MVSU is Named HBCU Institutional Leader by the Fulbright Program

September 19, 2022

Pictured from left are Fulbright Language Teaching Assistants Olga Ponomareva (Russia), Dr. Vikas Kadam (India), Ms. Omnia Mahmoud (Egypt), and Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence: Prof Dr. Vandana Saxena (India).

Mississippi Valley State University is proud to be named a Fulbright Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Institutional Leader for 2022. For the third consecutive year, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) recognizes selected HBCUs' strong engagement with the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship international academic exchange program. Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders have demonstrated outstanding support for Fulbright exchange participants during the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years and have promoted Fulbright program opportunities on campus.

The State Department announced the 19 Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders as HBCU leaders prepare to gather in Washington, DC and virtually for the White House Initiative on HBCUs National HBCU Week Conference, and Fulbright opportunities will be highlighted in events such as the career and recruitment fair during this week.

Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Lee Satterfield commended the HBCUs receiving the Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leader designation this year. 

"HBCUs are an important part of the American and global higher education communities, providing life-changing exchange opportunities for American and international students, faculty, and administrators alike," and shared her "hope that these institutions' success encourages all HBCUs to engage further with Fulbright and with the State Department."

"We are honored to be recognized by Fulbright as an HBCU Institutional Leader for 2022. Participation in various Fulbright Programs has enriched our Institution and the communities we serve," said Dr. Kathie Stromile Golden, Provost/Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs.

"The Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) program exposes our students and the community to languages and cultures that they might not otherwise experience first-hand. In addition, at least five MVSU faculty members have been Fulbright Teaching and Research Scholars in various countries, enriching our scholarly personal, professional growth and development and how we can share knowledge with and inspire our students to think globally," Golden added.

Dr. Lokesh Shivakumaraiah, the Executive Director of International Relations at MVSU, said, "Prestigious Fulbright programs offer a great opportunity to bring the best in their fields from around the world to Valley and put MVSU branding out in the world. Fulbright faculty and teaching assistants not only help our students expand their skill set and world awareness, but it also gives a great opportunity for our faculty to engage in collaborative research and develop a long-lasting professional network."

This year, MVSU was selected to host a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence from India to teach and pursue research in the Department of Education during the 2022-2023 academic year.

Dr. Vandana Saxena, an Education, Diversity, and Inclusion expert at CIE, University of Delhi, was selected for the Fulbright award by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Dr. Saxena shared her excitement at MVSU and said, "It's an amazingly friendly team of professional enthusiasts working for the students and the community. I am delighted to be a part of it, and I am looking forward to creating a mutually enriching learning ecology," Saxena said. 

MVSU has three FLTAs: Olga Ponomareva (Russian from Russia), Dr. Vikas Kadam (Hindi, from India), and Ms. Omnia Mahmoud (Arabic, from Egypt).

FLTAs help MVSU students to learn Arabic, Russian and Hindi languages at MVSU. They also help the Office of International Programs in the curriculum, campus, and community internationalization initiatives.

On November 3, 2022, a Fulbright HBCU Virtual Workshop will feature representatives of Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders sharing best practices for HBCUs to leverage Fulbright Program engagement to support students and faculty, increase campus internationalization, and build global networks. This event is open to the public and is designed explicitly for HBCU faculty, staff, and stakeholders.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government's flagship international academic exchange program. Since its inception over 75 years ago, the Fulbright Program has given over 400,000 talented and accomplished students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research abroad, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to critical international problems.

Each year, the U.S. Congress appropriates funds to the U.S. Department of State to sponsor the Fulbright Program. Many foreign governments contribute substantially as well. Additional funding and in-kind funding are provided by U.S. and foreign host institutions, non-governmental organizations, private organizations, corporate partnerships, and individual donors.

Over many years the Fulbright Program has designed and implemented a wide range of initiatives to increase participant diversity and inclusion. The program strives to ensure that its participants reflect the diversity of U.S. society and societies abroad. Fulbrighters come from all backgrounds and are selected through an open, merit-based competition, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The Fulbright Program's diversity and inclusion initiatives are detailed on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program website.

For more information on the Fulbright Program, visit or contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Press Office by emailing

Stories about the positive impact of the Fulbright Program over its first 75 years can be found at:

Follow the Fulbright Program's social media accounts and websites for highlights on HBCUs and Fulbright: