another first year Fulbright student is Javier Fernandez, who is pursuing his masters of agronomy. Fernandez’s research objective is to study the effect of nitrogen in corn with late-season applications, and to evaluate the interaction between hybrids and nitrogen during the grain filling process. Being a Fulbright student from Argentina, Fernandez believes he will use the knowledge and experiences gained at K-State when he returns home.

“I strongly believe that a Master’s degree at Kansas State University will allow me to successfully execute extension projects that will enhance local systems in my region that will have a strong social impact,” said Fernandez. “I am confident I have the capacity and required commitment to succeed in a graduate program at K-State.”

A second year Fulbright scholar, Paula Silva, is a doctoral student in Genetics, hosted by the department of Plant Pathology. Silva is studying wheat genetics and genomics focusing her research on how to contribute to global food production in order to help developing countries. Silva hopes to return to her country, Uruguay, to apply and develop new tools for agricultural research.

“I was sure that I wanted to study wheat breeding and genetics, and specifically something related to diseases,” Silva Villela said. “Kansas is one of the top wheat producers in the United States, and is a well-known land grant university.  The Plant Pathology department is home to several excellent renowned researchers. What university is better than K-State?”

Fulbright students are able to apply up to five U.S. universities that have their program of study available. The student then choses the university that is the right fit for them.

“Selecting the university wasn’t an easy decision,” Silva said. “I applied to six universities in the U.S., and I was accepted to almost all of them. You can only imagine how hard the decision was for me.”

Fulbright scholars serve as ambassadors of their countries; they teach and share their values and culture with others at the university and in the Manhattan community while they study at Kansas State University.

“Being a Fulbright scholar is an honor and a huge responsibility,” said Silva. “Every Fulbright scholar is the ambassador of their home country, and that is not an easy role to fill. We should represent our country, our culture, our values, our people, the best we can. We are also a model to follow for other students not only back home, also here in the U.S.”

Silva works closely with her academic advisor, Jesse Poland, assistant professor in plant pathology on a weekly basis.

“I could not be more satisfied with Dr. Poland,” Silva said.  “The research we are working on is innovative – he (Poland) is always coming up with great ideas.”

When the Fulbright international scholars complete their graduate degree, they will return to their home country prepared to provide insight and guidance to solve many of their countries most pressing problems and often assume leadership positions.

“I would like to teach back home and hope I can encourage students to think differently on topics such as sex and gender, disease, environment, aside from the conventional approach of political diplomacy when analyzing international affairs,” said Yu Ping Chang, doctoral student in security studies from Taiwan.

Since the Graduate School received additional office space on the third floor as part of the Space Migration, Fulbright students have their own space in Eisenhower Hall.

The 2017-18 K-State Fulbright scholars are:

  • Henry Jesus Moncrieff, Venezuela, Master’s in Security Studies
  • Agime Gashak, Kosovo, Master’s in Security Studies
  • Nida Ghori, Pakistan, Ph.D. in Agronomy
  • Javier Antoni Fernandez, Argentina, Master’s in Agronomy
  • Mohamad Ibrahim, Lebanon, Master’s in Security Studies
  • Yu Ping Chang, Taiwan, Ph.D. in Security Studies
  • Nelson Javier Ramallo, Argentina, Ph.D. in Physics
  • Zoona Habib Jerral, Pakistan, Master’s in Architecture
  • Mutiara Tirta P. Lintang Kusuma, Indonesia, Ph.D. in Human Nutrition
  • FNU Noviyanti, Indonesia, Master’s in Public Health
  • Khalil Ahmad Rafee, Afghanistan, Master’s in Electrical Engineering
  • Kaltrina Selimi, Macedonia, Master’s in Security Studies
  • Paula Silva, Uruguay, Ph.D. in Genetics

Created by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1945, the Fulbright 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. The program awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. Learn more about the Fulbright program here.