News Details

July 21, 2016

Jessica D. Olcott ’05 Receives Fulbright Award

Jessica D. Olcott of Arlington, VA, a 2005 West Virginia Wesleyan College graduate, has received a Fulbright – Clinton Public Policy Fellowship grant to Kosovo from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Olcott will be providing subject matter expertise and will serve as a “special assistant” to the Ministry of the Kosovo Security Forces, focusing on emergency response, disaster preparedness, and civil affairs. Olcott is one of over 1,900 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research, and provide expertise abroad for the 2016-2017 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.


For the past year, Olcott has been a Project Manager in the Safety and Security Division at CNA Analysis & Solutions. CNA consists of two parts, the federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, as well as the Institute for Public Research (IPR), which performs work for the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Justice, among others. Olcott’s duties (for both the FFRDC and IPR) tends to focus on civil affairs, emergency response/disaster preparedness, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) training and exercises. 


Prior to joining CNA, she spent less than five years as a contractor for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the strategic command center for combating weapons of mass destruction. For three of those five years, she lead the agency's CBRN (international) building partnership capacity efforts in nine designated partner nations in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM), one of which was Kosovo. The agency worked extensively with the Kosovo Security Forces' Civil Protection Unit to develop their CBRN capability. As she was changing jobs to CNA, she discovered the Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship (one of six kinds of Fulbright Fellowships), and after reading the description, she felt compelled to apply. She was selected after an eight-month long process.

“I would be remiss if I did not extend gratitude for several WVWC professors who heavily influenced my life and career: the late Dr. John Warner, Dr. Robert Rupp, Dr. Kwame Boateng, and the late Dr. William Mahoney, who single-handedly inspired my love of the Balkans and Eastern Europe,” Olcott said.   

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries that are needed to solve global challenges. 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 over 160 countries worldwide. 

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright Program’s establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. Since then, the Program has given more than 360,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Fulbrighters address critical global challenges – from sustainable energy and climate change to public health and food security – in all areas, while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States and the world. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 54 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 82 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, and 33 who have served as a head of state or government. 

Fulbright recipients are among over 50,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education. 

For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State, please visit or contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Press Office by telephone 202-632-6452 or e-mail




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