The University of New Mexico is recognizing the newest additions to its growing list of Fulbright awardees.

Four UNM students and recent graduates have been chosen to participate in Fulbright programs this year. Across the world and across disciplines, these Lobos will receive the chance to continue their studies with funding assistance from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

UNM has been named the Fulbright HSI Leader for the last three years and hosts a robust Fulbright community, including the New Mexico Fulbright Association

“The Fulbright program offers students an exceptional opportunity to engage in research, study, or teaching English abroad. At its heart, Fulbright aims to cultivate mutual understanding between nations. As these four awardees begin their journeys, I anticipate they will develop a profound appreciation for their host countries and communities,” UNM Honors College Fulbright Coordinator Kiyoko Simmons said.

Read about each of the new recipients below:

Katlin Riley: Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award to Romania

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Katlin Riley

Katlin Riley is a recent UNM graduate, receiving a master's degree in elementary education in 2019. She has been working as a teacher in Albuquerque for the last five years. She was selected as one of fifteen teachers by the American Federation of Teacher to teach English to Ukrainian and Polish youth affected by the war in 2022 and 2023, and is returning to continue the work in summer 2024. With the Fulbright award, she will be assisting with English Education in Romania.”

“I am excited and grateful to be a Fulbright recipient. I am looking forward to getting started and to the adventure ahead. Of course, huge thank-you’s to everyone who helped me get here and to my mentors over the years,” she said. 

Riley hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in language, literacy, & sociocultural studies and establish an international teacher exchange in New Mexico. She is currently teaching visual arts at Washington Middle School.


Leo Williams : Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award to Bulgaria  

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Credit: Nicolas Valdés, MFA candidate
Leo Williams

Leo Williams is a third-year student, earning their master’s from the College of Fine Arts. They received their bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014. In August, they’ll be moving to Plovdiv, the second-largest city in Bulgaria and an arts and culture capital, as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at the High School of Mathematics “Akad. Kiril Popov. This will be their fourth time returning to Bulgaria. They will connect with other burgeoning writers, break-dancers, and visual artists in Plovdiv. Williams also hopes to plan to develop arts and literary programming in Plovdiv and to work with other dancers at Plovdiv Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts to develop joint events, workshops and film screenings.

“I’m unbelievably lucky to have a Fulbright grant, an honor that wouldn’t have been possible without the accumulation of a series of events. You couldn’t have told me, couldn’t have convinced me then that I’d be moving to Plovdiv six years later, or that I’d be teaching English and American Literature to Bulgarian high schoolers. 

"I am deeply looking forward to transforming my current relationship with Bulgaria as a tourist to that of a teacher into one that offers more reciprocity.”  

Williams would also like to thank Simmons, Professor of Creative Writing Gregory Martin, Professor Bethany Davila, Professor Rachael Reynolds and Professor Tanya Ivanova-Sullivan.


Eleonora Edreva: Fulbright Research Award to Bulgaria 

Eleonora Edreva
Eleonora Edreva

Eleonora Edreva is a recent graduate of UNM, who earned her Master of Fine Arts in Art & Ecology and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Chicago. She is an artist and researcher born in Bulgaria, whose artistic work is rooted in the mediums of textiles and video. Edreva project seeks to preserve Bulgarian traditional ecological knowledge through the study, practice, and dissemination of traditional natural dye textile techniques. She will be working with professors at the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies within the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, as well as artisans throughout the country who work with natural dyes. 

“I’m overjoyed to have been awarded the Fulbright in Bulgaria. Applying for a Fulbright to do artistic research in Bulgaria is something I’ve thought about doing since my undergrad, and the timing and project I ended up applying with couldn’t feel like a better fit,” Edreva said. “This knowledge is something I feel deeply interested in personally, and also feel strongly about contributing to keeping alive and thriving for many generations to come.”

Edreva would like to thank Simmons, and her graduate committee (Jeanette Hart-Mann, Marcella Ernest, Mary Tsiongas, and Stephanie J. Woods.)


Davin Tankersley: Fulbright Research Award to Taiwan 

Devin Tankersley is a 4th year Ph.D. student in the UNM Linguistics Department. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, he moved to Taiwan, where he taught English, studied Mandarin, and eventually received a master's degree from National Tsing Hua University. There, he began learning Taiwan Sign Language (TSL), and quickly became fascinated with its intricate grammar and lexical richness. He then decided to make sign linguistics his main focus of research, which he came to UNM to pursue. With the help of Fulbright, he plans to document lexical variation in TSL by visiting various Deaf Associations throughout Taiwan, conducting interviews and engaging in local activities.

“I am thrilled to be a recipient of the Fulbright Open Research Award, as it will allow me to pursue my research goals while helping to create a bridge between the Deaf communities in the U.S. and in Taiwan.  My goal is to create a database of signs in TSL connected to where they are used, so that interested students, educators, and researchers can understand more about the language,” Tankersley said.

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Devin Tankersley

Tankersley would like to thank Erin Wilkinson and Jill Morford and Simmons, as well as the members of the Lobo Language Acquisition Lab. 

“I trust this experience will reinforce their dedication to global betterment. The UNM Fulbright Committee plays a pivotal role in supporting applicants from our institution, offering valuable feedback and guidance. I am grateful for their support of UNM applicants,” Simmons said. 

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. 

UNM faculty who are interested in a Fulbright opportunity can contact Dr. William Stanley who is a liaison for the Fulbright Scholar Program.