Mercyhurst grad student named Fulbright fellow

Libby Bullinger, Copy editor

John P, “Jack” Kelly was recently announced as a recipient of a Fulbright award, an honor that will allow him to apply his Mercyhurst education in future research projects.

Kelly recently graduated from Mercyhurst’s Master of Science program in Applied Intelligence in December of 2020. As a recipient of a Fulbright award, Kelly will have the opportunity to pursue research in Brussels for nine months between Sept. and June.

The Mercyhurst Master of Science in Applied Intelligence builds off the university’s nationally renowned Intelligence Studies undergraduate program.

The master’s degree focuses on leadership skills needed for students to develop careers within intelligence analytics, law enforcement and federal and state agencies.

The program also emphasizes the development of critical skills such as research, writing and communication. The success of the master’s in applied intelligence speaks for itself with graduates working in companies ranging from the CIA and FBI to Disney and Nike.

Before coming to Mercyhurst, Kelly earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Stetson University located in Florida. In addition, he has been an employee of Bank of America in Jacksonville, Florida since 2017. Kelly’s work at this corporation integrated anti-money laundering and investigating criminal networks.

Throughout his time in the Mercyhurst graduate program, Kelly maintained a 4.0 GPA and was a model student.

Bill Welch, a professor in the Department of Intelligence Studies, describes the attainment of this award as “first and foremost, a reflection of Jack and his good work and diligence pursuing his topic.”

Welch was one of the professors that helped oversee Kelly’s application process for the scholarship. Kelly’s receiving of this award shows the high caliber of the Mercyhurst intelligence programs and the faculty on campus and online.

Welch specifically mentioned the importance of the diverse curriculum that Kelly was exposed to as well as the phenomenal faculty he was able to form connections with throughout his time at the university.

Kelly’s thesis, inspired by his work with professors in the master’s program, focused on nuclear weapons, the Dark Web and tactics commonly used by terrorists.

Kelly credits his success to the flexibility of Mercyhurst’s programming, which allowed him to develop his niche thesis that caught the attention of the Fulbright scholarship committee.

The Fulbright program is a government sponsored international exchange program that connects students and young professionals from the United States to different nations around the globe.

The program provides individuals with grants to embark on individually designed research projects in their specific area of interest. Fulbright’s program allows grant recipients to interact with different cultures and host nations while gaining and sharing knowledge in their indicated area of study.

There are a multitude of different scholarships and awards within the program, and Kelly specifically received the Fulbright-Schuman Antall József Brussels Award.

To apply for the Fulbright Study/Research Awards, candidates must design a proposal for a specific country where they aspire to work and study.

Mercyhurst’s faculty representative for this process is Dr. Justin Ross, director of the university’s Honors Program. Kelly specifically thanked Ross for his mentorship throughout his application process.

In Brussels, Kelly will be exposed to the cultural aspects of the Fulbright program while continuing his work in applied intelligence.