3 Gies alumni offered Fulbright grants

Jun 21, 2021, 10:10 AM

Three recent Gies College of Business alumni have been awarded Fulbright grants to pursue international education and teaching this coming year. Richard Chao, Michelle Dinh, and Banu Gulecyuz have earned these grants based on their academic and professional achievement, as well as their demonstrated leadership potential. The Fulbright Student Program will fund approximately 2,200 U.S. citizens to travel abroad for the 2021-22 academic year.

“I’m so proud of these three Gies graduates, who have excelled both inside and outside the classroom,” said Kevin Jackson, associate dean of undergraduate affairs at Gies. “Our hope is that we’re able to prepare students to follow their passions and make the world a better place. That’s exactly what Richard, Michelle, and Banu are going to do. They’ve made us proud, and I’m sure they’re going to make a lasting impact on lives in Taiwan, France, and Turkey.”

Richard Chao, who graduated from Gies Business in May 2021, was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award in Taiwan. Chao earned a dual degree in accountancy and information systems. He served as a mentor of the Minority Business Students Association, offering advice to college-level students in their career paths. In Chicago’s Chinatown, Chao prepared various educational activities for children at his church. After the Fulbright, Chao has accepted a consulting position performing external audits of control systems at Grant Thornton.

Michelle Dinh has accepted one of 10 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Awards in France. Dinh graduated in May 2021 with a degree in accountancy from Gies. An Illinois Promise Scholar, Dinh mentored students through Business Council, assisting them with their resumes, interviews, networking and business etiquette. Dinh previously studied abroad in France in spring 2020, where she volunteered with refugees and immigrants. She also has taught English to recent immigrants to the U.S. Upon her return from the Fulbright, Dinh said she plans to focus on financial consulting in the public sector, with a long-term goal of developing a nongovernmental organization to improve access to education.

Banu Gulecyuz, a December 2021 Gies graduate, has accepted a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award in Turkey. Gulecyuz earned a degree in marketing from Gies and minored in journalism. A second-generation Turkish American, Gulecyuz earned TESOL certification and previously taught English language, business skills and sports to Turkish youths for a summer at an American high school in Istanbul. At Illinois, Gulecyuz founded Pen-Friend, an online platform connecting students from four different countries to pen pals in the U.S. She also taught English as a conversation leader for university students and spent a semester studying in Italy, where she taught English as well. After the Fulbright, Gulecyuz said she seeks to become an international freelance journalist sharing humanitarian stories from Turkey.