Posse Foundation and Reach the World: Fulbrighters Advancing Opportunity

“The Fulbright spirit breaks down barriers to global engagement, inspiring the next generation of curious and compassionate global citizens in the United States.”

Reach the World

More than a simple recognition of academic and professional achievement, a Fulbright award is an acknowledgement of the power of participants to effect change in their host and home communities. Alumni return from the Fulbright experience ready to spread their newfound knowledge and use their successes as inspiration for the next generation.

Partners for Opportunity

The Fulbright Program builds partnerships with value-aligned organizations to assist in the promotion of the Fulbright Program by identifying and advising highly motivated, open-minded people with a strong interest in promoting the Fulbright Program’s mission. These Fulbright Outreach Partners are a diverse network of leadership organizations, minority-serving associations, and professional institutes who can help reach populations that have been historically underrepresented in educational and cultural exchange programs. The Posse Foundation and Reach the World are two of Fulbright’s partners, inspiring a new generation of Fulbrighters to broaden their horizons and give back to their communities.

Anthony Sis (bottom right), 2014 Fulbright U.S. Student English Teaching Assistant to Portugal, with his Connecticut College Posse cohort.
Anthony Sis (bottom right), 2014 Fulbright U.S. Student English Teaching Assistant to Portugal, with his Connecticut College Posse cohort. “The Fulbright is so important to me,” says Sis. “As a first-generation college student, I realize that I have been afforded an opportunity that I—much less my family—never thought about. I always try to focus on my passions and Fulbright will serve as a catalyst for innovative ways to merge these passions with education.” Sis currently serves as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Learning Consultant at Cornell University.

The Posse Foundation

The Posse Foundation identifies, recruits, and trains the next generation of diverse leaders. Posse Scholars receive full-tuition scholarships from partner colleges and universities and work with each other to develop leadership skills. 

By expanding educational access and building inclusive campus environments, The Posse Foundation and its partner institutions promote higher graduation rates and provide a springboard for future achievement and excellence. Posse’s numbers speak for themselves: since 1989, the Foundation has produced more than 10,000 Scholars, of which 57 percent are first-generation college students.

Since 2001, more than 100 Posse Scholars have won Fulbright awards, helping these students to build new relationships and skills abroad. Through Fulbright, Posse Scholars have travelled to more than 40 countries as English Teaching Assistants, graduate students, and researchers. The Posse Foundation recognizes that “these coveted awards, and the unique learning experiences they provide, help our Scholars to deepen their understanding and sharpen their leadership skills. We are proud that so many of our students have been able to reap the tremendous benefits the Fulbright Program affords.”

Samson Lim, 2010 Fulbright U.S. Student to Germany, 2012 Fulbright Alumni Ambassador, and former Posse Foundation staff member, furthers social mobility through education. As a Fulbrighter, his project, “A Fair Shot for All: An Ethnographic Study on Access to Higher Education in Berlin'' analyzed how students, parents, and teachers perceive access to higher education in Berlin as a means of social mobility. Beyond his research, Lim volunteered as a guest speaker in the Meet U.S. Educational Outreach Program, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. After his time in Germany, Lim applied his research and international experience as National Director of Graduate and Fellowship Programs at The Posse Foundation, ensuring the next generation of Posse Scholars can take advantage of international exchange. Lim serves as Founder and Executive Director of Scholarship Junkies, a scholarship resource program working to help students fund their higher education, and is a member of the Advisory Group of the Washington Scholarship Coalition and the Board of Advisors for  BETTERGRADS. Lim’s journey continues as a Class of 2021 J.D. Candidate at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

Taniqua Huguley with mic
Taniqua Huguley moderated a “Women at the Summit” event at her alma mater, Trinity College, in February 2019.

Taniqua Huguley, 2017 Fulbright U.S. Student to Trinidad and Tobago and a Posse Scholar, is the founder of Black Girls Achieve, an empowerment program for Black girls around the world. On her Fulbright, Huguleyworked at St. Jude’s School for Girls, the only all-girls juvenile detention facility in Trinidad. Her research focused on the intersectional factors that led girls to break the law in Trinidad and examined juvenile detention programs from a rehabilitative perspective. Huguley established “Trini Girls Rock!”, providing yoga workshops and other wellness programs in conjunction with a financial literacy program for St. Jude’s residents. In addition to her research, Huguley served on the Executive Board of Propelling Young Ladies Who Aspire to Redefine and Reinvent (PYLARR), and participated in community discussions and cultural and academic events. Upon return from her Fulbright award, Huguley served as Outreach Director at Open Communities Alliance, a civil rights organization that focuses on desegregating housing in the state of Connecticut. As a 2019 Fulbright Alumni Ambassador, Huguley continues to provide mentorship and outreach to Posse Scholars and students from across the United States. 

As a result of his Posse and Fulbright experiences, Ryan Letada believes he is “capable of making a positive dent for my family and chosen family, business, community and, ultimately, the universe.”

Ryan Letada, 2008 Fulbright U.S. Student to the Philippines and a Posse Scholar, confronted the topic of homelessness in the Philippines through his Fulbright project, “On the Margins of Manila: A Study of Homelessness Reduction Programs.” In addition to his research, Letada co-founded eKindling, an education venture that brought digital learning via laptops to rural classrooms in the Philippines. After his Fulbright, Letada expanded his focus as CEO and Founder of NextDayBetter, a storytelling platform and agency to create “a more accepting world for immigrants everywhere.” For his ingenuity and “incredible leadership and success while giving back to the world,” Letada was the winner of The Posse Foundation’s 2014 Ainslie Alumni Achievement Award. According to Forbes, Letada combines “his non-profit and media experience to tell immigrant stories and provide technology-enabled pathways for collective action.”

Chiu-Li Wu (first row, center left), 2019 Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the University of Kentucky, introduces Chinese culture and calligraphy to Appalachian high school students as a Reach the World volunteer during International Education Week 2019.

Reach the World

Reach the World takes the energy of U.S. university student “Travelers” and transforms it into a learning resource for K-12 classrooms in the United States. Using the internet and video conferencing, Reach the World connects American youth with Travelers, including Fulbrighters, in one-on-one virtual exchanges to build a more “thoughtful and welcoming society.”

For over a decade, lessons with Fulbrighters from around the world have had a transformative effect on U.S. students: 93% of Reach the World middle school students express interest in attending college one day, 81% of Reach the World students express interest in studying or working abroad one day, and 75% of Reach the World elementary school students achieve statistically significant improvement in core geographic literacy.

Reach the World reflects on the impact that Fulbrighters have: “Fulbright Travelers model curiosity, global engagement, and empathy, inviting their eager student audiences to join them on a journey towards increased global competence and cultural understanding. The Fulbright spirit permeates geographically-isolated and underrepresented school communities, breaking down barriers to global engagement and inspiring the next generation of curious and compassionate global citizens in the United States.”

Madina Yunis Mahat, 2019 Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the University of Georgia, is an educator and humanitarian. As a Fulbrighter, she has created connections in and out of the classroom in the United States, Kenya, and around the world, introducing Kenyan culture to Americans in a Reach the World "Show and Tell" event. Mahat is internationally recognized as a Roll of Honour 2020 Recipient of The Diana Award for her "demonstrated...ability to inspire and mobilise new generations to serve their communities and create long-lasting change on a global scale." She has overcome many obstacles, and works tirelessly as a teacher, volunteer, writer, and motivational speaker to inspire young girls.

 Prior to her Fulbright, Chayla Rowley worked for the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in the Colorado’s Rocky Mountains to conserve natural resources.

Chayla Rowley, 2019 Fulbright U.S. Student to Ireland, promotes the STEM fields to Indigenous communities. A citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Rowley engages young women in leadership and self-confidence-building activities, volunteers for immigrant and refugee organizations, and encourages participation in STEM fields. As a Reach the World Traveler, Rowley shared her Fulbright journey of completing a master’s degree in refugee integration from Dublin City University, where she researched the integration of refugee children via STEM-based activities. Through Fulbright, Rowley also strengthened a centuries-old bond between the Choctaw people and Ireland. In 1847, a group of Choctaw people met to raise money for the starving poor in Ireland during the potato famine. According to Rowley: “the Choctaw people recognized themselves in the Irish. They did not focus on the differences of distance, nationality, [or] skin color. They were moved by our shared humanity. What was given was not a ‘debt’ or ‘favor’ needing repayment. It was the mutual sharing of hope among kindred spirits. Since that time, the Choctaw and the Irish have continued their relationship.”

Amal Nanavati experiencing a cultural site in Kyoto, Japan.

Amal Nanavati, 2018 Fulbright U.S Student to Japan, conducts research to expand our understanding of human-robot interaction. During his Fulbright, under the supervision of Professor Takayuki Kanda at Kyoto University, Nanavati investigated how robots can learn to work and communicate with humans in smooth, natural ways by observing human-to-human interactions. As a Reach The World Traveler designated “Best Storyteller of Winter 2019,” he shared his travel experiences with elementary school students in Brooklyn, New York, helping to instill curiosity and a love for learning and science. His outreach to students through science isn’t new--as an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University he co-founded Teknowledge, a computer programming educational outreach program for high school students in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Currently, Nanavati is a doctoral student at the University of Washington, where he continues his studies of human-robot interaction (HRI), and how technology can empower marginalized communities and challenge oppressive systems.

These outstanding alumni are among the thousands of Fulbrighters who have demonstrated how international educational and cultural exchange drive opportunity and promote achievement. Beyond their personal successes, these talented Fulbrighters have provided educational opportunities in their host communities, and after returning to their home communities, have given back through service and leadership. The Fulbright Program’s strategic partners, including The Posse Foundation and Reach the World, promote inclusive success, internationalize U.S. students and communities, and build long-term international connections.

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