Fulbright Scholar Salam Qumsiyeh of Palestine just graduated from Sacred Heart University after completing her master’s in communications degree.
The Fulbright Scholar program, which President Harry Truman signed into law in 1946, is run through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It awards scholarships to students in the U.S and internationally who want to experience other cultures. The application process is competitive: students first must apply to be considered as candidates for the program. If they succeed, they then must fill out multiple applications detailing why they deserve to be a Fulbright Scholar.
After more than a year-and-a-half of completing paperwork and waiting to hear back from the program, Qumsiyeh received the news that she had been selected as a Fulbright Scholar in April 2017. After being selected as a scholar, she chose to pursue her graduate studies at SHU.
“Although I was somewhat expecting to hear back from the [Fulbright] program at some point, I still felt as though it was a life-changing moment when I opened that email saying I had been accepted,” said Qumsiyeh, who was in SHU’s multimedia production program. “I had been working two jobs in my home country of Palestine, but neither job had much room for growth in the field that I wanted to pursue, video production. I want to create content discussing the politics and occupation of Palestine, but I want the content to be in English so that I can bring attention to this issue here in the United States.”
Qumsiyeh discovered the Fulbright Scholar Program through an agency called Amideast, a Washington D.C.-based, nonprofit organization that works to strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation between Americans and the people of the Middle East and North Africa. The organization has offices not far from Qumsiyeh’s hometown in Palestine.
“Salam has been an excellent student in the broadcast journalism and media production graduate program; she is also our first Fulbright scholar,” said Alicastro, who had Salam as a student in multiple classes. “She always brings an interesting perspective to our vibrant discussions in class, especially in our talks about international journalism. I am very happy that she chose our program, and I hope we will continue to have more students like Salam in the future.”