Five students from the University of New Mexico have received the Fulbright Awards for the 2022-2023 academic year. Two Ph.D. students (Noelani Villa and Korey Tillman) will continue their dissertation research in the host countries. Three recent and new graduates (Solana Armijo, Arthur Lopez, and Jane Tabet-Kirkpatrick) will serve as English Teaching Assistants in their host countries.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program. It offers opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate studies, enhance their research and explore teaching in more 140 countries. Last fall, Fulbright received a record number of applications, making this the most competitive cycle in the 75-year history of the program.

The University of New Mexico was named as Fulbright Hispanic Serving Institution Leader in 2021 and as Fulbright Top producing institution in 2020.

Fulbright Recipients:

  • Noelani Villa – Fulbright Research Award to Netherlands
  • Korey Tillman – Fulbright Research Award to South Africa
  • Solana Armijo – Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Germany
  • Arthur Lopez – Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to South Korea
  • Jane Tabet-Kirkpatrick – Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Spain

Recipient’s Bios/Comments

Noelani Villa

Noelani Villa is a Ph.D. student in Civil Engineering at the University of New Mexico. She received a Fulbright NAF Fellowship in Flood Management in Netherlands. Her fellowship allows her to spend nine months as an independent researcher at the Delft University of Technology. Through hydrodynamic modeling, she hopes to demonstrate the importance of tidal marsh restoration in flood risk mitigation. During her fellowship, she will receive mentorship from Dr. Jose Alvarez Antolinez at the Delft University of Technology and Dr. Bregji van Wesenbeeck at Deltares, an independent institute for applied research in water. Her goal is to use the knowledge she develops during her time abroad to support the restoration efforts of Coast Salish communities in Washington State. Her Ph.D. advisor is Dr. Mark Stone, Professor and Regent’s Lecturer at the Department of Civil, Construction, & Environmental Engineering.

Korey Tillman

Korey Tillman is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at UNM and has received a Fulbright Research Award to study in South Africa. His research sits at the nexus of race, policing, and empire. Tillman plans to visit archives and interview South Africans to understand how they are policed in their everyday lives. His dissertation traces a human-Black racial hierarchy that informs modernity and examines how in moments when Blackness is policed, this racial hierarchy is reified and challenged. As an abolitionist, the goal of his work is to build upon the legacies of the Black feminist and radical traditions to assert Black humanity and move towards a world where African diasporic communities receive care, not criminalization. Tillman received his B.S. in Computer Science from Syracuse University and his M.A. in Sociology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His research has been guided by rigor and care by Ranita Ray (UNM), Georgiann Davis (UNM), Susila Gurusami (UIC), and Vilna Bashi (Northwestern). He looks forward to his experience abroad and representing UNM. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter: @koreytillman_ or

Solana Armijo

Solana Armijo will be graduating this spring from the University of New Mexico with a bachelor’s in English and German with Honors College Designation. She is a twenty-one-year-old New Mexico native with a passion for German language and culture, literature, and working with children. As a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Germany, she hopes to strengthen her skills as a teacher for her future endeavors. She looks forward to experiencing the culture of Germany, as well as being immersed in the language she has studied for eight years. Coming from a multi-cultural background, she has seen how language learning can break down cultural boundaries and unite people from different backgrounds. She looks forward to this type of cultural exchange in Germany.

Jane Tabet Kirkpatrick

Jane Tabet-Kirkpatrick is a recent graduate from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Political Science and Spanish with Honors College Designation. Post-graduation she has worked as a substitute teacher and as a fellow for Santa Fe’s Center on International Relations mentoring New Mexico high school students. She was a Fred Harris Intern for the Fall of 2020 for Senator Martin Heinrich in Washington D.C. She, with the help of other interns, helped curate a Public Policy Workshop for New Mexico collegiate students. She is passionate about education in New Mexico rural schools, with a special interest in young bilingual learners. She hopes to use her Fulbright experience to enlighten her on international education policy, as she hopes to make a career in education law. Jane is incredibly thankful the exceptional mentors on campus who, without, many opportunities would have not been possible. Specifically, she would like to thank Professor Peter Kierst, Dr. Ellen Grigsby, Dr. Kiyoko Simmons, Dr. Patricia Gillikin, and Dr. David Wilson. 

Arthur Lopez

Arthur Lopez was born in Santa Fe, N.M., and moved to Rio Rancho at the start of Middle School. Having a passion for studying languages, he decided to pursue a foreign languages degree at the University of New Mexico. Lopez can speak Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, and English. He can also sign American Signed Language. Lopez will graduate in Fall 2022 with Honors College Designation and two bachelor’s degrees: Foreign Languages and Secondary Education. He hopes to become a nomadic teacher that teaches English around the world. Lopez intends to pursue a Ph.D. in education so that he may teach at the college level.  

“During my entire undergraduate career, I have worked at the Global Education Office at the University of New Mexico. In doing so, I have become an active advocate for international education and intercultural competence. I have spent almost 5 years supporting international students and American students studying abroad. Correspondingly, I have seen first-hand the beauty of language, culture, and education.

"Through my future endeavors — and certainly through Fulbright — I may put into practice all that I learned as both a student and employee at UNM. I am truly blessed to have been picked as an English Teaching Assistant for such an internationally competitive grant. This specific Secondary Education program in South Korea was only accepting 60 finalists across the nation. I am honored to qualify for this position and accept it with an open heart and mind!”