Student selected for Fulbright UK Summer Institutes
Virginia Commonwealth University rising senior Matt Tessema has been selected to participate in the Fulbright UK Summer Institutes. The highly competitive award, funded by the US-UK Fulbright Commission, enables outstanding U.S. students to participate in three- or four-week programs at prestigious universities throughout the United Kingdom.
Each program enables participants to explore the culture, heritage and history of the U.K. through the lens of a site-specific theme. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, recipients of this year’s award will attend their summer institute in 2021.
“I’ve wanted to be a Fulbright scholar for a long time,” Tessema said. “Being selected has helped me believe in myself – that I can achieve the big dream I have.”
Tessema was selected for the University of Bristol’s summer institute in arts, activism and social justice. He will explore how diverse art forms, as well as philosophy and critical social theories, have shaped movements for social justice and change throughout the world. The program is relevant to Tessema’s aspirations to study law in order to advocate for underrepresented people in his community.
“This is an opportunity for me to go abroad and learn about different perspectives, look at things through a different lens,” Tessema said. “It would take me further down the line with my study of law and advocating for underrepresented people because I would have different ways of looking at problems.”
Tessema, a member of VCU’s Honors College and VCU LEAD, will graduate with a degree in journalism from the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture in the College of Humanities and Sciences in May 2021. During his time at VCU, Tessema has engaged in several campus groups, including the Pre-Law Society and Developing Men of Color, and has interned with the Andrew Goodman Foundation.
He’s excited about being able to travel abroad and looking forward to next summer. “I don’t have that much experience traveling abroad so I will be getting to see how other people live,” said Tessema, who grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, and attended Hayfield Secondary School. “I want to learn about students from other countries and see what kind of impression they have of us.”
Tessema applied for the Fulbright UK Summer Institutes with the support of VCU's National Scholarship Office, which assists VCU students and alumni who wish to compete for prestigious national and international scholarships. The office will hold information sessions about the Fulbright UK Summer Institutes during the fall semester. Interested first- and second-year students should make an appointment to meet with a member of the National Scholarship Office staff.