The Fulbright experience has been life-changing for me. .. Fulbright changed my life. It opened my eyes .. It opened my heart and it opened my perception.

Pedro Castillo García, 2014 Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia

On August 3, 2021, the Fulbright Program, in collaboration with National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE), hosted Rights and Representation: Alumni with Disabilities Reflect on Fulbright’s Global Impact. The panel discussion took place during the NCDE Joining Hands Symposium, and included four Fulbright alumni: Pedro Castillo García (2014 Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia), Inocencio Zandamela (2013 Fulbright Foreign Student from Mozambique), Adriana Pulido (2011 Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia), and Uyanga Erdenbold (2007 Fulbright Foreign Student from Mongolia).

I used to be someone, I use canes and I use prosthesis as I was born with a condition without legs. I was the kind of person with a disability that when I saw another person with a prosthesis or a wheelchair, I would change the lane. I made my life’s endeavor to be disassociated with my disability. Most of my friends did not know I used prosthesis. I did not want people to know. I thought it would make me less of an artist. I thought it would make me less of what I am. The [2015 U.S. Disability Rights Fulbright Seminar] opened my eyes.

Pedro Castillo García, 2014 Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia

Moderated by Mobility International USA’s CEO and co-founder, Susan Sygall, the event highlighted the work and achievements of the alumni.  The alumni reflected on the continued impact that their Fulbright experiences in the United States had on shaping their perspectives disability rights advocacy, and how they contribute in their home countries.

My experience from the Fulbright Program really gave me the skills and the knowledge to understand different communities and how they are working with their students and bring that kind of knowledge here to Mozambique and improve our deaf literacy here as well. To help them understand deaf rights and be fully part of the society.

Inocencio Zandamela, 2013 Fulbright Student from Mozambique

The Fulbright alumni discussed their Fulbright experience in the United States was influential in their work on disability issues, as well as in their post-Fulbright work to advance disability rights in their home countries. Attendees discovered how necessary disability advocacy is to ensure access and inclusion in all environments. The event concluded with a live Q&A with the audience members where Fulbright alumni elaborated on their experiences including their thoughts on disclosing their disability status as well as their continued work to promote access.

what Fulbright did for me was basically Fulbright freed me in the intellectual and the physical sense. .. In addition to a lot of life-changing things, one thing that happened to me was in America, I owned a key to my apartment for the first time. That is because before coming to America, I had never traveled on my own. I did not have independent mobility. I often traveled with a sibling, classmates or friend. Only in America I was given an opportunity to have the mobility training. I was able to come and go on my own.

Uyanga Erdenbold, 2007 Fulbright Student from Mongolia

Meet the Panel

Pedro Castillo García (2014 Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia) – Pedro Castillo García is a writer and musician from Bogotá, Colombia. After completing his undergraduate studies, earning a bachelor’s degree in Literature, Pedro’s first job was as a high school English teacher in one of Bogotá’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, through “Enseña por Colombia” (organization of the Teach for All/Teach for America global network). In the evenings, Pedro channeled his creativity into writing poetry, plays and songs.

In 2014, after a suggestion from a friend, Pedro applied for and received a Fulbright Foreign Student Program grant to attend Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, where he pursued an M.F.A. program in Writing for the Screen & Stage. There, he had the chance to study the craft of play and screenwriting, as well as the history of musicals, under masterful instructors. Upon graduation in 2016, Pedro stayed for a year to teach and to work in the theatres of Chicag, assisting in great productions at the prestigious Goodman and Victory Gardens theatres; the latter in fact, did a small production of Pedro’s musical “Dorian” (a jazz adaptation of Wilde’s celebrated novel). After a year in OPT (Optional Practical Training), Pedro returned to his native Colombia with a universe of knowledge and experience ready to share and put to service.

Pedro’s first visit to the United States was at a young age to receive his first prosthesis, having been born without legs. He traveled there with his mother, Maria Luz García, whom Pedro cites as an important influence on his development as a young person with a disability exploring new passions in teaching, theatre and music.

Inocencio Zandamela (2013 Fulbright Student from Mozambique) – Inocencio Joao Raul Zandamela is from Maputo, Mozambique, a country on the eastern bank of Southern Africa. He describes himself as a Deaf person who is dedicated to developing the cultural identity and improving the quality of education for Mozambique’s deaf children and youth. His methods focus on teaching, capacity-building, psychology, counseling, sign language acquisition, and more.

Inocencio became a deaf person early in his childhood and attended mainstream schools throughout his life. As a deaf learner in these schools, Inocencio struggled due to the lack of access to accommodations such as sign language interpreters. Despite these environmental barriers, Inocencio completed his high school studies in Mozambique and went on to attend the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa to pursue his undergraduate degree. Upon graduation, Inocencio qualified as a teacher and officially started working in his dream profession in 2008, serving the deaf community and schools. There, he counseled students and guided them in their psychological development. To advance in his profession, Inocencio received a Fulbright scholarship to pursue graduate-level studies in psychology in the United States. From 2013-2015, Inocencio attended the College of St. Rose in New York, where he earned his Master’s in Education, specializing in Educational Psychology.

In the education field over 12 years, Mr. Zandamela has had teaching experiences in five different schools for the deaf in South Africa and worked as a teacher for three special schools for the deaf in Mozambique. With his expertise in Sign Language, he has been assistant researcher for the African Studies Center at the Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique where he authored a Mozambique Sign Language Dictionary. He also has been a Sign Language trainer for many education institutions both public and private on appointed by Mozambique’s Department of Education and has presented during many conferences, workshops and seminars.

Apart from education, Mr. Zandamela has been actively involved as a leader for many organizations such as the International Students Societies at Wits University, National Association of the Deaf’s board and the Association Educating the Deaf of Mozambique, etc.

As a member of the Deaf community, Inocencio enjoys sharing a common cultural identity. Inocencio is married to a Deaf woman named Suzete Zandamela, with whom he has five children who are hearing and bicultural sign language users. As a follow-up dream, Mr. Zandamela is eager to engage in research about linguistic and deaf culture by getting a scholarship to fulfill a doctoral degree, conducting research and coursework at a prestigious university in his home country or abroad.

Adriana Pulido (2011 Foreign Fulbright Student from Colombia) – Throughout her career development, in her home of Bogotá, Colombia and abroad, Adriana Pulido Camargo has been strongly committed to the full inclusion of people with disabilities, both as an activist and as part of the public, private and the international cooperation sectors. While working for the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies, she was able to lead a Pioneer initiative in the world to promote the inclusion of individuals with visual impairment around the country through the use and adoption of technologies. Currently, she works as the disability Inclusion Advisor for the International Committee of the Red Cross, where she has the opportunity to foster the inclusion of individuals with disabilities who have been affected by the armed conflict and urban violence.

In 2011, Adriana received a Fulbright grant to pursue a master’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Florida, the first Colombian with a disability to win this scholarship. After winning the Fulbright Scholarship, she defeated her fears as a blind woman and made the decision to travel alone for the first time. While doing her Master’s, she was able to expand her academic and cultural knowledge, as well as to share one of her greatest passions with her friends: playing music.

Adriana has also played an important role as an activist regarding the rights of visually impaired people. She belongs to the National Network of Women with Visual Impairment, a group that gathers women coming from different regions who are blind and low-vision. The purpose of this Network is to promote women’s empowerment, social and political participation.

Undoubtedly, the Fulbright scholarship has had a strong impact in Adriana’s life, both personally and professionally. She could widen her world view and build a network of friends, as well as acquire enough tools and skills to promote inclusion projects in her country. She is convinced that, thanks to the scholarship, she has been able to create a trust and credibility environment around her in every place she has worked as a project leader or inclusion advisor. She has shown that the Fulbright scholarship for people with disability is worthy, and that those with disabilities add value to the initiatives they are involved in, which in turn contributes to a more inclusive society for all.

Most recently, Adriana was named the Winner of the Fulbright Excellence Award in 2021. Name:

Uyanga Erdenbold (2007 Fulbright Student from Mongolia) – Uyanga was born and raised in Mongolia. Through marriage, she has immigrated to the U.S. she is also mother to a mixed-race son. She values her intercultural experiences and works to promote meaningful diversity, one not solely based on external attributes, but more on our shared human experiences, respect, and dignity, so that she can contribute to leaving her son a world in which everybody matters.

Uyanga Erdenebold is a public relations and diplomacy professional with over-nine-years-of experience working for the U.S. Department of State and in non-profit NGOs. Working in charge of educational exchange and scholarship programs such as Fulbright fellowship at the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, Uyanga standardized scholarship selection process, enhanced selection transparency, and launched successful outreach programs to rural, and other disadvantaged, audiences to diversify the applicant pool. Through this program, she and her guide dog Gladys have traveled to all of the 21 provinces of Mongolia and had direct conversations with thousands of rural youth, educators, entrepreneurs, and professionals. This program, now standardized and held annually, has recently been recognized as the top best-practice for the U.S. State Department’s Education USA initiatives worldwide. She also served as the U.S. Embassy’s main point of contact for over a thousand alumni of various U.S. Government-exchange programs, and directed and supported numerous alumni-led social projects. She also served as an advisor and manager for the board of directors of the Mongolian Association of State Alumni (MASA), an active and dynamic association that she helped to build.

Uyanga is the first blind Mongolian to receive the Fulbright scholarship, and completed her graduate studies in Library and Information Science at the Louisiana State University (LSU). She conducted professional internships at the Library of Congress and at the Maryland State Library. Most recently, Uyanga worked as the Program Manager for the Tomodachi MetLife Women’s Leadership Program at the U.S. Japan Council in Tokyo Japan (until July 2020). She currently serves as an executive board member for the Council on Diversity and Inclusion at the U.S. Embassy in Japan.

An avid dog lover, Uyanga is one of the founding board members of Lucky Paws, the first animal rescue/advocacy group in Mongolia. Uyanga’s first guide dog Gladys went on to become the first ever guide dog to live and work in Mongolia.

Watch Uyanga’s TED talk on “Understanding and acceptance in a challenging world”


Susan Sygall (CEO and Co-Founder, Mobility International USA) – As CEO and co-founder of Mobility International USA, Susan is an internationally recognized expert in the area of international educational exchange, international development, and leadership programs for persons with disabilities, and especially women with disabilities. Susan, a wheelchair rider, has had a personal and professional commitment to disability rights and women’s issues for more than 30 years. She has co-authored numerous publications and has lectured throughout the world on a variety of topics related to inclusive development, international exchange opportunities for persons with disabilities, women’s empowerment, and disability rights.

Susan has received numerous awards for her passionate advocacy for disability rights. In 2013, she became an Ashoka Senior Fellow and received recognition of her work in 2011 by being awarded the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance Matusak Courageous Leadership Award and receiving an honorary doctorate from Chapman University and the University of Portland. In 2000, she received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. In 1995, Sygall received the President’s Award from President Bill Clinton for her dynamic leadership in international exchange programs for people with disabilities, for her mentorship of young people with disabilities, and for her active role throughout our country and the world in empowering people with disabilities. Sygall has also been honored with the Rotary Scholar Alumni Achievement Award. She was also awarded a Graduate Rotary Scholarship and the Kellogg National Fellowship.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) recognized 20 Historically Black Colleges and Universities as Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders for their noteworthy engagement with the Fulbright Program during the 2019-2020 academic year. Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders understand the benefit of developing a Fulbright culture on campus, send U.S. students and faculty from all fields and backgrounds abroad, and welcome and learn from foreign students and scholars. The development of these international and institutional networks enhance mutual understanding among participants and students, faculty, administration, and campus and community members.

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Matthew Lussenhop congratulated the Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders and noted “Fulbrighters from HBCUs carry their identities and school pride with them abroad, allowing people from other countries to learn about these accomplished individuals and about this dynamic group of American institutions and their distinguished legacy.”

Through virtual events, articles, and social media, the Fulbright Program and HBCU Institutional Leaders shared success stories and encouraged all HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions to take advantage of the resources and opportunities that Fulbright offers.

Didn’t catch everything during the campaign? Not to worry, here are 5 takeaways from HBCU Institutional Leaders 2019-2020:

1. Celebrating Black Excellence (Virtually)

We celebrated, you celebrated! Institutional Leaders, HBCU faculty, alumni, students, and others took to social media to celebrate HBCU impact in the Fulbright Program. Watch the Yard, created by Fulbright alumnus to Germany Jonathan Rabb, highlighted the 2019-2020 HBCU Institutional Leaders via stories and videos, while HBCU and Black-related organizations, including HBCU Pride Nation, Support Black Colleges, HBCU Alum, My Degree is Black, and Black Biz Directory, amplified the message.

Several media outlets, such as Diverse Issues in Higher Education, University Business News, Yahoo News, Black Engineer, and Newsbreak, as well as the HBCU Campaign Fund, spread the word of what HBCUs mean to the Fulbright Program, and how HBCUs and MSIs can get involved.

On Twitter, Fulbright hosted #HBCUFulbrightChat with Fulbright HBCU, an alumni affinity group created and led by Fulbright and Morgan State University alumna Ashleigh Brown-Grier. The chat, which featured Fulbright alumni sharing about their exchange experience, highlighted Fulbright’s long-standing engagement with HBCUs and provided resources for interested applicants. The chat had more than 87K impressions! Special thanks to Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Bluefield State College, Fayetteville State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Alabama A&M University, University of North Texas International Affairs, as well as the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions, and HBCU students and faculty for attending.

2. The HBCU Institutional Leaders Tell Their Fulbright Story

HBCU presidents, Fulbright Program Advisers and Scholar Liaisons, and HBCU alumni shared how Fulbright impacts their campuses and communities.

Howard University

“Howard University is delighted to be recognized as an HBCU Institutional Leader by the Fulbright Program. The Fulbright experience has made a significant positive impact on our Howard scholars, helping them to become better global leaders who are prepared to be servant leaders with an international perspective.” – President Wayne A. I. Frederick

Morgan State University

“We hold the Fulbright Program and all it represents with the highest regard, and to have that level of reverence reciprocated by way of Morgan being distinguished as a Fulbright Institutional Leader truly reaffirms our commitment to the Fulbright mission. […] This year marks Morgan’s 70th year working in partnership with the Fulbright Program to advance the global perspective of our scholars and promote the inherent value of teaching, studying, and research in a foreign milieu. I applaud the efforts of our Division of International Affairs team and the many other faculty, staff and student Fulbrighters who have made exemplary contributions to the success of Morgan’s Fulbright program.” – President David K. Wilson

Spelman College

“Spelman and Fulbright are similar in their interest in students who are curious. Like Fulbright, the College puts an emphasis on preparing students to be global leaders by making available opportunities for them to conduct research and engage in study abroad experiences.” – Michelle Hite, associate professor, Honors Program director, and International Fellowships and Scholarships director

Texas Southern University

“Texas Southern University is pleased to be recognized as an HBCU Institutional Leader by the Fulbright Program for a second year. This distinction speaks to TSU’s commitment to foster connections with students and culture worldwide and serves as a testament to TSU’s legacy of Excellence in Achievement.” – Interim President Kenneth Huewitt

“This recognition reflects the commitment of our faculty and staff to provide global opportunities that advance the student experience and further the University’s mission. This distinction recognizes TSU’s continued dedication to faculty excellence and its legacy of international engagement.” – Kendall T. Harris, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs and Research

3. The Fulbright HBCU Symposium

On June 3rd, the Fulbright Program hosted the Fulbright HBCU Symposium to discuss Fulbright opportunities and resources for HBCUs, the benefits of a Fulbright experience, and the role that the Fulbright Program plays in supporting HBCU campus internationalization, global awareness, and engagement. The symposium was open to all, and specifically designed for HBCU faculty, staff, and stakeholders. More than 250 people registered, including representatives of 38 HBCUs and 16 non-HBCU U.S. colleges and universities, as well as nonprofits, international organizations, and other individuals. 

Dr. Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University and 1967 Fulbright Scholar to France

Keynote Speaker Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University and 1967 Fulbright U.S. Student to France, welcomed attendees and shared the benefits of the Fulbright Program on her life and career:

The Fulbright Program is built on a very simple principle that if we know others on a person-to-person level, we’ll be better able to stave off the kind of discord and animosity that can so easily arise among peoples of different backgrounds and cultures […] Studying at the University of Lyon became the centerpiece of, and the vehicle for, the shaping of my views on how I could relate to and contribute not just to my small community, but to others across the world. Living and studying in France as a Fulbrighter powered my further study and is one of the primary reasons I’ve been able to lead a wide variety of constituents. I feel comfortable in any setting. Fulbright gave me that, and so I say to my students at Prairie View ‘you simply must have the experience of international education.’

Dr. Ruth Simmons

Dr. Dafina Blacksher Diabate, director of International Programs, and Fulbright Program Adviser and Scholar Liaison at Lincoln University of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Dr. Leah Creque, professor of English, director of Honors Program, and Fulbright Program Adviser and Scholar Liaison at Morehouse College, as well as Fulbright Program staff, provided practical information and tips on how to work with the Fulbright Student, Scholar, and Specialist programs.

Watch the recording here.

4. Join the Campaign: Share Your HBCU Stories with Fulbright   

Keep the celebration going by sharing your memories and experiences from HBCUs:

Every Fulbrighter has a story to share, and we want to hear yours! To continue our celebration of the valued relationship between the Fulbright Program and HBCU institutions throughout the country, we’re asking our HBCU Fulbright alumni to share their photos and stories with us. Follow the link to upload images or videos accompanied by the experience you’d like to share with us.

5. I Am Fulbright

The Fulbright Program is committed to making life-changing international exchange opportunities available for scholars and students at HBCUs and all types of institutions – as well as for teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds. Learn more about Fulbright application requirements and deadlines for the Fulbright U.S. Student, U.S. and Visiting Scholar, and Foreign Student Programs, and how to connect with the Fulbright Program’s 75th anniversary.

Fulbright really requires you to be bold, and to explain your project to people, and to interact with the local community and use those foreign language skills. That is really, really valuable.

Sasha Velour


On June 3, 2021, the Fulbright Program hosted a special event to kick off Pride Month and celebrate the career of 2009 Fulbright U.S. Student to Russia, winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9, and internationally recognized drag queen, artist, and producer, Sasha Velour. The discussion was moderated by Christian Flores, 2019 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Brazil and founder of Projeto Memoria LGBT – Bagé. The conversation spanned many topics including Sasha’s Fulbright experience in Moscow, the international influences on her drag aesthetic and performances, the importance of uplifting and celebrating queer voices, and the details of her creative process and current projects.

Sasha Velour and Christian Flores

In discussing queer stories, Christian and Sasha talked about the changing ideas around non-binary figures in history. “Unfortunately, the physical research about queer existence is about times when people have been destroyed, or times that people were arrested or punished,” Sasha noted during the event. “I think about Leslie Fienberg’s Transgender Warriors about where things changed from trans and nonbinary people being seen as spiritual figures or folks who had an access to a fluidity that would be considered an asset to society, when that changed to be something that people are afraid of or disgusted by, and then reclaiming that positivity.”

Sasha and Christian discussed the importance of telling and recording queer stories, which are often remarkable and just as often lost. Sasha reminisced about working with a drag queen who impersonated Shirley Temple in the 1970’s and 1980’s at Finniochio’s Club, a drag dinner club in San Francisco. “One of the most historic drag dinner clubs that’s been closed my entire lifetime… Only later did I realize what vital oral history it was, the stories she told me about Bette Davis visiting Finnochio’s I will never forget, and it’s nowhere written down.”

The audience heard about the status of upcoming projects from the House of Velour, including the resumption and extension of the Smoke and Mirrors European tour, and the upcoming NightGowns: the Musical.  


Sasha Velour: 2009 Fulbright Student Researcher to Russia

Sasha Velour is a genderfluid drag queen, theatre and television producer, and winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (Season 9). Since her debut on the international stage in 2017, Velour has bewitched sold-out crowds on five continents. Her internationally renowned solo theatrical work, “Smoke & Mirrors,” has toured The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, selling out theaters in New York, LA, Auckland, Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco, London, and more. The show will return to Europe for a 34-city tour in early 2022. Last year, Velour adapted her long-running drag review, “NightGowns” into a docu-series that she Executive Produced for Quibi. “NightGowns” with Sasha Velour was hailed by “The New York Times” as being “among the most life-affirming shows you could find on any platform.” She won a Realscreen Award for the show, which will come to the Roku Channel later this year. Through her genre-defying work, Velour is creating new business models for drag as art, which “Fast Company” says is “disrupting the business of drag.” “Variety” named Velour to their “Power of New York List” in 2019 and she has been honored in “Out Magazine’s” OUT100, twice. Velour studied Modern Literatures through the independent program at Vassar College and Cartooning at the Center for Cartoon Studies. In 2009, she received a Fulbright grant to study the role of political art in contemporary Russian life. As a public speaker, she has spoken at the Smithsonian, the Teen Vogue Summit, colleges and universities, and on behalf of the U.S. State Department abroad. Velour recently starred in the short art-opera film, “The Island We Made” (commissioned by Opera Philadelphia), and her first book will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2022.

Christian Flores: 2019 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Brazil

Christian Flores is a 2019 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Brazil. While on his Fulbright, he inaugurated “Projeto Memória LGBT – Bagé,” a public history project designed to highlight and celebrate queer voices and experiences at the Federal University of Pampa in Bagé, a small, conservative city in Brazil’s southern countryside. Flores, an Illinois College alumnus, is based in Chicago, IL where he works as a Program Administrator in the Research Division at Safer Foundation, a non-profit that assists individuals with arrests and convictions to access job opportunities.

Fulbright was a wonderful, wonderful year. I’d never been to Europe before, my wife had never been either. It was all an eye opener for everything, for meeting people, and the Irish are the most generous and welcoming people, and learning a new language, to learn a little Irish, Irish Gaelic, for making friends and for being somewhere else.

Roger Rosenblatt

On May 14, 2021, the Fulbright Program hosted a virtual event celebrating the life and career of Roger Rosenblatt, a 1965 Fulbright U.S. Student to Ireland and a writer, professor, Emmy Award winner, and Peabody Award winner. The discussion was moderated by Daniel Peña, a 2014 Fulbright U.S. Student to Mexico, assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of Houston – Downtown, and author of Bang: A Novel. 

Peña led a conversation that touched on the art of writing, advice for aspiring writers, and the impact of  the Fulbright experience on Rosenblatt’s life and career. The event concluded with a reading from Rosenblatt’s award-winning new book, Cold Moon: On Life, Love, and Responsibility, where the author reflected on the main message of the book: “We are all responsible for one another, and we are all the same.”



Daniel Peña– 1965 Fulbright U.S. Student to Mexico 

Daniel Peña is a Pushcart Prize-winning writer and Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Houston-Downtown.  Formerly, he was based out of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City where he served as a Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholar. A graduate of Cornell University and a former Picador Guest Professor in Leipzig, Germany, his writing has appeared in PloughsharesThe Rumpus, the Kenyon Review, NBC News, and Arcturus, among  other venues. He is currently a regular contributor to the Guardian and the Ploughshares blog. His novel, Bang, is out now from Arte Publico Press.  


Roger Rosenblatt– 1965 Fulbright U.S. Student to Ireland 

Roger Rosenblatt, whose prolific work has been published in 14 languages, is the author of five New YorkTimes Notable Books of the Year, and three Times bestsellers, including the memoirs KayakMorning, TheBoyDetective, and MakingToast, originally an essay in the NewYorker. TheStoryI  Am, a collection on writing and the writing life was published in April of 2020 and ColdMoon: OnLife, Love, andResponsibilitywas published in October 2020. He has written seven off-Broadway plays, notably the one-person FreeSpeechin America, that he performed at the American Place Theater, named one of The New York Times’s “Ten Best Plays of 1991.” In 2019, The Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor produced Lives in the Basement, Does Nothing, his one-person musical about the writing life, for which he played jazz piano.  

The Distinguished Professor of English and Writing at Stony Brook, Rosenblatt formerly held the Briggs-Copeland appointment in creative writing at Harvard, where he earned his Ph.D. Among his honors are two George Polk Awards; the Peabody, and the Emmy, for his essays in Time magazine and on PBS; a Fulbright to Ireland, where he played on the Irish International Basketball Team; seven honorary doctorates; the Kenyon Review Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement; and the President’s Medal from the Chautauqua Institution for his body of work.  

The Fulbright Specialist program was instrumental in fostering the technical exchange between the two sister parks – Crater Lake National Park in the U.S. and Triglav National Park in Slovenia.

John Duwe, 2017 Fulbright Specialist to Slovenia 

In celebration of National Park Week and the U.S. Department of State’s historic partnership with the National Park Service, the Fulbright Program hosted a virtual event exploring Crater Lake National Park on April 23rd, 2021. Fulbright alumni who are now associated with the National Park Service facilitated a discussion on how the National Park Service connects visitors to nature, conducts research and habitat species preservation, and works with Native American communities to preserve their cultural heritage.  

The event began with a special welcome message from the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board member Ms. Margaret Chai Maloney, who highlighted the importance of exploring amazing places and discovering stories of U.S. history and culture.  

Moderated by 2017 Fulbright Specialist to Slovenia and Crater Lake National Park ranger, John Duwe, the event also featured an overview of Crater Lake National Park and an introduction to the U.S. National Park Service. Following the overview and introductions, Crater Lake Park Aquatic Ecologist Dave Hering presented his work to restore and preserve the native bull trout, a type of fish which has suffered from the introduction of nonnative species and was named a “threatened species” in 1999.  The event concluded with stories from Klamath Tribal Elders Barbara Alatorre, John Wright, and Clarence “Boone” Jenkins, who discussed their fondest memories of Crater Lake and the story of how the lake came to be. 

“I’m so happy that Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board member Ms. Maloney talked about the feeling of spirituality in her welcome message,” noted Duwe, “because that’s really what is so special about Crater Lake. Until you go there, and feel it for yourself, you won’t really know what I’m talking about, but it’s inspiring and it’s humbling.” 



John Duwe (2017 Fulbright Specialist to Slovenia) – John Duwe grew up both in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and the cold spring water of Northern Michigan. His father was an environmental specialist for the National Park Service and his mother was a special education teacher. After completing a course of study in geology and a tour as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia, he decided to combine his love of working in natural settings and sharing ideas with people and set out to become an environmental educator. John worked for two seasons as an interpretive park ranger at Crater Lake National Park while he pursued his Master of Science in Environmental Education and Oregon Teaching Licensure from Southern Oregon University. Since then, he has worked as a classroom teacher, a program director for an environmental education NGO, and most recently as the education coordinator at Crater Lake National Park. John traveled to Slovenia in 2017 as a Fulbright Specialist to work with rangers at Crater Lake’s sister park, Triglav National Park, sharing ideas and strengthening relationships between the parks. John now lives in Fort Klamath, Oregon with his wife Stephanie (also a park ranger) and their two retrievers. He hopes to continue to work globally as he strives to provide mutual understanding of shared resources.  


Dave Hering – Dave Hering is an aquatic ecologist and fisheries biologist at Crater Lake National Park.  His interests include life history diversity and behavior of freshwater fish, the effects of invasive species, and conservation of native nongame fish and amphibians.  For the past 14 years, Dave has worked to protect imperiled populations of bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in Oregon’s Upper Klamath Basin, and his recent work has emphasized partnership among multiple stakeholders to accomplish landscape-scale ecological restoration. Dave is currently engaged in a collaborative international project to restore an alpine lake ecosystem in Triglav National Park in Slovenia.  He is on the roster of the Fulbright Specialist Program and enjoys sharing expertise with international counterparts in the field of natural resource management. Dave holds a B.S in Biology and an M.S. in Fisheries Science.  He lives in Ashland, Oregon.   

John Wright– John Wright is an Elder of the Klamath Tribes. John was born and raised in Chiloquin, Oregon. At age 21, he moved to Warm Springs, Oregon, where he worked a full career in the woods and sawmills. Returning to live in Chiloquin in 2000, John supports his community through his participation on the Klamath Tribal Elder Committee and the Klamath Tribes’ Fish and Game Commission. He has also enjoyed teaching his grandchildren and other community members traditional camping, hunting, and fishing skills. John has been married to his wife Barbara (also from Chiloquin) for 54 years. Together they have seven kids, 23 grandkids, 16 great-grandkids, and 4 great-great-grandkids. John enjoys camping and working around the house.  

Barbara Alatorre– Barbara Alatorre is a researcher and historian of the tribes of Southern Oregon and is herself a member of the Klamath Tribe and a direct descendant of two signers of the Treaty of 1864. She has researched Klamath tribal history and stories for over forty years. Ms. Alatorre was recently honored as a “Star of Oregon” for years of outstanding community service, having served as president of the Portland American Indian Center, as a board member of both the Urban Indian Council and the Commission on Indian Services, and chairwoman of the Urban Ma’klaks. 

Clarence “Boone” Jenkins – Clarence “Boone” Jenkins is an Elder of the Klamath Tribes. Boone was born in 1943 in Klamath Agency, Oregon, and raised just below Crater Lake in Ft. Klamath, Oregon. He finished high school in Klamath Falls and then studied welding at the Oregon Institute of Technology. After college, he moved to Albany, Oregon to work in construction and help his parents run a bowling alley. In 1985, Boone moved to Alaska to work as a bowling alley mechanic and then moved to the western slope of Alaska to build ice roads for trucking. He moved back to Fort Klamath in 2000. Boone has five sons, four living in Oregon and one in Alaska. For fun, Boone likes to hunt, fish, and watch auto racing. 

Fulbright Impact in the Field Panel: Climate Change and Environmental Justice

Fulbright Impact in the Field: Climate Change and Environmental Justice – Experts Discuss Environmental Justice in the Face of Climate Change

It is exciting to see this group tackle the climate crisis from a number of different angles. This discussion is especially relevant as we come off the end of the Global Climate Summit and as governments and other actors set new targets and lay out the groundwork for what the next 10 years of action will look like.

– Tim McDonnell, 2016 Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellow to Kenya, Quartz magazine climate and energy journalist

The Fulbright Impact in the Field: Climate Change and Environmental Justice panel convened scientists, researchers, and other professionals involved in combating climate change. They discussed the latest scientific and policy developments, and looked at how new approaches and international collaborations can be used to combat climate change and pursue environmental justice. These experts also shared their Fulbright experiences and the benefits of their new ideas at institutions and in communities.

Meet the Speakers


Tim McDonnell (2016 Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellow to Kenya) is a climate and energy journalist at the global business magazine Quartz, covering the clean energy transition. 


Amber Ajani (2014 Fulbright Foreign Student from Pakistan to American University) is a Climate Fellow at the UN Climate Change secretariat and a recipient of the UNFCCC-UNU Early Career Climate Fellowship.  

Shalanda Baker, JD (2016 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Mexico) is theDeputy Director for Energy Justice in the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and co-founder of the Initiative for Energy Justice.  

Dr. M Jackson (2011 Fulbright U.S. Student to Turkey, 2015 Fulbright U.S. Student to Iceland, 2018 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Iceland) is a geographer, glaciologist, TED Fellow, Fulbright Alumni Ambassador, and National Geographic Society Explorer. 

Dr. Greg Poelzer (2015 Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholar, 2021 Fulbright Arctic Initiative Co-Lead Scholar) is aProfessor in the School of Environment and Sustainability (SENS) and leads the Renewable Energy in Remote and Indigenous Communities Flagship Initiative at the University of Saskatchewan. He is also co-director of a multi-million-dollar Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant.  

Key Takeaways

  1. We need to ensure that equity is central to our clean energy transition.

How can we ensure our infrastructure investment both reduces climate pollution and benefits marginalized communities?

This is a moment to think about how to “bake” equity into a new energy system, according to Deputy Director for Energy Justice Shalanda Baker. Her position underscores a commitment to address structural issues of energy use and environmental impact. The new Justice40 Initiative, which promises that 40% of relevant federal investment will benefit disadvantaged communities, ensures that every federal infrastructure investment accelerates clean energy and transmission projects in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Dr. Greg Poelzer, a Canadian expert on renewable energy in remote and Indigenous communities, and Co-Lead Scholar of the third Fulbright Arctic Initiative, urges us to focus on the opportunity that the energy transition provides for vulnerable Indigenous communities. He advocates for using strategic environmental assessments in systemic ecosystem review, and bringing in diverse voices for better long-term stability.

  1. We need to make climate science communication more effective.

How can we communicate the core meaning of amazing scientific research, so that diverse communities can access it?

Glaciologist and explorer M Jackson uses mediums like film and art, rather than scientific journal articles, to visualize the impact of change. For example, her short film After Ice reveals the breathtaking story of a rapidly disappearing frozen world by overlaying archival imagery from the National Land Survey of Iceland with contemporary footage of glaciers in the South Coast of Iceland. This provides a dramatic look at how the ice has changed over the past 50 years.

  1. We need to empower sustainable development decision-makers at the local level.

How do we ensure that policy implementation addresses capacity building and community issues?

Amber Ajani, a Fulbright Foreign Student from Pakistan to American University who now works at UN Climate Change, noted that it is important to include local stakeholders in strategic impact analysis and assessments. The panelists discussed that community “buy-in,” local stakeholder consultation, and the presence local communities in the “drivers’ seat” must come at the early stages of project development, rather than having ideas from the Global North applied to developing communities. For example, ideas that come out of Brussels, Ottawa, or Washington, D.C. to create eco-preserves could have negative impacts on the livelihoods of local Arctic communities. Shalanda Baker reminds us that today’s climate debate is not ahistorical: our current situation resulted from hundreds of years of the Global North exploiting natural resources for economic development at the expense of communities in the Global South. To create equitable climate policy, we need to understand and address this history.

View the full panel below, or watch directly on YouTube here.

The Fulbright Impact in the Field panel series is part of the Fulbright Program’s effort to help find solutions to challenges facing our communities and our world. Free and open to the public, this series provides a digital space for Fulbright alumni to share their expert perspectives and explore the program’s impact on local and global communities. To learn about upcoming Fulbright 75th anniversary events, and see how you can get involved, sign up for the newsletter and visit

I had been somewhat defined a little bit in 2003 by the fact that I hadn’t completed the biography [The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke] that I had been working on for many years. I lost touch with it, and being outside the country, being in Italy that semester was really important for me to get back to who I was, and so I thank the Fulbright Program. That was just an incredible experience for me.”

– Dr. Jeffrey C. Stewart


On February 25, 2021, the Fulbright Program hosted a virtual event celebrating the accomplishments of Fulbright alumnus and Pulitzer Prize-winner, Dr. Jeffrey C. Stewart, and exploring the themes of his acclaimed biography, The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke. Dr. Stewart presented a brief overview of Locke’s biography before engaging in conversation with Fulbright alumna Dr. Joanne Braxton, a prominent scholar of African American Literature and Culture.

The event began with a short lecture by Dr. Stewart introducing the cultural and historical foundations of Alain Locke’s life through photographs, book excerpts, and fragments of Locke’s personal correspondence. Dr. Stewart also explained the ways in which Locke’s race and sexuality played key roles in his academic experiences and philosophies. Following the presentation, Dr. Stewart and Dr. Joanne Braxton discussed Locke’s time as a Rhodes Scholar, his philosophy of cosmopolitanism, and the idea of “the new negro.”

The discussion drew a clear connection between Locke’s experiences and ideas to the present, with implications for art, culture, religion, and the current realities of international exchange experiences for students and scholars of color.

Meet the Panelists

Dr. Jeffrey C. Stewart, (2003 U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Italy) – Jeffrey C. Stewart, PhD, is the author of The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, by Oxford University Press, 2018. It is one of the few books of history that has won the 2018 National Book Award for Nonfiction and the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Biography, along with five other national awards in history, biography, and gay nonfiction. Stewart attended graduate school at Yale University, where he received a M.A., M. Phil. and Ph.D. in American Studies. He now serves as Professor of Black Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, after numerous fellowships, lectureships, and professorships at Harvard University, Yale University, UCLA, Tufts University, Howard University, George Mason University, and the University of Rome III, where he was Fulbright Lecturer in American Studies in 2003.

Dr. Joanne Braxton, (2001 U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Germany) – Joanne Braxton, PhD, is Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Professor of the Humanities Emerita at William & Mary (W&M) and a distinguished scholar of African American Literature and Culture. She is a former Fulbright Professor (Germany, Italy, France and Spain, 2001) and the proud mother of a Fulbright daughter, Mycah (Japan, 2018). More recently, Dr. Braxton has served as David B. Larson Fellow in Spirituality and Health at the Library of Congress John W. Kluge Center and is currently director of “Tree of Life: Black Faith Matters in a Time of Dual Pandemics,” a project sponsored by the Center for African-American Religion, Sexual Politics, and Social Justice at Columbia University and funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. In 2021, Dr. Braxton will deliver the 27th Annual Shallenberger Lecture “On the Outrage of Black Mothers: Healing the Past in the Present” at the invitation of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Ethics Committee and the Berman Institute of Bioethics.

“Dr. Franklin was always walking with a sense of global interaction – even when he was thinking about the ways that the United States can address its own inequities and problems when it comes to racism.”

-Nishani Frazier, PhD; 2016 U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Norway


On February 19, 2021, the Fulbright Program hosted a virtual event exploring the life and legacy of celebrated historian, scholar, activist, author, and Fulbright alumnus, Dr. John Hope Franklin, who documented the integral role of Black Americans in U.S. history with his pivotal work, From Slavery to Freedom (1947). The panel discussion examined the ways in which Dr. Franklin’s personal story, beginning with the 1921 Tulsa massacre, informed his work and how his work, and his travel through the Fulbright Program, shaped the way we tell the American story around the world.

Meet the Panelists

The event, moderated by Fulbright alumna, Dr. Kalenda Eaton, featured Dr. Franklin’s son, John Whittington Franklin, with Fulbright alumna, Dr. Nishani Frazier, a historian and former personal assistant to Dr. John Hope Franklin. The panel considered the foundations, travels, and experiences that shaped Dr. Franklin’s work in creating an inclusive picture of the United States and its history. Through pictures from John Whittington Franklin’s personal archive, media clips, and personal anecdotes, the panel discussed the global impact of Dr. Franklin’s work and its meaning today. 


Kalenda Eaton, PhD (2016 U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Canada) – Dr. Eaton is an Associate Professor in the Clara Luper Department of African & African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Her areas of research and teaching include 20th and 21st century Africana Literatures, the Black American West, Women’s Studies, and African American Cultural History and Theory. For over ten years, she has traveled with students across Africa and the Western Hemisphere and is active in developing education abroad programs. Her recent publications can be found in American Studies Journal, Teaching Western American Literature, and Africa Today


John Whittington Franklin – Mr. Franklin is a historian and the son of Dr. John Hope Franklin. For the past 50 years, Mr. Franklin has specialized in the history and culture of Africa and its Diaspora, working with the Smithsonian Institution for three decades to expand understanding of its diverse cultures and histories in Washington, D.C. and around the world. In 2005, Franklin was a part of the initial team involved in forming the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in Washington in 2016. Since his retirement from the Smithsonian in 2019, Mr. Franklin established Franklin Global LLC, which allows him to continue his work lecturing on cultural issues and consulting with educational institutions. 

Nishani Frazier, PhD (2016 U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Norway) – Dr. Frazier is an Associate Professor of American Studies and History at the University of Kansas. Prior to the University of Kansas, she held positions as Associate Professor in the Department of History at Miami University of Ohio, Associate Curator of African American History and Archives at Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS), Assistant to the Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Archives at the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and personal assistant for Dr. John Hope Franklin, before and during his tenure as chair of President Clinton’s “One America in the 21st Century: The President’s Initiative on Race.” 

To learn about upcoming Fulbright 75th anniversary events, sign up for the newsletter. 

“We know that infections: they don’t have borders, they don’t have governments. They don’t care about presidents, they don’t care about our political system. We have to do this together.”  

-Igor Stoma, MD, PhD; 2017 Fulbright Visiting Scholar from Belarus to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 
Fulbright Impact in the Field: Global Health & Covid-19 Reunion Panel


Since the emergence of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), Fulbright participants and alumni have been working tirelessly to uplift, innovate, and find solutions to challenges facing our communities and world. 

The Fulbright Impact in the Field panel series, which is open to the public, provides a digital space for Fulbright alumni experts to share their insights, expertise, and Fulbright’s impact on local and global communities. The Fulbright 75th Anniversary Special “Fulbright Impact in the Field” Reunion Panel on Global Heath & COVID-19 on January 29, 2021 reunited our original panelists from the May 2020 event for a follow-up discussion.  

Meet the Panelists

Participating Fulbright alumni, who are physicians and scientists, shared updates about their experiences combatting the pandemic over the past year. They discussed changes in coronavirus treatment, lessons learned about the virus, the current state of vaccine production and distribution, and more.  


Imre Varju, MD, PhD, MPH, CHES (2016 Fulbright Visiting Scholar from Hungary to Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School) – Dr. Varju is a medical scientist and health communications specialist who is interested in sharing how to accurately communicate risk and public health developments. 


Serena Dasani, MD, MBA (2013 Fulbright ETA to Indonesia) – Dr. Dasani is an anesthesia resident physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and has conducted research quantifying the financial impact that COVID-19 had on U.S. hospitals. 

Javier Jaimes, DVM, MS, MBA, PhD (2014 Foreign Fulbright Student from Colombia to Cornell University) – Dr. Jaimes is a virologist working in research and education. He is currently studying the pathogenesis of the SARS-Co V-2, the virus behind the COVID-19 emergency. 

Igor Stoma, MD, PhD (2017 Fulbright Visiting Scholar from Belarus to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) – Dr. Stoma is Chancellor and Professor of Infectious Diseases at Gomel State Medical University in Belarus who consults on the treatment of the most complex cases of COVID-19. 

Charlotte Summers, PhD, MRCP, FFICM (2013 Fulbright Visiting Scholar from the United Kingdom to University of California, San Francisco) – Dr. Summers is an academic critical care physician at Cambridge with a passion for translating basic science into therapies for critically ill patients. 

Benjamin tenOever, PhD (2014 U.S. Scholar to Institut Pasteur and Ecole Normale Superieure in France) – Dr. tenOever is Director of the Virus Engineering Center for Therapeutics and Research (VECToR) at Mount Sinai and is involved in an international consortium to develop vaccines and antivirals against Novel Coronavirus (SARS-Co V-2). 

Key Takeaways

During the discussion, panelists reaffirmed the importance of:  

  1. Public health planning and management for faster response to emergencies, including pandemics 
  2. Accurate and timely health communication to combat misinformation 
  3. Solving complex problems via international collaboration and engagement  

After an unprecedented period of research, vaccine testing, and new solutions to public health challenges, the panelists look forward to increased focus on

  1. Encouraging empathy among the general population 
  2. Promoting basic scientific literacy  
  3. Improving healthcare equity and access around the world 

To learn about upcoming Fulbright Impact in the Field panels and other Fulbright 75th anniversary events, sign up for the newsletter. 

This article was written by Amizade.

Amizade has partnered with the Fulbright Program since 2016 to offer in-person service-learning and ethical storytelling programs in the rural Appalachian region of the United States. Since we are currently unable to travel and serve in person, Amizade was delighted to partner with the Fulbright Program once again as part of their 2021 Fulbright Service Week.

Amizade hosted a series of virtual conversations about what service looks like in diverse communities across the United States. Fulbrighters from dozens of countries, universities, and academic disciplines joined these engaging sessions with local community leaders, and the conversations were inspiring. Leaders from three distinct U.S. communities shared local perspectives that are often difficult to encounter without traveling. In addition to these discussions, Amizade facilitators — Executive Director Brandon Blache-Cohen and Communications Coordinator Melissa Nix — led participants in guided reflections on what service means to them and how they might be able to take action in their own communities.

The Service Week events started on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with members of the Pine Ridge Agricultural Initiative on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Keller Allen, Leah Mutz, and Milton Bianas talked about their definitions of service and acknowledged the often complex history of service on the reservation. A highlight of the session came when one participant asked to hear a Lakota song. Many expected a recommendation from Spotify or Youtube, but Milton surprised the group and decided to sing instead. Perhaps due to a burst of inspiration provided by Milton’s song, many participants shared brilliant personal definitions of what service means to them.

Pine Ridge Agricultural Initiative members Keller Allen and Leah Mutz.
Pine Ridge Agricultural Initiative members Keller Allen and Leah Mutz.

On Wednesday participants were transported to Williamson, West Virginia, a rural coal-mining town in Appalachia that has suffered economically since the collapse of the coal industry but continues to inspire with its award-winning community revitalization efforts. Wednesday’s speaker, Darrin McCormick, is a longtime leader and champion of community-driven development, the former mayor of Williamson, and an excellent storyteller. He offered Williamson as an example of the significant progress that can come from many years of community dedication and planning. Darrin also walked participants through the creation of Sustainable Williamson and the Williamson Health and Wellness Center, two community-led organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for the region’s residents by building a culture of health.

Darrin McCormick explains social determinants of health.
Darrin McCormick explains social determinants of health.

The final conversation in the series featured Michael Fernandez, Director of Caras con Causa, a grassroots nonprofit organization that promotes community development to eradicate poverty through education, maintaining the environment, and economic development together with the communities of Cataño and Guaynabo in Puerto Rico. Michael spoke about the power of global service-learning as a tool for social good, and how the role of visiting volunteers has changed as Caras has grown. He shared that he finds hope for the future through collaboration in service. Michael and the participants from the Fulbright Program agreed that, quite often, service really does begin with friendship.

Michael Fernandez points to where Puerto Rico is located on a map.

Though the conversation series itself has now concluded, the service it inspired is just beginning. At the end of each conversation, Amizade invited the Fulbrighters who attended to participate in a virtual service project. A small group of Fulbrighters will spend the next two weeks researching questions around water decontamination from uranium and radium that is impacting the Pine Ridge Reservation. Monday, January 25th marked the kickoff of this service project, and the group is now hard at work on their research into several topics including water testing, successful decontamination in other communities, and ways to combat the effects of exposure to contaminants.

It was such a pleasure to collaborate on this series and examine what it means to serve in a community. We hope these conversations served as windows into communities that many people do not usually have a chance to visit and motivated all who participated to take action through a service project of their own.

Learn more about how you can give back to your community as a Fulbright alumna/us by visiting the Get Involved section.

Amizade is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting volunteerism, providing community service, encouraging collaboration, and improving cultural awareness in locations throughout the world. Since 2016, they have partnered with the Fulbright Program to bring Fulbright Foreign Students and some Fulbright U.S. Students to Williamson, West Virginia to participate in community service activities, engage with local organizations, and learn about the town and its people through hands-on activities and ethical storytelling practices. Read more about the 2019 Fulbright-Amizade trip to Williamson.