Yale placed second among U.S. research institutions in the number of Fulbright Scholarships awarded by the State Department this year, according to a report released today by the Institute of International Education.

Starting this month, 28 Yalies — including 20 members of the class of 2007 — are traveling to more than 15 countries around the world to study, research and teach abroad, International Education and Fellowships Program administrators said Monday.

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor produced the most Fulbright winners — 37 — while the other Ivies each received fewer than 26.

The report, which lists Yale as having 27 winners, does not take into account a scholarship announced last week, IEFP Fellowships Program Director Linda De Laurentis said.

Yale’s numbers are especially impressive given that Michigan has 25,555 undergraduates alone, compared to 5,300 students in Yale College, De Laurentis said.

Last fall, 109 Yale undergraduates and graduate students applied for a Fulbright award.

The Fulbright, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is the largest U.S. international exchange program, sending thousands of students and professionals to more than 125 countries each year.

De Laurentis said she attributes Yale’s success with the Fulbright program over the years to a combination of the University’s international focus and the growing reputation of the program among Yalies.

“The more success we have, the more well-known the program is on campus,” De Laurentis said. “Students become aware of the opportunities, then they apply.”

In 2006, Yale’s 31 winners made the school the top Fulbright recipient in the country, ahead of Harvard and Brown universities.

This year’s winners said their experiences have been positive so far. Samantha Do ’07, who is researching memory consolidation in experiments with rats at the Hopital Salpetriere in Paris, said the Fulbright award has allowed her to pursue science in a different cultural setting.

“Speaking science in French gives me a frisson of pleasure,” Do said in an e-mail from Paris. “I am thrilled by the light radiating from the opulent architecture each evening as I walk home from lab along the Seine.”

Melissa Doerken ’07, who is teaching English in Prato, Italy, said the opportunities offered by the Fulbright awards are well suited to Yalies’ unique desire to immerse themselves in other cultures.

“I think our enthusiasm to explore and challenge ourselves appeals the most to fellowship committees,” she said.

By the Oct. 8 deadline, 52 Yale undergraduates had applied for the 2007-2008 Fulbright grant.

Brown had the third largest number of Fulbright awards this year, with 25. Harvard, which won 21 awards, tied with Cornell University for sixth place.

-Caitlin Roman