Two USD Students Awarded Fulbright Scholarship

University of San Diego seniors Mary-Kathleen McCann and Alex “Sasha” Neuwelt have each been awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.


McCann, the daughter of Vince and Kathy McCann from Whittier, Calif., is a senior majoring in history with minors in English and theology. Through the Fulbright scholarship award, McCann will travel to Slovakia next fall to teach English as a foreign language at the University of Zilina. McCann also plans to study the history of Slovakia and to engage in community service through the Catholic Charities of Slovakia.


“I am very honored and excited to receive a Fulbright Scholarship,” says McCann. “I look forward to being able to pursue my passions—teaching, history and service—while gaining the experience of a lifetime.”

Fellow scholarship recipient Sasha Neuwelt will travel from his hometown of Portland, Ore. to study overseas in Poland. His parents are Ed and Jill Neuwelt. A chemistry major, Neuwelt has previously helped demonstrate the ability of the drug STS (sodium thiosulfate) to protect against the high frequency hearing loss that usually occurs in children treated with the anti-cancer drug cisplatin. Neuwelt will conduct similar research in Poland by testing the chemo-enhancing effects of Tylenol for anti-cancer drugs in tissue culture and animals.    


“This Fulbright Scholarship will surely prove to be an invaluable cultural and educational experience,” says Neuwelt. “I am extremely excited about this opportunity.”

“This is a wonderful honor for these two students that also speaks to the high caliber of USD’s academic programs,” says USD Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Julie Sullivan.


Both scholarship recipients were recently elected to the USD chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest undergraduate honors organization in the United States. USD received its Phi Beta Kappa charter in 2003 and is one of only 270 chapters nationwide. To be eligible for membership, students must be majoring in an area of the liberal arts or sciences, hold senior standing, and have attained a GPA that places them in the top 10 percent of their class. Additional criteria for selection include intellectual integrity, tolerance, and a broad range of intellectual interests.


Established in 1946 by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright, the Fulbright program aims to increase international understanding and goodwill through the exchange of people, knowledge and skills. The program sends approximately 1,300 U.S. students to more than 140 countries annually to lecture and conduct research in a variety of academic and professional settings.  Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.


The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning chartered in 1949; the school enrolls approximately 7,500 students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and community service. The establishment of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies will bring the University's total number of schools and colleges to six.  Other academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Law, Leadership and Education Sciences, and Nursing and Health Science.



About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Pamela Gray Payton
(619) 260-4681