About Us

Former Fulbrighters, a group with substantial human capital, see the mission of their Fulbright-NJ Association Chapter as:

  • Fostering intercultural understanding by learning about and from each other.
  • Increasing our diversified membership and securing institutional memberships in broader Fulbright Association.

And of course - Functioning as an educational think tank on intercultural communication.

Please watch the video with the details About Us: "Fulbright Fellows and Friends, Welcome to Fulbright-NJ!"

New Jersey Chapter of the Fulbright Association

The New Jersey Chapter of the Fulbright Association is a statewide chapter serving Fulbright alumni and friends of international exchange. The chapter is focused on hosting engaging programs and events for Fulbright alumni and visiting Fulbright students and scholars throughout the state, primarily in Edison, New Brunswick, and Trenton. The chapter is closely affiliated with universities and colleges in the region, and often co-sponsors programs with these institutions.


Pat Hutchinson, NJ Fulbright Chapter President, was a Fulbright Scholar in England, 1985-86. Based at the University of Oxford, she studied Design Education in UK schools before returning to NYU to complete her PhD. After finishing her doctorate she co-founded TIES, a Design Education magazine for teachers at Drexel University. She taught Art and Design/Technology at The College of New Jersey and directed the NSF-funded Children Designing and Engineering Project until her retirement. She currently resides in Belmar, NJ, where she is an artist and activist.

Joyce Richardson, Vice-President, was the recipient of the Fulbright-Hays Summer Seminars Abroad Award entitled Inside Mexico: A Journey Through History and Society in 2010. The Seminar traveled through eight different states in Mexico, including Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla, and Mexico City. The Seminar explored local schools, the Universidad de la Tierra, archaeological sites, Chapultepec Castle, the Ballet Folklorico, The Basilica of Guadalupe, the Bibiloteca Palafoxiana, along with various museums and churches of historical significance. The program provided a unique opportunity to gain an insider’s perspective and understanding of the history, values, and challenges that shape Mexican culture while it gave participants a chance to practice Spanish. The participants deepened knowledge on the origins and the impact of current issues such as migration and globalization.

Bruce Parker, Secretary, retired as a software engineer in May 2020.  He taught computer science prior to that. Since retiring, he has been imaging deep space objects and participates in public programs to show people the stars. Additionally, Bruce began taking cello lessons this year.  He loves the sound and repertoire of the cello.

Bruce and his wife usually try to go on one big trip each year—North Africa in 2018, Chile in 2019, and Namibia in 2021, 2022, and 2023. His Fulbright experience was at the University of the Saarland in Saarbruecken, West Germany from 1987 to 1988—the year before the wall came down.  He found the whole year to be a fascinating experience, which is also why he is happy to recommend others to study abroad.

John Specchio, Treasurer — As a professor of Food Science at Montclair State University, he was granted a Fulbright Specialist award in 2012 to teach and perform research at the University of Verona in Italy.His research was and is in the area of food biotechnology. Specifically, he was working on Italy's desire to map out the exact chemical composition of common Italian foods. This effort will be to patent traditional Italian foods to specific regions in Italy. The term "genuine Italian" can then be certified, labeled as such and marketed worldwide.  After his Fulbright was completed, he maintained a connection with the university of Verona to continue research at Montclair State University. Through the Fulbright program, he was able to connect with scientists in Italy to collaborate on this project. He visits there every year to continue the research. It has been a most rewarding experience. He was also invited to be a project reviewer for the Italian Fulbright Association and has reviewed many Fulbright applications for Italian students wanting to study in the U.S. 

Virgil Harold Blanco was a 2004 Fulbrighter in a joint program of the German Fulbright Commission in cooperation with the French Commission. As Director of International Education Dr. Blanco was interested in the consequences of the Bologna Agreement reforming International Education in the European Union. One of the most successful programs initiated by the European Union is the Erasmus student exchange system within European Union members. Dr. Blanco is a full professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures in Middlesex College, New Jersey. His doctoral research focus was in Human Capital as a variable in exports development, namely knowledge of languages and foreign cultures. He has published papers on the subject and developed an online artificial intelligence export consulting system. His paper The Socio-Cultural Model of consumption became a chapter in an International  Economics text book.

Fiona Citkin, a professional educator and diversiculturalist, came to the USA as a Fulbright Scholar from Ukraine in 1994. The Fulbright experience helped her to add value working as a conference interpreter for DoD, Director of Berlitz, and consultant for American multinationals. It also helped her to write two (2) award-winning books (Transformational Diversity, 2011 and How They Made It in America, 2019). The book-writing experiences led to Fiona’s producing and hosting a 7,000-subscribers-strong talk-show "The Bridge for Women Worldwide" - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtnjxZ7nqAi83I-EHOqdVlw?view_as=subscriber. She is also active as blogger for her own book website (http://fionacitkin.com/), as well as Thrive Global and HuffPost.

Charles Feldman is a Professor of Food Systems in the Nutrition and Food Studies department at Montclair State University, New Jersey. He currently teaches research, quantity food, sustainability and practicum courses at the graduate level. Dr. Feldman received his Ph.D. from New York University. He owned and operated foodservice operations. Dr. Feldman has given many international scholarly and industry presentations on topics spanning the culinary, food culture, nutrition and foodservice fields. He has published international research in public health, culinary technology, food anthropology, food history, foodservice, food safety, food and culture and nutrition journals. Dr. Feldman completed his Fulbright research at the University of Santa Caterina in Florianopolis Brazil in 2017-18. He was on the Fulbright Review Scholarly Award Committee for Allied Sciences in Washington DC. From the fall 2019 to the fall 2021.

Holger Henke’s Fulbright International Education Administrator US-UK award in 2013 afforded him the unique opportunity of three weeks of intense discussions, workshops, presentations, and cultural excursions at about a dozen of the United Kingdom’s top universities, including Imperial College, Royal Holloway, East Anglia, Sussex, Durham, Birmingham, York, Aberdeen, and in Edinburgh.  He greatly benefitted from learning more about the opportunities and challenges which universities in the United Kingdom have, as well as from sharing with them lessons from the US experience with international education.  New lessons learnt during his Fulbright experience served him very well when he subsequently assumed the position of Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Provost at the China campus of an American university.

After a newspaper career during which she worked at papers including The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Hartford Courant, Tina Lesher switched to academia and retired as professor emerita at William Paterson University where she is a former chairman of the Department of Communication. She served twice as president of New Jersey Press Women. She holds a degree in history from Wheeling College, a MA in journalism from the University of Missouri, and a doctorate in English education from Rutgers. Tina spent her 2006-07 Fulbright in the United Arab Emirates interviewing women about how their lives have changed in this now oil-rich country. Based on her research, she penned The Abaya Chronicles, a novel named the top work of fiction in 2011 by the National Federation of Press Women. 

Pronouns: She/They

Lissette T. Olivares is the founder of Across the Bridge Communications, LLC, a language service provider that specializes in language access. Mx. Olivares performs biactive language services between English and Spanish, using their legal name when they work as a professional interpreter and translator at such places as the UN, MOMA, schools, and courts. When making art, writing ecological philosophy, or teaching courses about animals, ethics, art, and architecture, their chosen name is Ciclón (Pronounced: See Clone). Their research has been supported by numerous fellowships, including the Fulbright, Andrew W. Mellon, Jacob K. Javits, and the NYU Provost Transition Fellowship for Academic Diversity. They were awarded a US Scholar Fulbright Fellowship in 2002 to Chile to investigate the history of countercultural dissidence in the post-dictatorship.

Abdullah Azizi is a PhD candidate in Global Affairs at Rutgers University. He is from Afghanistan and completed his MA in Global Affairs at Rutgers through the Fulbright scholarship program. His research interests include reform in government institutions, elections management, and gender equality. Prior to joining Rutgers, Abdullah worked for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Afghanistan. In this role, he was responsible for developing and implementing programs that supported the country's transition to democracy and good governance.

Abdullah is a passionate advocate for the human capability approach. He is committed to using his research and experience to help build more just and equitable societies

John Donnellan holds the position of Associate Professor and Chair of the Management Department at the NJCU School of Business, located in Jersey City, NJ, USA. With an international teaching background, Dr. Donnellan has delivered lectures in various countries including China, England, France, Finland, and Mexico. He has lectured at such institutions such as Cambridge and Oxford Universities in the United Kingdom, as well as Columbia University in New York City. 

Prior to his academic career, Dr. Donnellan gained executive management experience on Wall Street, having worked at JPMorgan and Prudential Financial. This practical background in finance and management serves as a solid foundation for his research pursuits. Dr. Donnellan's latest research focuses on the development of the ARC model in higher education, specifically addressing the internationalization of curriculum featured on NPR's Academic Minute.