Featured Past Winners

Read about the stories and experiences of some of Pace’s past fellowship winners

Gerrard James


’17; M.F.A. Acting; Dyson 

Winner of John Wood LAMDA Award in Classical Acting Fulbright award to the UK

How did you hear about the Fulbright fellowship?

I first heard about the Fulbright John Wood LAMDA Award from the LAMDA school website.  When I looked up the MA Classical Acting course in order to apply, I saw that there was a Fulbright award available to help fund the student’s training.

Why did you choose to apply?

When I first started acting professionally in 2011, I remember seeing a preview for Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein online.  I was absolutely blown away and wanted to know how those actors were able to play both Frankenstein and the Creature in such a full and realistic way.  Both actors had studied in London and Benedict specifically studied at LAMDA.  The seed was planted then and started to bloom by the time I attended the 8-week summer course in 2016.  I fell in love with London’s culture, the theatre scene, and the type of training that I was learning at the school.  A year after graduating from the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University, I knew I had to go back in some capacity.

What was the application process like for you?

The application process was challenging!  I wasn’t used to writing draft upon draft, especially when it came to melding my absolute love for acting with what I specifically wanted to accomplish as an artistic ambassador in the U.K.  I had to make my goals crystal clear for an academic board that may not have had that much experience with acting or theater.

How was your experience working with the office/working with Jenny?

I think I will say this for the rest of my life when asked about my Fulbright experience: Jenny is an angel.  She was patient, encouraging, and incredibly supportive of what I want to achieve as a grantee.

Can you tell us about your Fulbright experience? Were there any particular notable moments?

I loved learning about what the other members of my cohort were studying.  I think it is incredibly important to have an artistic perspective, but I don’t think that perspective can accurately reflect the world if we, as artists, do not learn about the world.  I initially felt a bit of imposter syndrome during my orientation week because I would think, “How important am I really when the person I just finished having a conversation with is trying to develop cancer treatments by studying the circadian rhythms of patients!?”.  However, I quickly pivoted to having humility and allowed myself to truly learn about what everyone else was doing.  The notable moments came from connecting with my “Fulbright Noir” cohorts.  Fulbright Noir is the black/brown community of Fulbright grantees and scholars.  We all still meet up, albeit virtually, to this day.

What are you doing now after Fulbright?

Although we are still in the midst of this pandemic, I am so grateful to have booked acting work about every single month since graduating from LAMDA.  I am also preparing to teach some workshops/classes in the Fall!

What kind of impact has the Fulbright had on you both personally and professionally?

Personally, I have built life-long friendships with people outside of my profession and have become even more passionate about giving back when it comes to teaching or finding a way to share some of the knowledge that I have accumulated over the years.  Professionally, I honestly now feel like I can do anything.  I can take on any role regardless of the genre, time period, or medium.  The young bright-eyed actor who had no idea how to give the performance that Benedict Cumberbatch or Jonny Lee Miller gave now feels like he can play at that level. 

What advice/words of wisdom would you give to others considering applying for a fellowship?

Be flexible with the goals that you want to accomplish while in your country of choice.  I, along with all of the other grantees, had an obvious obstacle with COVID, but if you are willing to adapt you can still have a successful year.  All of my classes shifted to zoom, which was immensely challenging at first; however, I’m grateful for all of the time spent learning how to perform on zoom because I’ve done five professional zoom plays with my sixth happening in May.  I also would say to truly take advantage of any opportunity you get to experience your host country.  Although my travel plans to see the rest of the U.K. were canceled, I still got a chance to climb the O2, see incredible theatre, spend time with my British counterparts, and try food I never would’ve gotten the chance to try back in the States.  Have fun!  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to grow and expand outside of your comfort zone.  

Sabina Vasques


’17; B.A. Communication Science & Disorders; College of Health Professions 

Winner of ​English Teaching Assistantship Fulbright award to Ecuador​

How did you hear about the Fulbright fellowship?

I believe I first heard about the Fulbright fellowship as a freshmen or sophomore in college. I was researching study abroad opportunities and I came across this program. Ever since then I kept it in the back of my mind.

Why did you choose to apply?

During the application process I was working for a preventative early intervention program named the Video Interaction Project (VIP). We work with families and their children between the ages of 0-3 years in different pediatric clinics across New York City. The families I was serving were mainly immigrants and they often shared about their culture and experiences. After working with many families, I knew I wanted to not just make a difference in the United States but wanted to make a larger global impact. 

What was the application process like for you?

Since I was no longer an undergraduate during the application process I was initially worried about receiving the right guidance and mentorship during the application process. I had a co-worker who was a Fulbright Fellow in Peru and she helped guide me initially. Even though I was not at Pace University any more I reached out to the office of student affairs and they put me in contact with Jenny who really helped me understand the application process and guided me every step of the way.

How was your experience working with the office/working with Jenny?

I was so thankful to have been put in contact with Jenny. The application process seemed very overwhelming at first and there were so many countries I was considering applying for. She really helped me decide what location would be the best fit for me in terms of my goals and values.  Without Jenny I don’t I would have been awarded the fellowship.

Can you tell us about your Fulbright experience? Were there any particular notable moments?

My Fulbright experience was nothing short than amazing, and as cheesy as this sounds it really was a dream come true. As part of my fellowship I was a teaching assistant at a middle/high school in a low income area. Many of the students I worked with had limited English experience but were highly motivated to learn. I really enjoyed being able to teach them more than English grammar but about what the United States is really like especially what it is like in NYC. I organized an English cooking club for interested students on Friday afternoons and for one lesson I decided to introduce them to the “bacon egg and cheese” otherwise known as the “BEC”. Most of my students never traveled outside of the country and were excited to try foods typically eaten in the states. One of my favorite hobbies is cooking and baking and I loved that I was able to share that with my students and help them experience a taste of the states.

What are you doing now after Fulbright?

Now I am a first-year graduate student at New York Medical College studying Speech-language pathology.

What kind of impact has the Fulbright had on you both personally and professionally?

Personally, my experience as a Fulbright fellow has made me more aware of my cognitive bias and privileges as an American. It has further motivated me to be aware of my privilege as an “American” and to use my privilege to lift up and encourage others. 

During my fellowship I had the opportunity to volunteer as a clinician assistant at The Centro De Desarrollo Integral El Niño, a non-profit organization offering ambulatory care for children with varied disabilities who are also from low-income backgrounds. I worked alongside a speech-language pathologist and I learned that it is critical to understand our client’s culture and values when providing treatment. As a graduate student now I strive to build rapport with the families I work with to best understand how their culture plays a role and how to use that to implement the best treatment plan for my client and their family.

What advice/words of wisdom would you give to others considering applying for a fellowship?

I think my best advice is honestly do not give up on your dreams. For a long time, I had Fulbright in the back of my mind and thought it was an impossible goal that would always remain a dream. However, even our biggest dreams can become a reality. If we don’t try the answer will always remain no. I also think it’s important to give yourself a long time to carefully research the different fellowships available and countries you can apply to as well. Lastly, speaking to individuals who went through the application process and have been awarded a fellowship is also really helpful.