TROY professor named Fulbright Scholar to study in Estonia

Dr. Michael Guo-Brennan will spend six months in Estonia conducting research and lecturing as a Fulbright Scholar.

Dr. Michael Guo-Brennan will spend six months in Estonia conducting research and lecturing as a Fulbright Scholar.

Troy University public administration associate professor Dr. Michael Guo-Brennan has earned the prestigious title of Fulbright Scholar and will spend six months abroad in Estonia to conduct research and offer lectures at Tallinn University in the School of Governance, Law and Society.

TROY has had six Fulbright scholars since 1987. These scholars have visited Ghana, Ukraine, Russia, Hong Kong, the Philippines and India, and their expertise spans a wide range of disciplines, including literature, history, mathematics, education, and physical science.

More recently, TROY has hosted two Fulbright Scholars-in-Residence from South Korea and Slovenia and a Fulbright Outreach Fellow from Egypt.

“Troy University’s longstanding partnership with the Fulbright Scholar Program exemplifies our commitment to fostering global education and cultural exchange,” said Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. “This collaboration empowers our faculty, and our students, to engage in transformative international experiences, enhancing academic and cultural understanding. As TROY grows as a research institution, it is my hope that our relationship with Fulbright will continue to grow as well.”

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international academic exchange program and is supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world. It is funded through an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Participating governments and home and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

“This prestigious award is an incredible honor for Dr. Guo-Brennan and our University as it validates the intellectual merit and global reach of his work,” said Dr. Priya Menon, professor of English at TROY and Fulbright Scholar Alumni Legacy Ambassador. “I am excited for the Fulbright adventures in store for Dr. Guo-Brennan in Estonia as he embodies the Trojan spirit with academic rigor and cultural exchange!”

Guo-Brennan arrived at TROY in 2015 after completing his postdoc at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada. Prior to his career in higher education, he served in leadership roles in education, non-profit and governmental organizations for over 20 years across numerous states.

The overriding focus of his research centers around civic engagement and public policy issues including education policy, immigration, crisis management and global competency in public administration. These topics and more will be the center of his research in Estonia.

“Estonia is a former Soviet Union-backed country with a very long history,” he said. “It’s a very modern, very progressive country, and they’ve invested heavily in digital government. It’s a very diverse culture that fits in with all of my research on community engagement and building relationships between immigrants and permanent residents.

“Estonia is also very progressive in its education system. They’re one of the higher performing countries in international testing, so those combined fit very well.”

From January 2025 through June 2025, he will live and work in Tallinn. His goals are to build connections and better understand how the country operates.

“I hope to build connections with other academics and with those outside of the academic circle in Estonia with government officials and service providers,” he said. “I want to better understand how other countries function so we can learn from them to advance those relationships and build networks, which will expand my research and improve my teaching.”

Guo-Brennan was selected for the Fulbright program in his first time applying, a rare feat due to the competitive nature of Fulbright. 

“Being named a Fulbright Scholar is incredible,” he said. “Everyone feels like they have a long shot, right? Because it’s so competitive. So to be selected, I feel very, very privileged and very, very honored to have that opportunity to advance my research, advance my teaching and advance the reputation of TROY.

“I would encourage anyone who wants to study abroad to apply for Fulbright, either as a student or a faculty member. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the world.”