Luther senior Williams and alumnus Taylor receive the Fulbright Awards

May 7, 2019

Luther College senior Marta Williams of Woodbury, Minnesota, and alumnus Ethan Taylor ’16 of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, have been selected to receive Fulbright Awards for the 2019-20 academic year on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

Williams received a Fulbright Research Grant to Germany. She will conduct research at the University of Bonn Center of Neuroscience with Dr. Harald Neumann. Taylor received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Tajikistan.

Williams, daughter of Gerald and Winifred Williams, will graduate from Luther in May of 2019 with a degree in biology. Her research project explores the role of polysialic acid as a possible future treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

Taylor, son of Anne (Lysne) Taylor ’88 and Sean Taylor ’84, graduated from Luther in 2016 with degrees in history and biology. Since his graduation, Taylor has been teaching English in South Korea. He will serve as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Tajikistan.

Williams’ interest in Germany began in elementary school, when her family hosted a German exchange student, Isi. “Through Isi, I feel a connection to Germany, but I’m excited to get to know it now, for myself,” she said. “Germany also seems like the perfect place for a year of research abroad – it has a strong scientific tradition, a rich historical legacy and a vibrant culture that I am excited to experience.”

Fulbright grantees also are expected to contribute to the community in their host country. Williams is looking forward to joining an orchestra and/or a choir during her time in Bonn. After completing her year in in Germany, Williams plans to apply to medical school and become a physician, likely specializing in an area related to neurology.

Taylor chose to teach in Tajikistan because, “While it is not well known, it sits at an important cultural, political and linguistic crossroads that will be increasingly relevant in the future for American foreign interests.” He chose Fulbright because of its ability to place grantees in unique communities where authentic cultural exchange can be facilitated.

When not teaching, Taylor hopes to connect with his host community by sharing his interests in cooking, sports and exploring nature. After his year in Tajikistan, Taylor plans to attend graduate school at Boston University and study international relations, with a focus on the relationship between Central Asian and U.S. policies.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and those of other countries. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program, which operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given more than 390,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all disciplines while building relationships, knowledge and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 59 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 84 who have received Pulitzer Prizes and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.

For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State, please visit

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,005, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college’s website: