The University of Utah has nine Fulbright semifinalists this year, equaling last year’s record number. This year the U has seven undergraduate students and two doctoral students, including five English Teaching Assistant semifinalists, two Study Grant semifinalists and two Research Grant semifinalists.

Making it to the semifinalist round is a significant accomplishment in the Fulbright competition, and means that the applications have been forwarded by the Fulbright National Screening Committee to the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in the host country for final review. Finalists will be notified later this spring, with the timing of notifications varying by country.

University of Utah’s 2020 Fulbright semifinalists:

Ian Adams, Ph.D., political science, Fulbright Research Award to the United Kingdom

Adams will conduct dissertation research on the use of body-worm cameras and surveillance technology in the United Kingdom.

Rogelio Brambila, B.A., anthropology, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Mexico

Brendan Darraugh, B.A., German and political science, Fulbright Study Award to Germany

Darraugh will use his grant to apply to the master’s program in National and International Public Administration and Policy at the University of Potsdam.

Polly Llewellyn, B.A., English, Fulbright Study Award to the United Kingdom

Llewellyn is applying for a Fulbright grant to earn a master’s degree in creative writing from Aberystwyth University.

Kaylee Mortensen, B.A., English and international studies, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Luxembourg

Charlie Robinson, B.A., Russian, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Russia

Sebastian Romero, Ph.D., nursing, Fulbright Research Award to Guatemala

Romero will research stress, anxiety, depression and coping methods among Guatemalan fathers of children with disabilities.

Caitlin Silianoff, B.A., English and political science, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Taiwan

Alex Son, B.A., political science, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Cambodia

Of the U’s nine Fulbright semifinalists last year, six went on to receive a Fulbright award: Sherry Liao, B.S., speech and hearing science, is studying pediatric deaf children in China before and after cochlear implantation to assess their progression in crystallized and fluid intelligence. Brock Mays, M.A., international affairs and global enterprise, is examining the effects of Russian misinformation and disinformation in Lithuania and how Russia’s campaign has negatively impacted trust in the national government. Danielle McLaughlin, B.A., political science and Middle East studies, is serving as an English Teaching Assistant in Malaysia. Chris Rigby, M.A., international affairs and global enterprise, is serving as an English teaching assistant in Kenya. Luciana Salmi, B.A., psychology, is conducting research in Italy as she analyzes the effects of stress and social support on a group of mothers with a high body mass index categorized as overweight or obese. Heather Tourgee, M.A., environmental humanities, is serving as an English teaching assistant in Germany.

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. The program awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.

The Fulbright Program at the U is sponsored by the Office for Global Engagement and the Graduate School. For more information, students can contact Howard Lehman, director of the Fulbright Program at

Media Contacts

Howard Lehmanprofessor, Department of Political Science, director, Fulbright Program

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