Five Mason graduates receive prestigious 2020 Fulbright awards

Lucia Bautista

Four alumni with undergraduate degrees and one alumna with a graduate degree from George Mason University received 2020 Fulbright awards to either conduct research or teach English overseas. Mason undergraduate alums Gabrielle Jackson, Samira Radwan and Darian Randle were chosen to teach English abroad, while Lucia Bautista will be conducting research in Brazil. 

“The Fulbright is the nation’s premier and oldest cultural exchange opportunity,” said LaNitra M. Berger, senior director of Mason’s Office of Fellowships. “The Fulbright has the potential to transform a person’s life in very important ways.”

Stephanie Grimes, who received a master’s degree in art history  in 2013, is the first student from Mason to receive the competitive United Kingdom Fulbright award. The grant will cover tuition and living expenses while Grimes gets her PhD in digital humanities at King’s College in London. Grimes’ specific area of research concerns digitizing ancient artifacts as a way of engaging the public.

Stephanie Grimes

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Fulbright travel has been postponed until at least January 2021. Grimes will begin her studies in the fall virtually from Washington state, where she currently lives. Grimes, who received her undergraduate degree from the University of Mary Washington, became interested in digitization of museum collections during her time at Mason.

“I’m so excited to continue with my research, and I’m honored to receive this award,” said Grimes, 33. “This is an exciting opportunity.”

Kathryn Agoston, director of graduate fellowships within Mason’s Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, said that U.K. Fulbrights are “famously difficult to get.”

“It’s a huge accomplishment for Stephanie and a milestone for Mason’s participation in the Fulbright program,” said Agoston.

Gabrielle Jackson

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers research, study and teaching opportunities abroad to recent graduates of both undergraduate and graduate programs. The program is designed to build lasting connections between people in the United States and other countries. Mason works with graduating seniors and recent alumni for months to help them with their applications, Agoston and Berger said. 

“It’s another way that Mason helps its graduates continue to achieve success and realize their dreams even beyond their graduation,” said Agoston.

The undergraduate Fulbright recipients are:

Lucia Bautista graduated from Mason in 2020 with a degree in global affairs. She was a member of the Honors College. She received a Fulbright to do research on the sustainable cotton production in Mato Grosso, Brazil.

Gabrielle Jackson, profiled in a recent Mason article, graduated from Mason in 2020 with a BS in community health, She was a member of the Honors College and a University Scholar. Jackson received a Fulbright to teach English in Colombia.

Darian Randle

Samira Radwan graduated from Mason in 2020 with a major in global affairs.  She received a Fulbright to teach English in Malaysia.

Darian Randle graduated in 2018 as a global affairs major and a member of the Honors College. He received a Fulbright to teach English in Taiwan. Randle was profiled two years ago in a Mason article as part of a series about graduating seniors.

All of the undergraduate Fulbright recipients from Mason are students of color, said Berger.

“This year’s group of winners really embodies the inclusive excellence that is so much a part of Mason, that any Mason student can have access to these transformational opportunities,” said Berger.