Mills College Ranks as a Top Producer of Fulbright Students in the US

Oakland, CA—February 10, 2020

Students gather around a laptop on a green meadow; in upper right corner, a circular Fulbright Program top-producer badge appears.For over seven decades, the Fulbright Program—the US government’s flagship international education exchange program—has enabled students and scholars to apply their learning to every corner of our increasingly globalized world. Each year, the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announces the top producing institutions for the Fulbright Program, a list published annually by The Chronicle of Higher Education. This year, Mills College has the distinct honor to be counted among this list of US colleges and universities as a top producer of Fulbright US students for 2019–2020.

Three Mills students received Fulbright awards for the current academic year—awards that have allowed them to teach, learn, and further their cultural understanding in Latin America. Coco Kennedy ’18, a double major in Spanish & American Studies and Politics, Economics, Policy & Law, is teaching English in Bogotá and working with local beekeepers. Robert Lopez MFA ’13 is expanding his musical studies in the Afro-Brazilian tradition of Candomblé drumming, apprenticing under master percussionists in Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador. Meanwhile, Cory Gray MFA ’15 is exploring movement, identity, and art also in Brazil, with local choreographers and dance company directors, refining her technique in samba, forro, capoeira and other local styles.

“Our Fulbright participants build lasting relationships and collaborations that break down borders and draw Mills into a global community of artists, thinkers, and activists,” says Martha Johnson, Associate Professor of Political Science who also serves as the Fulbright Program Advisor at Mills; “The success of Fulbright applicants from Mills is a testimony to their curiosity, passion, and commitment.”

Active in more than 160 countries worldwide and funded by an annual appropriation made by the US Congress, the Fulbright Program was created in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Over 2,200 US students are awarded Fulbright grants annually through a selective application process. Since 1949, Mills has sent 60 students to participate in this premiere exchange program in countries spanning nearly every continent and in fields as wide-ranging as ethnomusicology to public health.

“As an institution dedicated to breaking barriers to a transformative education, Mills is committed to preparing underrepresented students to be global citizens and change-makers,” says Chinyere Oparah, Mills Provost and Professor of Ethnic Studies. “Our students benefit immensely from the international exposure offered to them through the Fulbright program, and we are proud of our track record in making this opportunity available to our diverse and talented student population.”

Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), touts the diversity of Fulbright-receiving students as one of the program’s key strengths: “We are committed to the Fulbright Program’s goals of creating lasting professional and personal connections by sending passionate and accomplished US students of all backgrounds to study, research, or teach English in communities throughout the world. These Fulbrighters serve as citizen ambassadors for the United States in their host communities, and we will benefit from the skills, knowledge, and global connections they build on their exchanges long after they return home.”

About the Fulbright Program
Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given over 390,000 passionate and accomplished students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to important international problems. The global network of Fulbrighters fosters mutual understanding between the United States and partner nations, advances knowledge across communities, and improves lives around the globe. For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit

About Mills College
Located in Oakland, California, in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mills is a nationally renowned independent liberal arts college for women and gender non-binary students, with graduate programs for all genders. Ranked one of the top-tier regional universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report, Mills is also recognized as one of the Best 385 Colleges in the nation by The Princeton Review. Since 1852, we’ve been empowering students to become creative, independent thinkers and leaders who take and inspire action. Take a virtual tour.

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