Seven Texas State students named Fulbright semi-finalists


Lane Fortenberry | February 26, 2024

Headshot of Olivia Murr.
Olivia Murr

Two Texas State University undergraduate students, three graduate students, and one graduate alumna have been recommended by the Fulbright National Screening Committee as semi-finalists for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program’s 2024–2025 award year.

Undergraduate students Carol-Ann Veretto, German major and international studies minor, and Madison Washington, education major, and master’s student Olivia Murr, literature major, are semi-finalists to pursue teaching assistantships in English.

“I applied for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Hungary due to its blend of teaching and academic advising,” Murr said. “If selected, I look forward to learning how to best guide my students to achieve their educational goals. Teaching abroad will likewise allow me to strengthen my skills by instructing students with different cultural perspectives.”

Headshot of Petra Banks.
Petra Banks

Ph.D. students Petra Banks and Krysten Cruz, both applied anthropology majors, as well as master’s student Jon Lucquête, business administration major, and master’s alumna Alejandra Sanchez, international studies major, are semi-finalists to conduct research projects.

“The other semi-finalists here at TXST are incredibly impressive and I'm flattered to be considered in their company,” Banks said. “Brian Smith and Andrea Hilkovitz are so important to my graduate experience, and their kindness, professionalism, and expertise carried me through many difficult applications. If I am selected as a Fulbright finalist, I will work with the Georgian Association of Forensic Anthropologists to help identify and repatriate victims from Stalin-era mass graves.”

These students’ applications have been forwarded to the supervising agencies in their prospective host countries, and the students will receive final notification status between March and June.

Headshot of Krysten Cruz.
Krysten Cruz

“I am extremely grateful for the invaluable guidance of the external funding coordinators, Dr. Andrea Hilkovitz and Dr. Brian Smith, and my advisor, Dr. Nicholas Herrmann,” Cruz said. “Without them, this achievement would not have been possible. Should I be granted a Fulbright award, I will carry out my dissertation research and collaborate with scientists and scholars at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in Greece.”

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international education and cultural exchange initiative for students and alumni. It offers long-term funded research, study, and teaching opportunities in over 140 countries to applicants from all academic, creative, and performing arts fields. Study and research awards provide grants for independent research and creative projects. English Teaching Assistant awards place grantees in schools to supplement local English language instruction.

“TXST has produced over 30 Fulbright U.S. Student Program awardees since 1971,” said Brian Smith, DMA, primary Fulbright Program Adviser at TXST. “More than a third have been received in the last two years as the university has increased its efforts to recruit and support applicants to this prestigious program.”

Headshot of Carol-Ann Veretto, left, and Jon Lucquête.
Carol-Ann Veretto, left, and Jon Lucquête

TXST was named as a Fulbright HSI (Hispanic-Serving Institution) Leader for 2023, demonstrating noteworthy support for Fulbright exchange participants and promoting program opportunities on campus.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered at TXST by the Texas State Fulbright Program Advisers (FPAs). Students and recent alumni interested in applying should email the FPA corresponding to their degree level. The undergraduate FPA is Lisa Haegele, Ph.D., and the graduate FPAs are Brian Smith and Andrea Hilkovitz, Ph.D.

Visit the U.S. Student Program website for more information.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922