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About Our Program

About the Humphrey Fellowship Program

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The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program was initiated in 1978 to honor the late Senator and Vice President and his lifelong commitment to international cooperation and public service. The program brings accomplished educational leaders from developing nations and emerging democracies to the United States for an academic year to study, gain related professional experience, build their leadership capacity, and foster mutual understanding. The program provides a basis for lasting ties between U.S. citizens and the Fellows while strengthening the global exchange of knowledge and expertise. Humphrey Fellows are selected based on their potential for leadership and their commitment to public service in either the public or the private sector.

Humphrey Fellowship at Vanderbilt

Humphrey Vision at Vanderbilt: To Inspire educational leaders to make positive changes with the youth, communities, and nations they serve while leaving a lasting impact on Nashville.

Humphrey Mission at Vanderbilt: To provide meaningful opportunities for professional development and leadership development, as well as mutual exchange through immersion in a localized, culturally rich environment. Through knowledge, application and self-reflection, Fellows will enhance their individual capacities while enriching the Vanderbilt and Nashville communities.

Vanderbilt's Humphrey Fellows

During the 2021-2022 school year, Vanderbilt University will host 12 Fellows hailing from Bangladesh, Barbados, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Estonia, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey and Ukraine. 

The Humphrey Fellowship Program at Vanderbilt has many components and required activities. Fellows will complete and participate a variety of professional development activities and projects during their Fellowship year—virtually during the Fall semester and on campus during the Spring semester.

Some of the activities include:

  • Designing an e-Portfolio that outlines their goals and objective as well as tracks their reflections and work throughout the fellowship year.
  • Developing a plan for impact once they return home, an Impact Plan.
  • Participating in the Humphrey Seminar Series to enhance professional and leadership skills and share their professional expertise.
  • Auditing Academic Courses at Peabody and throughout Vanderbilt University.
  • Engaging in Professional Affiliations (similar to a high level internship).
  • Contributing to the Nashville community through Service.
  • Taking part in Mutual Exchange activities.

Humphrey Fellowship Team at Vanderbilt

NancyNancy Dickson, Ed.D., Program Director
Nancy Dickson is currently the Program Director for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, a Fulbright exchange program for educational leaders from developing countries. Nancy also teaches in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations (LPO). She has served as the director of the Abu Dhabi Leadership Induction Program as well as the program manager for the Tennessee/Shanghai Leadership Collaborative here at Peabody. Additionally, she trains and endorses high school teachers throughout the state in the area of service learning for the Tennessee Department of Education.

Prior to working at Vanderbilt, she was the Director of Operations and a founding team member of LEAD Academy, a public charter school in Nashville. While teaching 4th grade in Washington, D.C. public schools, Nancy collaborated with National Geographic, Meridian International, and George Washington University to provide citywide professional development and teacher preparation programming.

As an active member in the community, Nancy serves as the board chair of Nashville International Center of Empowerment (NICE) and All About Women as well as the co-chair for Alignment Nashville’s Parent Engagement Team. She holds a Doctorate of Educational Leadership and a Master of Public Policy degree from Vanderbilt, and a Bachelor of Art degree in Elementary Education from Penn State University.




Sarah Crane Program Coordinator
Sarah Crane is the Program Coordinator for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, a Fulbright exchange program for accomplished mid-career educational leaders from developing nations and emerging democracies. As part of the Fellowship staff, Sarah supports professional and leadership development workshops; communicates with the Institute for International Education and other partnering individuals, institutions, and organizations; and develops and executes all Humphrey Fellowship events. 

Prior to joining the Humphrey Fellowship staff, Sarah worked as a Marketing Consultant for multiple international nonprofits and businesses based in Nashville after spending six years working in Uganda. During her time overseas, Sarah focused on educational support, leadership development, and cross-cultural collaboration at a secondary school in Western Uganda. She was a member of the Board of Governors’, the School Leadership Team, and she launched a new scholarship program to support excellent higher-level education. 

Sarah’s work in Nashville and internationally has focused on international education as a powerful tool for development. As a Nashville native, Sarah is thrilled to join Vanderbilt and the Humphrey Fellowship Program to connect this incredible city and university with educators who are changing their communities all over the world and who will leave a lasting impact on our own community. 




Gwendolyn Teok, Assistant Coordinator
Gwendolyn is an Assistant Coordinator for the Humphrey Program, and a second-year International Education Policy and Management student at Peabody College. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the National University of Singapore, Gwen taught US college entrance exams and worked with students on their college applications in Singapore, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. Gwen also worked in the admissions team of an international K-12 school in Singapore and in . Gwen is passionate about the power of quality early childhood education and committed to the mission of nurturing children as whole beings starting from preschool.




HaleighHaleigh Portillo, Assistant Coordinator 
Haleigh is an Assistant Coordinator for the Humphrey Program, and a first-year International Education Policy and Management student at Peabody College. She graduated with a degree in International Studies from the University of Alabama, which is where she found her love for international education by working for and with international students and scholars in various student involvement opportunities. After completing her degree, she worked for a short period in international student services at UA and then as a recruiter for the Honors College for two years where she expanded recruitment to international students.



Associate Campus Partnership

The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program at Vanderbilt aims to facilitate a multi-faceted approach towards professional development, leadership development and mutual exchange. To diversify the professional and cultural collaborations between the Humphrey Fellows and their American counterparts, Vanderbilt has partnered with Volunteer State University and Lipscomb University. Through two Associate Campus Partnerships, Vol State and Lipscomb are able to broaden their international exposure, while exposing the Fellows to various perspectives of higher education in the U.S.


Volunteer State

Volunteer State Community College is a Public Community College that includes a service area of urban, suburban and rural counties making it rather unique in community colleges. They are a Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) institution.

Volunteer State is a two-year college offering associate degrees, certificates, continuing education, and service to northern Middle Tennessee. The main campus is located in Gallatin, Tennessee, 30 miles northeast of Nashville, with two additional campus’ in Springfield and Livingston, Tennessee. Popularly known as Vol State, the college is home to more than 70 programs in five grand divisions: Humanities, Social Science and Education, Allied Health, Business, and Math and Science.

Vol State is committed to providing quality  educational programs that strengthen community and workforce partnerships, promote diversity and cultural exchange, inspire lifelong learning, and prepare students for successful careers, university transfer, and meaningful civic participation.



Lipscomb University is a faith-based, liberal arts college dedicated to challenging students academically, spiritually and as global community citizens. Lipscomb offers 8 bachelor’s degrees in 145 areas of undergraduate study, 25 master’s degrees, 4 education specialist degrees and 3 doctorate degrees in 58 fields of study. Lipscomb has 10 colleges and 2 schools with different specialties including College of Bible and Ministry, Business, Computing and Technology, Education, Engineering, Entertainment and the Arts, Leadership and Public Service, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Theology, and Nursing. Lipscomb’s campus is located in Nashville, Tennessee, just a few minutes away from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College.

Lipscomb is committed to integrate Christian faith and practice with academic excellence. This mission is carried out not only in the classroom but also by involvement in numerous services to the church and the larger community.

Starting in the fall of 2016, Lipscomb became the second associate campus for the Humphrey Fellowship Program at Vanderbilt. Its involvement complements Volunteer State Community College and provides the fellows a more complete landscape of American higher education.

Funding & Support

The Humphrey Program is a Fulbright exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State. Co-sponsors include other governmental agencies, multinational organizations, and private donors. The Humphrey Program is administered by the Institute of International Education and is implemented at 15 U.S. host universities including Vanderbilt University.

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