Donate! Support your community news.
Subscribe! News delivered to your inbox.

Davidson College Reaches Decade as a Fulbright Top Producer

by | Mar 29, 2023

Swimmer, scholar Virginia Gilliland ’22 researching climate change along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. [screenshot from]



By: Greer Levy ’26

For the eighth consecutive year and 10th year overall, Davidson College has been named a top producer for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that received the highest number of applicants selected for the 2022-23 Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Six students from Davidson were selected for Fulbright awards for the academic year 2022-2023.

We caught up with two of the Fulbright winners from this class to learn more about their experiences:

Alex Loeb ’22, English Teaching Assistant Grant, Spain

Alex Loeb ’22

Alex Loeb ’22, a 2022 recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award, now lives in Oviedo, the capital city of Asturias, which is an autonomous community in northwestern Spain.

Loeb teaches English to students in Langreo, a small town about a 45-minute train ride from his home. The classes focus on both culture and language, and his students range from 1st of ESO to 2nd bachillerato, roughly the Spanish equivalent of 7th through 12th grade.

Loeb, a self-described people-person, is staying busy with two ambitious side projects. He volunteers as a writing mentor for a Spanish high school student applying to universities in the U.S. and has assisted in editing her application materials. He is also working on a comparative music project that involves the history and modern performance of traditional Asturian music and music originating in North Carolina, which Loeb says are surprisingly similar.

He recently shared details about his life abroad and future plans.

What have been your favorite experiences as a Fulbright so far?

Exploring rural Spain. I feel very lucky to be placed in Asturias because it’s an incredibly unique region of the country. Northern Spain is very different (and, frankly, less touristy) than most Americans’ perception of Spain. Not only is Asturias lush in landscape with the mountainous Picos de Europa, stunning rocky coastline to the north, and sharp cliffs down to the Cantabrian Sea, it is a sparsely populated part of the country. Its food, culture, and history are distinct from other regions of Spain. There is a very particular Asturian accent and a distinct regional language. I am grateful to be living and working in the north, rather than in one of the bigger, more well-known cities of southern or central Spain, and I have really enjoyed learning about and engaging with the local customs and regional particularities.

Virginia Gilliland ’22, Research Grant, Australia

Virginia Gilliland ’22

I recently returned from my first field trip up to the Great Barrier Reef with the Marine Ecology Group at Macquarie University. The reef was incredible! We surveyed sites on the southern Great Barrier Reef and were quite remote–at our furthest, we were over 150 nautical miles offshore. We did snorkel surveys in the water to sample sea cucumbers, and deployed the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from a small boat to capture footage of fish and corals.

Virginia Gilliland ’22, Fulbright Scholar

Fulbrights in the World

Fulbright is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. It is also among the largest and most diverse exchange programs in the world. Since its inception in 1946, more than 400,000 participants from all backgrounds and fields.

“On behalf of President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken, congratulations to the colleges and universities recognized as 2022-2023 Fulbright Top Producing Institutions, and to all the applicants who were selected for the Fulbright Program this year,” said Lee Satterfield, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs.

“Thanks to the visionary leadership of these institutions, administrators, and advisors, a new generation of Fulbrighters–changemakers, as I like to say–will catalyze lasting impact on their campus, in their communities, and around the world.”

Fulbright alumni work to make a positive impact on their communities, sectors and the world, and have included 41 heads of state or government, 62 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 78 MacArthur Fellows, and countless leaders and changemakers who carry forward the Fulbright mission of enhancing mutual understanding.

The Fulbright competition is administered at Davidson College through Gaylena Merritt ([email protected]), director of Davidson’s new Office of Fellowships. For more information about the Office of Fellowships or how to apply for Fulbright through Davidson, visit

Support Your Community News