Fulbrighters help find solutions to complex problems in science and public health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fulbright alumni have contributed to scientific innovation, vaccine research, and national health responses, applying their academic knowledge to the public health crisis . These alumni use the lessons learned and connections made through Fulbright to make positive impacts on public health and science.
Dr. Sarah Staton (2009 Fulbright U.S. Student to Ecuador) is an educator and science policy expert, focused on empowering science and technology innovators globally, especially women and underrepresented groups. Her office at the State Department is responsible for the promotion and protection of American scientific leadership and uses science, technology, and innovation to advance American foreign policy interests. While in Ecuador as a Fulbright U.S. Student in chemistry, Staton collected airborne proteins to help develop a non-invasive environmental health monitoring system. Her work resulted in a joint publication with her host institution, the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Returning to the United States, Staton earned her Ph.D. in bioanalytical chemistry from Arizona State University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Naval Research Laboratory. She began working with the U.S. Department of State through the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology Policy Fellowship. She served as a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador in 2012 and is currently serving as a 75th Anniversary Fulbright Alumni Ambassador.
Norma Cuellar (2019 Fulbright U.S. Specialist to Peru) is a professor in the Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama and former president of the U.S. National Association of Hispanic Nurses, as well as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Transcultural Nursing. With a research focus on health disparities and workforce diversity, she is a champion for understanding the impact of cultural diversity in healthcare to make sure underrepresented communities are included. She was a Fulbright Specialist in Peru, working to improve healthcare outcomes for Peruvians, and she is passionate about connecting nurses in the United States and Peru.
James Dorbor Jallah (2006 Humphrey Fellow from Liberia) is a public servant, educator, social entrepreneur, and development professional who has dedicated his life to Liberia’s development and the advancement of humanity. He was appointed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia to serve as the head of the National Taskforce during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, and he was later responsible for all non-medical aspects of the national response. After holding a wide range of leadership positions within Liberia’s public sector, he currently serves as the Country Representative for the Carter Center in Liberia with a focus on strengthening mental health. From 2006-2007, he was a Humphrey Fellow at MIT’s Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies.
James Orbinski (2016 Fulbright Visiting Scholar from Canada) is a medical doctor, a humanitarian practitioner and advocate, a best-selling author, and a leading scholar in global health who believes in actively engaging and shaping our world so that it is more just, fair, and humane. As International President of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) he represented the organization in humanitarian emergencies around the world, and in 1999 he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to MSF. He served as a Fulbright Visiting Professor at the University of California, Irvine, before returning to Canada as the inaugural Director of the Dahdaleh Institute of Global Health Research at York University in Toronto.
Nektarios Paisios (2007 Fulbright Science and Technology Fellow from Cyprus) has a firsthand understanding of the everyday obstacles that visually impaired people encounter in today’s modern world, as a computer scientist who is blind. He received a Fulbright Science and Technology award to pursue his Ph.D. in computer science at New York University, as well as a Google Lime Scholarship for Students with Disabilities. He now leads a team at Google working on technology accessibility for the visually impaired, determined to help others overcome the inaccessibility of visually presented information, barriers to mobility, and the lack of equal access to mobile phones and other electronic devices.
Jessica Phan (2019 Fulbright U.S. Student to Portugal) is an M.D.-Ph.D. candidate at Harvard Medical School and a National Institutes of Health Oxford-Cambridge Scholar. She was on her Fulbright in Portugal studying the neurobiology of methamphetamine addiction when COVID-19 emerged. Although she returned early due to the pandemic, once back in the U.S., she assisted with early 2020 COVID-19 testing and analysis in her community in Los Angeles, and then joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda as a research fellow.
Charlotte Summers (2013 Fulbright Visiting Scholar from the United Kingdom) is an academic critical care physician at Cambridge University with a passion for translating basic science into therapies for critically ill patients. She holds several leadership and specialized positions within Cambridge University Hospital and has spent the past year working in the fight against COVID-19, both in the hospital and as part of planning the UK’s National Health Service response to the pandemic. She was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the University of California, San Francisco.
Benjamin tenOever (2015 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Distinguished Chair to France) is a professor of microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine and Director of the Virus Engineering Center for Therapeutics and Research (VECToR) at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York whose expertise in the molecular biology of virus infection places him on the cutting edge of COVID-19 research and response. As a prominent virologist, he has been involved in an international consortium to develop vaccines and antivirals against COVID-19, which included continued collaboration with his Fulbright host, the Institut Pasteur in Paris.