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Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014

Mostly Cloudy, 63 °F

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Megan Westervelt

Megan Westervelt

Photographer: Robert Hardin

Don Sim

Don Sim

Photographer: Jonathan Adams

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Two OHIO graduate students receive Fulbright awards


Two graduate students of Ohio University were recipients of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards and will be working on research projects overseas.

Megan Westervelt will be at the Yasuni National Park in Ecuador, working on a research project that revolves around efforts to preserve the environment in an area facing oil development and will be using the camera as her tool. Don Sim will be in South Korea, researching health literacy and physician-patient communication.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for students who design their own research projects to study overseas for up to one academic year. The program also helps facilitate cultural exchange through direct interaction with the community in the students’ professional and personal experiences.

Elizabeth Clodfelter, the director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, advised both students during the application process.

Westervelt applied to the photography competition, which is perhaps one of the toughest in the Fulbright program, Clodfelter said. She will also be teaching photography classes to locals in Ecuador.

Sim worked hard to learn Korean, which is not taught at Ohio University, and strengthened his application, Clodfelter said. While in Daegu, South Korea, he will also be volunteering at a local orphanage.

Sim not only applied for the Fulbright award because of the opportunity to gain research experience in the public health field but also to return to his roots, he said.

“I’m also Korean, and so going back to South Korea and being exposed to the Korean culture will be an enriching experience for me,” Sim said.

Sim is an aspiring physician and believes his research dealing with how effective physicians are at communicating to patients about how to treat and manage their own health problems is relevant in helping him view medicine with a more holistic approach, he said.

“Professionally, I’d like to serve those that have difficulty accessing healthcare, particularly the immigrant population,” Sim said. “Being exposed to different cultures will help me to become more culturally competent and understand people from a different perspective, which leads to mutual respect and better results in the healthcare setting.”