Two economics alumna selected as Fulbright Scholars

Maeve Breathnach in front of Rock of Cashel castle n Ireland.

Maeve Breathnach and Zainub Ali, who both majored in international affairs and economics at the John Munro Godfrey, Sr. Department of Economics, were among 11 University of Georgia students selected this year for the prestigious program. UGA has led the nation in the number of students selected for Fulbright Scholarships for the last two years.

“Earning recognition as a top producer of Fulbright students reflects the importance that our students place on making a difference around the world and in our local community,” said Meg Amstutz, dean of the Morehead Honors College, which houses UGA’s major scholarships office.

“The Fulbright awards point to our students’ exceptional talent, the strong mentorship of our faculty, and UGA’s longstanding commitment to international education. I am extremely proud of the global impact of these students.”

Six of the 11 UGA students were selected to teach English overseas, while Ali and Breathnach were among five others slated to attend graduate school and complete research projects as part of the program.

Breathnach is pursuing a master’s in refugee integration at Dublin City University in Dublin, Ireland. An Honors College alumna, Foundation Fellow and First Honor Graduate from Roswell, she graduated in 2023 with bachelor’s degrees in international affairs and economics and minors in Spanish and social work. She is studying Dublin City University’s model as a participating University of Sanctuary to focus on how such institutions can be better accessible to migrants of all documentation statuses.

“Ireland is a unique place to study migration matters due to its recent transition from a country of net-emigration to net-immigration and status as an EU member state and relationship to the UK,” Breathnach said. “Studying economics has better prepared me to unpack these trends as it pertains to policy choices and their effects on forcibly displaced persons and the host society. From learning about EU refugee and asylum governance to how to best adapt classrooms for multi-language learners, my economics training assists me with analyzing the relationship between the macro- and micro-level issues related to forced displacement.”

Ali, who studied counterterrorism policy as an undergraduate, ultimately declined the award and instead took a role as an analyst at Deloitte Government & Public Services.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers research, study and teaching opportunities in more than 160 countries to recent college graduates and graduate students. As the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, it is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and countries worldwide.

Since its inception in 1946, more than 400,000 participants from all backgrounds and fields from the U.S. and over 160 other countries have participated in the Fulbright Program. More information about the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is available at

For more information about UGA’s work in helping students apply for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, contact Maria de Rocher, campus Fulbright U.S. Student Program adviser and assistant dean and director of programming for the Morehead Honors College, at