Alumni Ambassadors

Elizabeth Lightfoot

Elizabeth Lightfoot headshot
Job title
Foundation Professor and Director
Academic year
Romania - September 2018 – June 2019, Namibia - January 2008 – January 2009
Social Work
Romania - “Disability in Romania”, Namibia - “Social Work and Community Development”

Elizabeth is currently a Foundation Professor and the Director of the School of Social Work at Arizona State University, and previously was the doctoral program director for 15 years at the University of Minnesota. She has a background in both social work and public policy, and her main research interests are related to disability policy and services. As a professor, one of her favorite activities is mentoring emerging scholars, both in the United States and internationally. She has been able to do much of this through international research collaborations that arose from her participation in the Fulbright program. She has recently been involved in four international research projects, two in Romania (social work; disabilities), one in Namibia (youth with disabilities), and one in Kazakhstan (research infrastructure). 

Her first Fulbright to the University Namibia was transformative to her own research and teaching and deepened her commitment to international social work education. It also led to ongoing collaborations between the University of Minnesota and the University of Namibia. She organized an ongoing exchange between the two universities, with groups of MSW students from the USA completing field placements in Namibia, Namibian faculty serving as visiting scholars in Minnesota sharing about social work in Southern Africa, and Namibian lecturers studying for their PhD at the University of Minnesota. She hopes that she can have a similar post-pandemic exchange with the University of Bucharest. She’s happy that her Fulbright collaborations led her to publish research articles with colleagues in both Namibia and Romania who had not yet published before, and all have gone on to publish their research findings regularly. 

Ask Me About:

  • Social work research and education internationally
  • Bringing children ages 4 – 16 on a Fulbright
  • Bringing a dog on a Fulbright
  • The benefits of a full-year Fulbright
  • Maintaining contact with doctoral students in the USA
  • Working on grants in the USA while on a Fulbright
  • Doing a Fulbright in Eastern Europe (Romania) or Southern Africa (Namibia)