Columbia University Affiliates Awarded 2023 - 2024 Fulbright U.S. Student Grants

Fulbright Awardees, 2023 - 2024
Pictured above, top row from left to right: Mercy Campbell CC’23, Gabriel Chan CC’23, Sylvie Epstein CC’23, Carolyn Friedman CC’23, Courtney Eileen Fulcher CC’21, Maki Ishibashi CC’23; Middle row, left to right: Alexander Liebeskind SEAS’22, Regan Mies CC’22, Viviana Prado-Núñez CC’20, Andrew Ramirez CC’23, Charles Smith CC’22, Nkima Stephenson CC’21; Bottom row, left to right: Paul Ward CC’23, Emile Warot CC’21, Serena White CC’23, Sam Yelnosky CC’23, Haley Zehrung CC’22, GSAS’23; Not pictured: Benjamin Arenstein GS’18 and Samuel Magaziner CC’16


Nineteen Columbia University alumni have accepted 2023-24 Fulbright U.S. Student grants, which offer funding for students and young professionals to undertake individually-designed international research and study projects or primary and secondary school teaching in English-language classrooms around the world.

Read below to meet the 2023-24 fellows and learn more about their upcoming adventures!

Benjamin Arenstein, GS’18

Benjamin, a joint GS and JTS graduate and current PhD student at the University of Chicago, will pursue research on Soviet émigré writing in Israel during the years 1953 to 1989 as a Fulbright fellow at the University of Haifa. His background in history from his time at Columbia will provide a foundation for this research in Israel, examining how literary networks established between the Soviet Union and Israel during this period fostered new modes of reading and textual production. Benjamin previously served as an English Teaching Assistant in Uzbekistan with the Fulbright US Student program in 2018 - 2019.

Mercy Campbell, CC’23
Originally from Burlington, Kentucky, Mercy majored in East Asian Languages and Cultures. At Columbia, she served as a coordinator for the Global Ambassador Program and a volunteer college advisor for Matriculate. As a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in South Korea, she will teach elementary school students. After her Fulbright year, she plans to attend graduate school, majoring in Korean Studies, and to seek a career in academia or education.

Gabriel Chan, CC’23
A native of Commack, New York, Gabriel majored in Biochemistry. At Columbia, he served as a counselor and board member for Camp Kesem, which provides support to children affected by a parent's cancer. As a Fulbright Scholar in France, he will conduct computational neuroscience research at the Centre Borelli in Paris, with the aim of better understanding the brain features related to addiction and addiction resilience. Following his fellowship experience, he will pursue an MD/PhD at the Stony Brook/CSHL Medical Scientist Training Program.

Sylvie Epstein, CC’23
Sylvie, who is originally from Brooklyn, New York majored in history with a concentration in educational studies. At Columbia, she acted as a mentor at the Double Discovery Center and a college advisor for Matriculate. She will serve as an English Teaching Assistant in the La Rioja region of Spain, where she hopes to gain a nuanced, comparative perspective on approaches to education. In the long term, she hopes to pursue a career in education reform, advocating for just and equitable policies.

Carolyn Friedman, CC’23
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Carolyn studied anthropology at Columbia, where she performed with student theater groups and worked as a program leader for the Columbia Outdoor Orientation Program. With over a decade of training as an acrobat and aerialist, she was also involved with the Columbia Circus Collective. As an English Teaching Assistant in Colombia, she will teach at the university level in Bogotá. While in Colombia, she will also collaborate with local street theater collectives to both learn about and participate in the creation of art for the public sphere.

Courtney Eileen Fulcher, CC’21
Courtney, who is from Ann Arbor, Michigan, majored in comparative literature. At Columbia, she worked as a broadcast engineer and on-air presenter at WKCR-FM and served on the editorial board for the literary magazine Surgam. As a Fulbright-Nehru English Teaching Assistant in India, she will teach at Pondicherry Community College and assist with the U.S. Department of State's English Access Microscholarship. After her Fulbright year, she aims to work at a local public media station as a news producer.

Maki Ishibashi, CC’23
Maki, who is originally from Bethesda, Maryland, was a biology major at Columbia, where she was involved with Columbia Repertory Ballet and Columbia Japan Society. She also served as a patient care volunteer at New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. As a Fulbright Scholar in Japan, she will investigate DNA repair processes. After her fellowship experience, she plans to apply to MD-PhD programs in the U.S.

Alexander Liebeskind, SEAS’22
Originally from Los Angeles, California, Alexander studied computer engineering and pursued minors in applied math and political science. At Columbia, he served as a writer and editor for the Columbia Undergraduate Law Review and worked as a volunteer EMT. He also held an ORISE research fellowship at the US Food and Drug Administration during his time as an undergraduate. As a Fulbright Scholar in Germany, he will carry out a research project applying deep learning to neurological imaging at the Technical University of Munich’s Computer Vision Group. He hopes to gain a global perspective on healthcare outcomes and the role of computational methods in divulging quantitative knowledge and improving treatment.

Samuel Magaziner, CC’16

Through the Fulbright, Samuel will conduct research with Nobel Laureate Professor Aaron Ciechanover of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Samuel received his BA in biochemistry from Columbia University, and an MPhil in biological sciences from the University of Cambridge. He is currently an MD/PhD student in the New York University Grossman School of Medicine’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP).

Regan Mies, CC’22
Originally from Cold Spring, Minnesota, Regan double-majored in Political Science and German at Columbia, where she was a program coordinator and elementary school classroom assistant through Columbia Community Impact. She will join the English Teaching Assistantship program in Germany, where she also hopes to work with local booksellers and writers to expand her understanding of contemporary German literature. After her Fulbright year, Regan plans to bring her experiences back to a career in publishing and translation.

Viviana Prado-Núñez, CC’20

Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Viviana will conduct research on Venezuelan migrant-musicians in Morocco, aiming to create a multi-episode audio series in English, Spanish, and Darija. This project builds upon research she began while studying abroad in Rabat in 2019, and is further shaped by recently acquired professional experiences as an audio creator. At Columbia, Viviana pursued a drama and theatre arts major, which she credits for providing her skills which will be advantageous to her project in Morocco.

Andrew Ramirez, CC’23
Andrew, from North Wales, Pennsylvania, graduated with a major in East Asian Languages and Cultures. At Columbia, he served as president of Symposium, a literature and philosophy club that focuses on intercultural conversations and pedagogy. He will be teaching middle and high schoolers in South Korea as a Fulbright ETA, where he hopes to integrate lessons in literary and media studies into his English lessons. Following his Fulbright year, Andrew will pursue a career in law or academia.

Charles Smith, CC’22
Charles, a native of New York City, majored in comparative literature & society with a Russian concentration. He is the director of the world music department for WKCR-FM public radio. He has also served as an editor for The Birch Journal of Slavic and Eurasian Cultures and Columbia Journal of Literary Criticism. As an English Teaching Assistant in Georgia, he looks forward to gaining a deeper understanding of the region before going on to pursue graduate studies in comparative literature focusing on the post-Soviet region.

Nkima Stephenson, CC’21
Nkima, who is from Atlanta, Georgia, majored in neuroscience & behavior at Columbia, where she acted as a student artist-in-residence at the Barnard Movement Lab. As a Fulbright Scholar in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, she will research public trust in scientific innovation—specifically, trust in AI algorithms as mediators of news and other information in a social media setting. She is eager to learn about the science and technology studies landscape in Brazil.

Paul Ward, CC’23
Originally from Randolph, New Jersey, Paul studied history at Columbia, where he played bass in the Music Performance Program jazz ensembles. He has also worked as a teaching fellow for Breakthrough Collaborative. As a Fulbright-Nehru English Teaching Assistant in India, he will teach in Chennai, where he looks forward to gaining an international perspective on educational approaches.

Emile Warot, CC’21
A native of New York City, Emile majored in history. At Columbia, he was involved with Philolexian Society and was a staff writer for the Columbia Daily Spectator. As a Fulbright Scholar in France, he will pursue a master’s degree in history at Paris Nanterre University, researching the legal and social histories of multiple citizenship in France. An avid rock climber, he is also excited to discover the French climbing scene.

Serena White, CC’23
Serena White, a Chicago, Illinois native, double majored in political science and Hispanic studies. At Columbia, she was Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Political Review and Vice President of Columbia University Women in Law and Politics. She will serve as an English Teaching Assistant in Madrid, Spain and plans to pursue law school upon return from Europe.

Sam Yelnosky, CC’23
Sam, originally from Providence, Rhode Island, majored in history at Columbia, where he was secretary and social chair of Uptown Local, Columbia’s Men’s Ultimate Frisbee team. As a Fulbright Garcia-Robles English Teaching Assistant in Mexico, he looks forward to immersing himself in Mexican life and gaining a new perspective on the United States.

Haley Zehrung, CC’22, GSAS’23
Haley, who is from Rockville, Maryland, graduated from Columbia College with a degree in political science and Russian language, then completed an M.A. in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies at the Harriman Institute at Columbia, where she focused on Central Asia. As an English Teaching Assistant in Uzbekistan, she hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the region before ultimately working in international development or diplomacy.

Columbia also congratulates the several Fulbright alternates for their exceptional applications which received this recognition.

The Fulbright US Student Program awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. ​For more information about the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, please reach out to Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.