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National Fellowships and Scholar Programs

  • A hand holding up a United States of America passport in front of a world map.

International experiences await USC’s three newest Fulbright recipients

Josh Lastimoso, Madison Mueller and Caroline Westberg have earned 2024–2025 Fulbright U.S. Student Program fellowships to spend approximately a year in the United Kingdom, Taiwan and Spain, respectively. As the State Department’s flagship international education and cultural exchange initiative, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program aims to connect students, teachers and scholars from around the world.

Why it matters

Fulbright grants are available for students and alumni who wish to conduct research, study at the graduate level, pursue creative arts projects or teach English internationally. Grantees spend about a year in their host countries and engage with local communities. These interpersonal interactions build international relationships that can last a lifetime—and help to increase cultural awareness in the U.S. and abroad. Fulbright also sponsors grants for international students and scholars to pursue research, graduate study or language teaching at U.S. universities.

Who they are

All recipients are USC alumni.

Josh Lastimoso


Josh Lastimoso ‘22 earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. For his Fulbright year, he will pursue a Master of Research in cardiovascular research at Newcastle University in the U.K. Lastimoso looks forward to learning more about the science behind the cardiovascular system and tackling the most pressing issues within that area of medicine. While in the U.K., he also hopes to glean insight into the country’s approach to healthcare. After spending a year connecting with some of the leading experts in the cardiovascular field, Lastimoso aspires to a career as a physician-scientist.

Madison Mueller


Madison Mueller ’20 earned a bachelor’s degree in international business and operations and supply chain. This fall, she will begin a year of English teaching in Taiwan. In addition to teaching, Mueller is excited about improving her Mandarin language skills and increasing her understanding of Taiwanese culture. After her time abroad, Mueller plans to attend business school. She will draw upon her teaching experiences as she pursues opportunities in organizational learning and development.

Caroline Westberg


Caroline Westberg ’16 previously earned an international studies degree and has spent the past seven years working in food tech startups. With funding from Fulbright, she will pursue an International MBA from IE University in Madrid, Spain. She hopes that this degree program will launch her future career in climate entrepreneurship. A lifelong advocate of leadership, Westberg aims to be at the forefront of empowering women+ and LGBTQ+ startup founders.

How they did it

The national fellowships team is a resource for USC alumni as well as current students. Lastimoso, Mueller and Westberg all received guidance from national fellowships advisors and USC faculty throughout the application process.

  • Lastimoso’s advice: “Focus on what studying abroad means for you and incorporate that into your application. Find a way to turn your weaknesses into strengths, and drive that point into why you're applying for the grant.”
  • Mueller recommends: “Use the resources available to you… and be open to constructive criticism! Your mentors know how to help make your application shine and they want you to succeed.”
  • Westberg attests: “Learning Spanish, interacting with mentors and networking with past Fulbright recipients deepened my insights and sharpened my focus. For future applicants, my advice would be to start early, engage deeply with your story and purpose and seek a breadth of feedback to refine your application to its fullest potential.”

Senior Honors College student Ever Curry (English Teaching Assistant (ETA), Spain), 2023 graduate Jala Robertson (study/research, Canada) and 2023 Capstone graduate Olivia Speakman (ETA, Saudi Arabia) were selected as alternates and are awaiting final decisions from their programs. Achieving alternate distinction attests to the strength of their applications and is an honor in its own right.

In addition to support from national fellowships advisors, USC’s Fulbright candidates can gain insight from a faculty committee. For the 2023 – 2024 academic year, Dr. Debbie Billings, Dr. Yvonne Ivory, Laura Kissel, Dr. Jeff Persels and Dr. Tom Vogt served as faculty mentors.

National Fellowships and Scholar Programs provides support Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship applicants. Students interested in learning more should contact USC’s national fellowships team.  

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