Deborah Cromley, Ph.D., uncovered a deep love for Ancient Greek and Roman studies as an undergraduate student at Smith College. However, it wasn’t until Cromley graduated and traveled to Europe as the recipient of a Fulbright study/research grant that she had the opportunity to immerse herself in the places she had read and dreamed about for years, including Greece, Italy and Turkey. The experience shaped her perception of the world irrevocably. Today the assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures, as the College’s Fulbright Program Advisor, works closely with some of Le Moyne’s most talented students to help them apply to the same prestigious cultural exchange program.
Established in 1946 by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers research, study and teaching opportunities to recent college graduates, graduate students and professionals in more than 140 countries across the globe. It was created in the shadow of World War II to promote mutual understanding and peace. Since then, Fulbright’s impact in shaping world leaders has been nothing short of phenomenal. A total of 57 Fulbright recipients have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 29 have gone on to become MacArthur Foundation Fellows, and 37 have served as heads of state or government.
“There is no doubt that the Fulbright Program is transformational – in the best sense of the word,” says Cromley. “It allows individuals to meet, interact with, and learn from other people from around the world. The program is about sharing knowledge – and promoting peace. Those are the very values we seek to instill in our students at Le Moyne.”
While still a relatively young institution, Le Moyne has enjoyed great success in sending its students abroad as Fulbright recipients in recent years. Brianna Natale ’16 is now in the Netherlands, pursuing a master’s degree in behavioral science research and studying how a mother’s health during pregnancy could affect her child’s physical and psychological development. Prior to Natale, Katie Conroy ’08 and Kelsey Woodrick ’13 were awarded Fulbright grants to teach English in Argentina and Thailand respectively. In addition, Lara DeRuisseau, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences, recently spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Finland, where she conducted research related to Alzheimer’s disease.
Cromley hopes these successes are just the beginning. Since being named the Fulbright Program Advisor 18 months ago, she has worked closely with several of Le Moyne’s most talented students throughout the program’s extensive application process. She coaches them on how to present themselves, and their interests, in the best possible light. While the program is extremely competitive, the application process can be enormously instructive. It prompts students to reflect upon their experiences to date and to discern how they will use those experiences and what they have learned at the College in the future.
“As they go through the application process, students start to see how the decisions they have made over their lives can culminate in these kinds of extraordinary opportunities,” Cromley says. “I hope that more students will be encouraged to dream big and to consider applying to the Fulbright Program and other prestigious fellowships. Success breeds success."
Scholarships and Fellowships