Three Pratt graduates and a current Pratt student have been selected as semifinalists for the 2024 Fulbright US Student Program. The merit-based cultural exchange program, sponsored by the United States government, provides grants for international study and research, as well as participation in English language assistant programs. Each year, Fulbright offers approximately 2,000 graduating seniors, recent college graduates, graduate students, and young professionals from the United States the opportunity to engage in academic projects, learn from diverse cultures, and work on pressing societal issues.

The 2024 Pratt semifinalists are Blair Peters, MFA Painting and Drawing ’23, for independent research and building a body of work in the area of fine arts in the United Kingdom; Lauren Walker, BFA Graphic Design ’21, for a multidisciplinary project in Germany; Tommesha Holt, MFA Photography ’23, for independent research and a documentary project in Brazil; and Rafael Swerdlin, BArch ’24, for independent research in Italy. 

Since Pratt began applying to the Fulbright Program in 1949, it has collectively received 55 grants and research scholarships for study in countries including Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Belize, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam. 

In 2018, the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) began advising on Fulbright applications, and Pratt Institute has become a leader in involving students in the Fulbright US Student Program. This February, the Chronicle of Higher Education named Pratt among the “Top Producers of Fulbright US Scholars and Students, 2023-24,” ranking it in the top ten of four-year special-focus institutions for the fifth consecutive year.

The Fulbright advisor at Pratt is Deborah Yanagisawa, associate director of career development and engagement. “We look forward to this next Fulbright cycle and hope many alumni and students will apply,” Yanagisawa said. The 2025-2026 award cycle begins April 2 and the national deadline is October 8 at 5:00 PM. Those interested can apply for grants and receive assistance from Melanie Barksdale and Yanagisawa at the CCPD all through the summer and fall semesters. 

Previous Fulbright recipients from Pratt include Diana Kokoszka, MArch ’15, for research in Mauritania in 2018; Ali Shrago-Spechler, BFA Painting ‘11, for research in Germany in 2020-2021; T. Craig Sinclair, MArch ’16,  for research in Norway in 2021-22; and Olivia Noss, BFA Photography ’22, for research in Germany in 2023. All Fulbright semifinalists are considered by the supervising agency or US embassy in the host country, with finalists announced in the spring.