Dr. Priya Menon, Professor of English at Troy University, has been selected to serve as a Fulbright Scholar Alumni Ambassador.
Established in 2008, the Fulbright Scholar Alumni Ambassadors program identifies, trains and engages a select group of Fulbright Scholar Alumni each year to serve as representatives, recruiters and voices for the Fulbright Program. Alumni Ambassadors represent the best of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program and are selected through a competitive process. Dr. Menon was among those selected from nearly 300 applications.
During a two-year commitment, ambassadors provide testimonials about their Fulbright experiences at various conferences and campus presentations, present video and podcast interviews, webinars at special events throughout the United States. Ambassadors not only represent the program externally, they serve as advisors about critical aspects of the program to the State Department and the program’s implementing agency, the Institute of International Education (IIE).
“Being selected as an ambassador for the Fulbright Scholar Program is an incredible honor and it is a privilege to represent Troy University,” Dr. Menon said. “Fulbright has added credibility to my academic work. I’ve been awarded full professorship, had access to archives, and had conversations with key stakeholders in the field—thanks to Fulbright. This experience continues to allow me to understand ‘outsiders’ in any normative framework. This is partly why I am interested in becoming a Fulbright Ambassador as well—it will allow me to share my experience and inspire those outside the typical grant-winning circles to apply for this rewarding opportunity that will ultimately enable us to see that these so-called ‘insiders’ were once ‘outsiders’ who wanted a change.”
Dr. Menon received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program grant to India from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. In her research, Dr. Menon studied and documented a counter-archive of the typical success stories of emigration to the Arabian Gulf States disseminated by mainstream media in India.
“In 2018, I was offered a transformative opportunity by the Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence fellowship to conduct research on Migrant Literature from India to the Gulf States where 80% of the population are foreigners, mostly from the south Indian state of Kerala,” Menon said. “My host institution was the prestigious Center for Development Studies at Kerala where I spent six months studying cultural and literary productions by people who had left their homes for better opportunities and then later return. In many ways, this parallels my Fulbright experience as it allowed me to leave the familiar, the comfortable, and the known to greater degrees of understanding, tolerance, and acceptance.”
A member of the TROY faculty full-time since 2007, Dr. Menon received the University’s Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching in 2009. She holds two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree from Calicut University in Kerala, India. She also earned a master’s degree in English education from TROY in 2005, and received her doctorate in literary studies from Georgia State University in 2011.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build relations between the people of the United States and other countries that are needed to solve global challenges. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.