ACC named top-producer of Fulbright U.S. Scholars for second consecutive year

Graphic on Fulbright Scholars

For the second straight year, Austin Community College District (ACC) is recognized as a top producer of Fulbright Scholars. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs released its 2019-2020 list Monday, February 10. ACC is one of 26 associate and baccalaureate/associate institutions nationwide to be awarded the distinction.

“The Fulbright program represents the level of academic excellence that ACC values. This is an incredible recognition of the good work happening here and a testament to the talents of our faculty and what they bring to the classroom,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. “We’re transforming the educational landscape and redefining what a community college is. We have to do more to not only help students get into college but to get the support they need to succeed. Our faculty are key in this work.”

“In supporting their faculty and administrators who pursue Fulbright awards, these institutions benefit from new viewpoints from abroad and new international collaborations, which often lead to discoveries and breakthroughs that have a global impact,” says Marie Royce, assistant secretary of state for Educational and Cultural Affairs. “Fulbright U.S. Scholars benefit professionally throughout their career by expanding the scope and reach of their research, bringing a global perspective to their teaching, and receiving the professional recognition that comes with being named a Fulbright Scholar.”

The following ACC faculty members have been awarded Fulbright grants to conduct projects abroad:

  • Dr. Charles Wukasch, English adjunct professor, Syria, 1986-1987
  • Dr. Kathryn Frost, Psychology associate professor, Romania, 2004-2005
  • Dr. Shannon Bailey, ESOL department chair, Vietnam, 2008-2009
  • Dr. Elizabeth Pintar, Anthropology chair and Archeology professor, Argentina, 2011-2012
  • Dr. Samuel Echevarria-Cruz, Social Sciences dean and Sociology professor, Romania, 2015-2016
  • Jill Brockmann, former Business professor, Denmark, 2015-2016
  • Dr. Blanca Alvarado, Sociology professor, Costa Rica, 2018-2019
  • Dr. Heather Barfield, Drama adjunct professor, France, 2019-2020

Dr. Alvarado partnered with the University of Costa Rica - School of Social Work, for more than eight months to co-teach, attend lectures, conferences, presentations, and community visits.

Ariel Brenens Rodriguez visit ACC class“Having received the Fulbright grant has transformed my life. There is no other grant that would give me the kind of cultural experience I was afforded,” says Dr. Alvarado. “When I returned to ACC in fall 2019 I was able to coordinate a two-week scholar visit with one of the faculty members. They came into my classroom and worked directly with my students. It’s the kind of immersive learning opportunities our students need.”

Ariel Brenens Rodriguez visit ACC classThis semester Alvardo will host video conferences with the University of Costa Rica to continue bridging connections between ACC and the University of Costa Rica.

More than 900 Fulbright Scholars grants are awarded annually to fund research or teaching abroad for up to one year.

For more information about the Fulbright program at ACC, contact ACC’s Fulbright Scholars liaison, William Hayden, at 512-223-7114 or email To recognize an ACC faculty member who received the Fulbright Scholar award at a previous institution, please contact the Office of Communications & Marketing at