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Two Illinois graduate students offered Fulbright grants

Rhiannon Hein and Christopher Goodwin

Two University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign graduate students have been offered grants through the Fulbright US Student Program.  Christopher Goodwin and Rhiannon Hein, both PhD candidates in History, will use their Fulbrights to conduct dissertation research overseas.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program builds international relationships to help solve global challenges. This flagship international educational exchange program of the U.S. government awards grants to students based on their academic and professional achievement, as well as their demonstrated leadership potential. The Fulbright Student Program will fund approximately 2,200 U.S. citizens to travel abroad for the 2021-22 academic year. Many of the 2021-22 recipients were awarded Fulbright grants in 2020 but were unable to travel due to the global pandemic.

The two U. of I. graduate students who have accepted Fulbright grants:

Christopher Goodwin, of Waynesville, Missouri, was awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct dissertation research in Germany. Goodwin earned a bachelor’s degree in history and economics from the University of Missouri, Columbia and served in the U.S. Air Force while earning a master’s in military history from Norwich University. At Illinois, he is pursuing a doctoral degree in history. Goodwin’s research explores an aspect of Nazi-era ideology regarding soldiers with disabilities acquired during military service. During his Fulbright year, he will conduct archival research in Leipzig, Berlin and Freiburg. While in Germany, Goodwin also plans to volunteer as a German and English language instructor for recent immigrants and refugees.

Rhiannon Hein, of Honolulu, was awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct dissertation research in Germany. Hein earned a bachelor’s in history and English from the University of Alabama before joining the Ph.D. program in history at Illinois. Hein’s research will investigate how the university towns of Göttingen and Jena became 19th-century hubs of global exchange in goods, people and ideas. She said she hopes this work will contribute to both historical and contemporary understandings of how regional, national and global sensibilities inform one another. While in Germany, Hein plans to pursue her hobbies of cooking and yoga as avenues of cultural exchange.

“This year’s Fulbright awardees faced the double whammy of competing in a year with a record number of applicants and facing significantly reduced placement opportunities, as grantees from the previous cohort were given priority to move their Fulbright experiences to the coming year,” said David Schug, the director of the National and International Scholarships Program at Illinois. “Our recipients this year should be especially proud of their accomplishments.”

“Following this past year’s travel restrictions, opportunities for international research and teaching are finally opening up again, and Fulbright awardees will be leading the way,” said Ken Vickery, the director of fellowships in the Graduate College. “Their observations and experiences will surely lend insights to our understanding of the pandemic’s impact around the world, so this will be an exceptionally important group of Fulbright ambassadors.”

The Fulbright program is jointly administered at Illinois by the National and International Scholarships Program, which works with undergraduates and recent alumni, and the Graduate College Office of External Fellowships, which supports graduate students. Additionally, Illinois faculty members, returned Fulbright awardees and staff with geographic and programmatic expertise review student application materials and conduct candidate interviews.

Applications are open for students interested in pursuing studies, fine arts, research or English teaching assistantships under the Fulbright for the 2022-23 academic year.


Photo: Rhiannon Hein and Christopher Goodwin (right photo by Miranda Aissi)

Editor’s note: For more information, contact Ken Vickery, the Graduate College Director of Fellowships, 217.333.3464;

Story by News Bureau, repost from June 14, 2021, Illinois News Bureau article.