Eli Beech-Brown, Zazi Halla, Jordan Jones, Lillian Tzanev
Pictured: Eli Beech-Brown, Zazi Halla, Jordan Jones, and Lillian Tzanev.

Four University of Richmond Graduates Receive Fulbright Grants to Study in Bulgaria, Chile, Mexico, and Taiwan

Student Scholars

June 13, 2024

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Four recent University of Richmond graduates have been awarded Fulbright grants for the 2024–25 academic year.

The Fulbright Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries through educational exchange, providing financial support to outstanding students and recent graduates engaged in international study.        

Eli Beech-Brown, from Duluth, Minnesota, majored in environmental studies and will complete his Fulbright — the Chile Science Initiative Award — in Santiago, Chile. While there, he will conduct research on habitat conservation at the Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile.

“Through my Fulbright research on protected areas in Chile, I will combine my current geographic knowledge with a unique perspective on the challenge of protected area conservation. This will situate me as a globally minded conservation specialist and prepare me for graduate study and leadership regarding protected area conservation in the Americas,” Beech-Brown said.

While at UR, Beech-Brown participated in various ecological research projects including field work in Appalachia for the Nature Conservancy and remotely mapping deforestation in the Amazon.

Zazi Halla, from McLean, Virginia, double majored in Chinese studies and environmental studies and will complete her Fulbright — an English Teaching Assistantship — in Taiwan. While living in Taiwan, she will teach English at an elementary or secondary school and pursue coursework to further improve her knowledge of Mandarin.

“The Fulbright Award provides me with the unique opportunity to immerse myself in Taiwanese culture, practicing my language skills and learning through direct cultural immersion. I look forward to the opportunity to continue improving my mentorship and teaching skills,” Halla said.  

Halla, who plans to attend law school to specialize in environmental and international law, has studied Mandarin since elementary school. While at UR, she was also an accomplished student-athlete on the swim and dive team.

Jordan Jones, from Poquoson, Virginia, was awarded an English Teaching Assistantship grant and will live and teach English in Mexico.

“The Fulbright provides me the opportunity to interact with students from different backgrounds than me and learn from them. I know that the best way to keep learning a language is to engage with the people in the community. I’ve always loved Mexico so I am grateful for the chance to live and learn there. In the future I hope to work in DEI so this opportunity will help me expand my intercultural knowledge and awareness in an impactful and beneficial way, serving me well in my career path and in life in general,” Jones said. 

Jones majored in global studies, Latin American, Latino, and Iberian studies, and political science with minors in women, gender, & sexuality studies and Luso-Brazilian studies. She speaks Portuguese and Spanish. While at UR, she was a Richmond Scholar, studied abroad in Spain and Brazil, and was a recipient of a Multilingual Award in LALIS and Richmond Award in political science.

Lillian Tzanev, from New York City, will travel to Bulgaria to complete her Fulbright. She received an English Teaching Assistantship grant and will be teaching English at a public high school in Bulgaria, where she will also work with the debate team.  

“I have always valued language learning, and I am honored that I now get a chance to help young students with their language learning. I am a Bulgarian-American so I am especially excited to work in Bulgaria and immerse myself in the culture I grew up with,” Tzanev said.

Tzanev majored in religious studies and Russian studies and plans to pursue a career as a Slavist scholar with a focus on Balkan culture. During her time at UR, she was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship to study Russian in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; traveled to Bulgaria to research the dynamics between women's rights, abortion, and religion in the country; and received a Frank E. Eakin, Jr. Fellowship to study Eastern Orthodoxy in Turkey and Greece.

Two additional recent graduates were also offered Fulbright grants. The University of Richmond has had 83 Fulbright U.S. Student Program recipients. Earlier this year, UR was included on the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most Fulbright U.S. Students for the sixth year in a row.