Recent Andrews University graduate wins Fulbright award

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. -- A Michiana woman just received a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. 

Dr. Vivian Laughlin is one of eight Fulbright post-doctoral fellows in Israel. 

For the next two years, she’ll study the cultural appropriation of the ancient Egyptian cults of Serapis and Isis and its impact on Judea and Palestine. 

“I was very excited as you know, to get the Fulbright,” said Laughlin. 

Laughlin earned her PhD from Andrews University in Berrien Springs in May. 

In a Skype interview from Israel, Laughlin said she applied for the Fulbright because she wanted to continue her research. 

Each year the Fulbright program selects hundreds of U.S. citizens to teach, research, and provide expertise abroad. Recipients are chosen based on their academic and professional success and leadership skills. 

“It really gave me the confidence that I think I needed to know that, yeah, I really do need to do this particular research and here’s why,” said Laughlin. 

Laughlin called the year-long application process rigorous but rewarding. She says the award alleviates the financial stress of research and opens up new networking opportunities. 

“Everything comes full circle when you get the Fulbright,” said Laughlin. “Everything that you ever went through in your PhD program, from every slip and fall on a dig, from every broken wrist, for every swollen ankle, everything that has ever happened to you. It’s like it’s worth it because now you have that Fulbright.” 

Laughlin is the first African-American PhD graduate from Andrews’ archaeology department and the only one to get a Fulbright. 

She hopes her research leaves a worldwide impact. 

“Aside from hoping my research ends up in a published manuscript, I’m really hoping other people see the importance of my research and that it has a global impact on the world of archaeological history,” said Laughlin. “To everyone pursuing their education goals, if you get knocked down just pick yourself back up.” 

To follow Laughlin’s journey in Israel, click here.

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