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The Fulbright Program Elevates SUNY, the Nation

SUNY Farmingdale student represents the State University of New York as 2013 Alumni Ambassador.

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“Simple exchanges can break down walls between us, for when people come together and speak to one another and share a common experience, then their common humanity is revealed. We are reminded that we’re joined together by our pursuit of a life that’s productive and purposeful, and when that happens mistrust begins to fade and our smaller differences no longer overshadow the things that we share. And that’s where progress begins.”

-President Barack Obama

When President Obama spoke to a group of Fulbright Scholars in Turkey in 2009, he remarked at the purposefulness of the honorable achievement–being named a Fulbright Scholar–and tasked the students to continue a legacy that has existed for longer than six decades. And receiving this message is dozens of SUNY Fulbright Scholars who, throughout this time, have used the education and ideals from their college or university to help advance mutual understanding.

The Fulbright Program logoThe Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. This program was created in 1946, and is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” With this goal as a starting point, the Fulbright Program has provided almost 310,000 participants. They have been chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Alumni Ambassadors Program was established in 2008 to identify, train and engage a select group of approximately 15 alumni each year. These Fulbright U.S. Student Program Alumni serve as representatives, recruiters, and spokespersons for the Fulbright Program, which is the largest U.S. exchange program that offers opportunities for students and young adult professionals to participate in international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors come from an array of different ethnic and social backgrounds,states, fields of study, and institutions.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program relies on the Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors to mentor potential applicants, sharing what a Fulbright grant is really like, along with how to address the challenges of living abroad successfully and how best to meet the Fulbright Program’s ultimate goal – to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries.



This year, Farmingdale State College had its first Fulbright Winner, Jared Finkelstein (2011), named as a 2013 Alumni Ambassador. Out of the 21 Fulbright Ambassadors from around the nation, Jared has the unique honor to represent SUNY.

This is an extremely prestigious honor that SUNY and Farmingdale State are very proud of. It marks the fourth Scholar from Farmingdale State College and joins an elite group stemming from the University at Albany, Binghamton University, The College at BrockportSUNY Fredonia, and Stony Brook University, to name a few.

Jared Finkelstein won this award because of his Engineering success in Italy, where he studied design and construction methods as part of his research. Specifically, he focused his studies on bridges, as well as railways, asphalt and concrete pavements, and airport runways at the Politecnico di Torino in Turin, Italy.

Upon his return to the United States, Jared completed his final coursework at The Polytechnic Institute of New York University to obtain a master’s degree in construction management. He also continued providing freelance consulting services in construction engineering, accounting, methods, and business.

Jared Finkelstein shares his full experience on the Fulbright Program Student Blog.

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Written by Phillip Leidner

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There is 1 comment

  • Ben says:

    Great Article, and congrats to Jared

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