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13 Rochester students, recent alumni named Fulbright semifinalists

March 8, 2018

logo reads 2017-2018 Fulbright US Student Top ProducerThirteen University of Rochester students and recent alumni are semifinalists in the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Grant Program, the government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Sponsored by the State Department, it offers opportunities to pursue advanced studies, conduct research, and teach English language and U.S. culture abroad.

Final award offers will be announced on a country-by-country basis over the next three to four months.

Thirty-two candidates applied to this year’s competition through Fulbright review committees at the River Campus and at Eastman.

Rochester also has been named a “top producer” of Fulbright US Student Grant winners for the 2017-18 academic year. The University had 40 applicants and 10 who accepted grants last year. Two other students were offered Fulbright grants but declined.

This is the second year in a row Rochester has been designated a top producer, and the third time in the last five years.

Here are the 13 semifinalists, along with their hometowns, majors, country of application, and type of grant sought:


Cherish Blackman ’18 (Rochester)

East Asian studies/Russian

China: study/research language and literature


Laura Cowie-Haskell ’18 (Marshfield, Massachusetts)


Kenya: English Teaching Assistantship


Meg Cutting ’18E (Salem-Keizer, Oregon)

Organ performance

France: study creative and performing arts in organ performance


Ella DeFalco ’18 (Skaneateles, New York)


Belgium: English Teaching Assistantship


Annamarie Forestiere ’18 (Pulaski, New York)


United Kingdom: study/research arts management


Oleaser Johnson ’18 (University Heights, Ohio)


South Korea: English Teaching Assistantship


Amelia Kelly ’18 (Camillus, New York)


Malaysia: English Teaching Assistantship


Crystal Lee ’18 (Rochester)

Brain and cognitive sciences/linguistics

Netherlands: study/research psychology and cognitive science


Lauren Oey ’18 (Mountain Lakes, New Jersey)

Brain and cognitive sciences/linguistics/statistics

Hong Kong: study/research linguistics and cognitive science


Reva Peer ’18 (Roseland, California)

Molecular genetics

South Korea: English Teaching Assistantship


Joseph Plyan-Franke ’17 (T5) (Syracuse, New York)

Computer science/linguistics

Laos: English Teaching Assistantship


Erin Straight ’17 (Wolcott, New York)

International relations/Spanish

Colombia: English Teaching Assistantship


Alexis Wallace ’18 (Carthage, New York)

Political science/Russian

Russia: English Teaching Assistantship


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