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Ohio University has record-breaking year in number of Fulbright student award winners

ATHENS, Ohio (July 19, 2006) -- Thirteen Ohio University students and alumni received Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards in 2006, breaking the university record for awards in the national government-sponsored Fulbright scholarship competition. Last year, Ohio University led the state with nine student Fulbright awards.

"Having twelve students and one recent alumna earn 2006-07 Fulbright U.S. Student Awards is something about which people from Ohio University can rightly feel very proud. Representing five colleges and the Center for International Studies, they highlight the strength of Ohio University's academic programs across campus," said Elizabeth Clodfelter, director of U.S. Fulbright Programs and liaison for international partnerships. "The success of so many students in this prestigious national program is a tribute to the initiative and hard work of those outstanding individuals, as well as to the many faculty members who have advised, guided and taught them."

The award winners come from the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Communication, Fine Arts, Honors Tutorial College and Health and Human Services.

This year, students are traveling to nine different countries: Chile, Ecuador, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and the Philippines. Their awards vary from teaching assistantships to scientific research to art projects.

Three Fulbright winners are off to Indonesia for the 2006-07 academic year. Clarissa Kornell, a senior political science major from Akron, Ohio, and Layne Hanson, a senior international studies major from The Plains, Ohio, will both spend the year teaching English in Indonesia. Troy Johnson, a master's student in international development studies from Eldredge, Iowa, will travel to Indonesia to research nation-wide voter education projects initiated by Muslim organizations.

"This is the first time that Ohio University students have been selected for teaching assistantships to Indonesia," Clodfelter said. "Troy's award marks the fourth research award to Indonesia won by an Ohio University student. These awards highlight Ohio University's outstanding interdisciplinary courses in Southeast Asian studies."

Two undergraduates, Julie DePaulo and Alyssa Malchi, will also travel to Asia for their Fulbright awards. DePaulo, a senior world religions major from Wooster, Ohio, will spend the 2006-07 year studying the spirituality of young adults in a small area of Japan. Malchi, a senior hearing, speech and language sciences major from Rockaway, N.J., will teach English in South Korea. 

"Being able to participate in another culture through the Fulbright program is an opportunity I had only dreamed possible," Malchi said. "This is sure to be a rewarding experience which will influence the rest of my life."

Three students have received Fulbright awards to Germany: Eileen Kelbach, Meghan Schuck and Genevieve Waller. 

"Having three Ohio University students selected for Fulbright awards to Germany is unprecedented, and this is the fourth year in a row in which at least one Ohio University student has been offered an award to that country," Clodfelter said. "Their success is a tribute to Ohio University's German professors, as well as to faculty members in the variety of academic programs that they represent."

Both Kelbach, a senior German major from Cleveland, Ohio, and Schuck, a senior German, political science and magazine journalism major from Brookville, Ohio, will spend next year teaching English in German schools. Waller, a master's student in art history and photography from Wichita, Kan., will spend the 2006-07 year in Berlin studying the history and theory of the photogram (a camera-less photograph) process. 

Ohio University students Phillip Allman and Melanie Schori have won awards in the natural sciences. Allman, a doctoral candidate in biological sciences from Albany, N.Y., will spend the 2006-07 year launching a community-based sea turtle conservation project in Ada, Ghana. 

"I am very honored to be selected for a Fulbright award," Allman said. "I am grateful for the opportunity to enrich the educational, economic and social lives of the community of Ada. I will take advantage of this award by helping the people of Ghana in every way I can."

Schori, a doctoral student in environmental and plant biology from Athens, Ohio, will study a genus of forest trees in the Philippines. Her field work will increase scientific understanding of the genus, its ecology, distribution, abundance and relationships with other species.

Another student and an alumna have won Fulbright awards to Latin America. Tod Imperato, a master's student in Latin American studies from Madison, Wis., will travel to Chile to serve as an English teaching assistant. Carly Witmer of Troy, Ohio, who graduated in November with a bachelor's degree in fine arts, will spend the 2006-07 year in Quito, Ecuador, studying the indigenous art movement Indigenismo and creating paintings influenced by that movement.

"The Fulbright fine arts competitions are fiercely competitive, and Ecuador awards very few grants in those categories," Clodfelter said. "Carly Witmer's painting award is a rare honor."

Honors Tutorial College philosophy major Warner Asch, from Cincinnati, Ohio, is the first Ohio University student to be offered a Fulbright award to India and the first Ohio University student chosen to participate in the new Language Training Initiative, which supports the study of languages that are not widely taught in the United States, but which are deemed important for national security. Warner will spend three months in an intensive Hindi program to improve his intermediate skills before beginning his research project on the contemporary followers of the medieval poet Kabir. 

The Fulbright program was established by the U.S. Congress in 1946 to "enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries." It is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars and professionals to undertake research, international graduate study and teaching in universities and in elementary and secondary schools worldwide.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu, or Director of U.S. Fulbright Programs and Liaison for International Partnerships Elizabeth Clodfelter, (740) 593-2302 or clodfele@ohio.edu

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