Author: Michael

Fulbright Profile: Elisa Shaholli (ETA, Turkey)

Prior to doing Fulbright, I’d always heard people say that Fulbright was a life changing experience, and I never really knew what to think. Sometimes things seem like they might be too good to be true! Now that I’m halfway through my Fulbright, I have to say that it has been such a formative experience for me. I love teaching, and I love my students. I’ve had so many memorable moments at my university, and I feel really fortunate to be able to learn more about Turkish culture and language through Fulbright. I’ve always been interested in Turkey, and being able to learn more about the country through being here has been incredibly important for me. I think this experience has given me a deeper perspective towards life, people, and my goals, and really helped cement and transform who I see myself being as a person.

Elisa celebrating Turkey’s 100th Republic Day

I’ve had some wonderful students with a zest for learning and also teaching me, too, which has been so much fun! Alongside teaching, I’ve been able to take experiences I’ve done at UConn and bring them here at my own university. This past semester I worked on a project with a few students outside of class exploring disability in Turkey, which was wonderful. I was involved in undergraduate research at UConn, and it was a really rewarding experience to be mentoring and guiding students here on how to do research!

Outside of the university, I’ve been an avid concert goer. I’ve seen Yıldız Tilbe, Hadise, Edis, Mert Demir, Dedubluman, Buray, Kenan Doğulu, and more in the flesh! I’ve been listening to Turkish music since I was a child, so I think you can imagine my excitement at being able to experience the music live in person. There’s still another few months of Fulbright left to go, but I feel very grateful for this opportunity. I think it’s one that I’ll treasure for a very long time.

By Elisa Shaholli
English Teaching Assistant, Turkey

Seven UConn Students Earn Gilman Scholarships

The fall 2023 recipients of Gilman scholarships (front, from left) Suki Zheng, Michelle Eweka, (back, from left) Moera Kamimura, Alexandra Torres Munoz, Avery Lyn Sparks and Yanni Tsiranides pose for a photo on the Student Union lawn on Dec. 14, 2023. (Sydney Herdle/UConn Photo)


The Gilman Scholarship, a prestigious academic award congressionally funded through the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs at the State Department, has been awarded to seven UConn students for the most recent (fall 2023) application cycle. The funding supports broadening student participation in study abroad programs and encourages travel to diverse locations around the globe, along with intensive language study and internship experiences. 

“We are very excited to see STEM students being represented with Gilman Scholarships this award cycle,” says Valerie Jenkelunas, Experiential Global Learning (EGL) advisor and community liaison specialist. “We also appreciate that four students will be studying abroad in East Asia, an underrepresented region in study abroad nationally.”

In addition to EGL, students applying for Gilman Scholarships also work with advisors in UConn’s Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships (ONSF).  Michael Cunningham, Assistant Director of ONSF and UConn’s Fulbright Program Advisor, is one of two Gilman certifying advisors at UConn along with Jenkelunas.

Continue reading on UConn Today . . . .