April 29, 2022 Architecture Alumnus Named Fulbright Recipient

headshot of Cullen Sayegh

Cullen Sayegh (B.Arch ‘19), has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Research program award to Politecnico di Milano. Beginning in September 2022, Sayegh will research and study urban planning and policy design in the Laurea Magistrale (master’s degree) program at the renowned institution located in Milan, Italy.

The Fulbright Program is the largest U.S. international exchange program that provides opportunities for students and recent graduates to conduct research abroad. Recipients of the Fulbright award are chosen on the basis of academic and professional achievement and their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

Sayegh will spend two years in Italy in the program that combines urban design studio courses with public policy lectures and workshops. His research will focus on the redevelopment of the late-Modernist buildings of Ivrea, Italy, where the Olivetti typewriter company sponsored various urban planning and architectural projects spanning the 20th century.

“I’m hoping to work with local community groups in Ivrea to restore several former Olivetti buildings and develop a masterplan for sustainable, long-term redevelopment of the city’s former industrial zone,” Sayegh said.

The Fulbright opportunity is not Sayegh’s first long-term abroad experience. In 2018, he was named the School of Architecture’s recipient of the prized Aydelott Travel Award. The $20,000 award was established by the late Alfred Lewis Aydelott, FAIA, and his wife, Hope Galloway Aydelott, to enable students of architecture to engage in firsthand observation, research and documentation of any four architecturally significant structures across the world. Sayegh spent the summer of 2018 studying architecture in Cambodia, China, France and Norway.

“My experience through the Aydelott Travel Award definitely informed my Fulbright application and made possible the idea of studying abroad longer term,” Sayegh said. “In fact, my current Fulbright plan is looking at a similar urban and regional scale that I investigated during my Aydelott travels.”

Currently, Sayegh is a Designer II for EYP Architecture in Washington, D.C. Fellow alum, Amanda Gann (B.Arch, ‘12, M.Arch, ‘14), who works for ACSA’s Study Architecture in Washington, D.C., also is a Fulbright award recipient and now is studying in India. Additionally, Mike Lidwin (B.Arch, ‘20) and Alayna Davis (BFA, ‘20) also are recent Fulbright award recipients.

I applied for the Fulbright award because the opportunity to analyze and experience architecture and urban spaces from a distinctly non-American perspective always excited me. The chance to develop my foreign language skills is also a big plus,” said Sayegh. “Italy has an incredible architectural heritage. Milan itself contains several ancient Roman ruins, Byzantine churches, a Gothic cathedral, Renaissance palazzi, 19th-century workers’ housing, Modernist skyscrapers, and contemporary developments like the CityLife project. Needless to say, I am pretty excited to visit all of these buildings and experience Italian urbanism firsthand.”

According to the U.S. Embassy and Fulbright: About 2,000 U.S. students are awarded Fulbright awards annually. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program expands perspectives through academic and professional advancement and cross-cultural dialogue. Fulbright creates connections in a complex and changing world. In partnership with more than 140 countries worldwide, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers unparalleled opportunities in all academic disciplines to passionate and accomplished graduating college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals from all backgrounds. Program participants pursue graduate study, conduct research or teach English abroad.