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North Toward Success

Junior receives Fulbright fellowship to fund semester in Canada

Genna Symonds, ’25, is heading north of the border. Thanks to a prestigious fellowship, Genna will study in Canada, a country that she dreams of one day calling home.

Genna is among approximately 10 U.S. students receiving a Fulbright award through the Killam Fellowships Program to travel to Canada during the upcoming academic year.

“It’s really rewarding and amazing that they picked me,” said Genna, who is from Groveland and will attend the University of Ottawa for the fall semester. “I’m very excited.”

ɫƵ is one of the program's 16 founding partners among American universities. Administered by Fulbright Canada, Killam fellowships support American undergraduates studying in Canada and Canadian students attending college in the U.S. Several Bridgewater students previously received fellowships and ɫƵ regularly hosts Canadian students.

“It’s a very prestigious award. It’s a highly selective process,” said Dr. Andrew Holman, a history professor who coordinates the Canadian Studies program. “It’s a real feather in our cap.”

Holman said Bridgewater’s Killam success speaks to the quality of ɫƵ students – and Genna is no exception.

“She strikes me as a self-starter, someone who doesn’t need a lot of prodding,” said Holman, who also highlighted her self-confidence. “She’s going to make a great ambassador for Bridgewater State.”

Genna praised Holman’s guidance in reviewing a personal statement she wrote for the fellowship application process. Study Abroad Coordinator Emma Lynch and part-time Canadian Studies faculty member Eric Weeks also provided invaluable support, Genna said.

“Bridgewater as a school has amazing opportunities,” she said. “It’s clear that they care about their students and want to set them up to succeed.”

Although Genna has family living in Canada and previously visited the country, this will be a unique experience.

“When they hear Canada, people think it’s just like America. But there are a lot of differences,” said Genna, who will be studying at a French-English bilingual university. “I’m excited to learn more French.”

At the University of Ottawa, she will take classes in criminal justice and political science (her ɫƵ major and minor, respectively), as well as film.

She also plans to join clubs, just as she has done at Bridgewater. Genna served as an orientation leader and is a member of ɫƵ Dance Company. She works for the EXCEL Program and is part of Best Buddies, two organizations that support people with intellectual disabilities and have shaped her career interests.

Genna is eager to explore Ottawa’s cultural attractions and historic government buildings and travel within Canada. The fellowship offers a mobility grant in addition to the main $6,000 award, which Genna said makes studying abroad possible without adding an extra financial burden on her family.

“It’s a really big honor and exciting that I get to represent Bridgewater in another country,” she said.

Do you have a ɫƵ story you'd like to share? Email stories@bridgew.edu.