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Headshot of Faith Bates in front of the Great Hall at Monmouth University

Bates is Fulbright Award Recipient

Headshot of Faith Bates in front of the Great Hall at Monmouth University
Faith Bates ’24MFA, adjunct professor in the Department of English
Headshot of Ausirys Alviz in front of the Great Hall at Monmouth University
Ausirys Alviz, doctoral social work candidate and adjunct professor in the School of Social Work
Headshot of Cierra Spruill in front of the Great Hall at Monmouth University
Cierra Spruill ’24M, recent physician assistant graduate

Faith Bates ’24MFA has accepted a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award for English Teaching Assistantship during the 2024-25 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

As a Fulbright participant, Bates, who is also an adjunct professor in the Department of English, will teach and assist with practical and specialized English language and American culture classes at higher education institutions in Romania. She will additionally serve as a valuable resource for first-hand information about American culture and history, as well as literary and non-literary traditions.

“Romania is a beautiful country and I’m incredibly excited and grateful for the opportunity to experience it through the Fulbright program. I encourage other students to apply for Fulbright Awards as well. As a Monmouth student, you have the resources to apply through the University and receive support and guidance from Dr. [Mihaela] Moscaliuc and the Fulbright committee,” Bates said.

Bates developed her fascination with Romanian culture during one of her graduate literature courses and recently expanded her interest to the current social developments of the country and the reform in education following the collapse of the communist regime.

“I hope to experience and gain an understanding about how this has shaped the arts and humanities, as well as student learning,” Bates added.

As a Fulbright alumna, Bates’ career will be enriched by joining a network of thousands of esteemed alumni, many of whom are leaders in their fields. Fulbright alumni include 61 Nobel Prize laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize recipients, and 40 who have served as a head of state or government.

Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 400,000 participants from over 160 countries the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.

Alviz and Spruill Are Fulbright Semifinalists

Two additional scholars represented Monmouth in the semifinal round: Ausirys Alviz, doctoral social work candidate, and Cierra Spruill ’24M, recent physician assistant program graduate.

Alviz, also an adjunct professor in the School of Social Work, submitted her research proposal, “International Social Work in Human Rights Collaborative for Non-Profit Sustainability,” focusing on human rights through Indigenous social work collaboratives in Guatemala, in addition to understanding how immediate social and economic challenges can be addressed from decolonized approaches.

Her research garnered the attention of the United Nations, and through the guidance of mentor Michael Cronin, Ph.D., graduate social work director and associate professor in the School of Social Work, Alviz attended the 23rd session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. During the forum, Alviz advocated for the rights and empowerment of Indigenous social workers, particularly in Guatemala.

Alviz will also host an Indigenous social worker later this year, who will speak at a side-panel event for the forum in New York City.

“Monmouth University has been instrumental in supporting my engagement with the Fulbright Scholarship … I have loved the support in emphasizing the need for interdisciplinary collaboration and culturally sensitive approaches, especially indigenous rights. The Doctor of Social Work program focus on human rights leadership has really helped shape this robust methodology for my research proposal,” Alviz said.

As for Spruill, she submitted a study proposal to enroll in the Electrophysiology, Cardiac Stimulation, and New Cardiac Technologies program at the University of Bologna in Italy. Her proposal focuses on the inner workings and functionality of the heart, a passion she developed as an undergraduate student.

At Monmouth, Spruill expanded her intrigue choosing an elective rotation in cardiology and focusing her meta-analysis on the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Spruill chose to research regional diets in Italy specifically, drawing on her past experiences visiting the country, her desire to maintain her connection to Italian culture, and her heritage as the daughter of an Italian-American mother.

“Through my research, I learned not only about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, but the overall culture of health in Italy. This Fulbright proposal was an opportunity for me to merge two areas of my life that I am very passionate about. Even without having received the Fulbright award, I will continue to pursue my love for cardiology and also maintain my connection to Italian culture,” Spruill said.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered at Monmouth University through its Institute for Global Understanding under the leadership of Mihaela Moscaliuc, Ph.D., graduate program director and associate professor of English. For more information, visit

For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State, please visit or contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Press Office by telephone 202-632-6452 or e-mail