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Ohio University has highest percentage of Fulbright Award winners

Nov. 1, 2004

By Marisa Long

Ohio University continues to excel in the area of nationally competitive awards. Ohio University has the highest percentage of Fulbright U.S. Student Program applicants to win awards for the 2004-05 academic year among the leading Fulbright-producing research universities, according to the Institute of International Education. The University had nine awardees out of 21 applicants, or 43 percent.

Fulbrighter Jim Peterson in Germany.The University currently ranks among the top research universities in the nation for student Fulbright award recipients. On the list, which includes Yale, Harvard, Stanford and Princeton universities, Ohio University's nine awards put it in a six-way tie for 21st overall with Arizona State University, Cornell University, Indiana University, Arizona and Virginia.

"For Ohio University to be in this group is, first of all, a great honor for the University. Secondly, it reflects the institutional strengths our University has in the field of international studies," says Josep Rota, associate provost for International Programs and director of the Center for International Studies.

Rota says the Fulbright is one of the best known and most prestigious awards available to students. He gives two reasons on why he believes Ohio University has such a high percentage of Fulbright students selected.

"First, we are most likely more selective in choosing the students who we encourage to stay in the process and fill out an application than most universities, leading to a smaller number of student applicants," he says. "Also, we already have outstanding students, and we heavily invest in advising and helping them with the intensive application process, and I think we offer more advising to our students than other institutions."

Approximately 5,720 American students applied for a Fulbright award this past year and 1,106 students, or 19 percent of the applicants, in 104 different fields of study were offered grants to study, teach English, conduct research and pursue the creative and performing arts in more than 110 countries throughout the world.

Arriving in Hannover, Germany, in September, Fulbright recipient Jim Peterson, BA '04, BSED '04, says he hopes to learn a great deal throughout his yearlong journey and has already improved his German fluency and made many friends.

"I've learned about many different cultures in Europe, but I've also learned a lot about my own culture through interactions with various Europeans," Peterson says. "I am learning to think more globally. By the end of my time abroad, I'll have a better understanding of life in Europe, but I can't even foresee all the innumerable benefits that will arise in the coming year."

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, which was created by the U.S. Congress in 1946 to promote mutual understanding between nations, equips future American leaders with the skills they need to thrive in an increasingly global environment by providing funding for one academic year of study or research abroad, to be conducted after graduation from an accredited university.

Currently, 22 Ohio University students have applied to 19 countries through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for 2005-06.

"[Ohio University] has put more emphasis on the Fulbright recently," Rota says. "If we just simply advertised the program without providing students the support and advising they needed, then the number of award winners would be very small. We invest in the process of recruiting, advising and helping students, and we see results."

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Financial support is provided by an annual appropriation from Congress to the Department of State, with significant contributions from participating governments and host institutions in the United States and abroad. The presidentially appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board formulates policy guidelines and makes the final selection of all grantees. The Institute of International Education administers and coordinates the activities relevant to the U.S. Student Program, including an annual competition for the scholarships.

The 2004-05 Fulbright U.S. Student Program recipients are:

  • Diane Cahill, BBA '04, received a Fulbright Award to study the financial and social impacts of welfare-to-work programs on single-parent families in Canada. She is working with Canada's leading expert on such programs at Guelph University as well as with a social service agency near Toronto.

  • Andrew Carlson, a master's student in international development studies, is observing, interviewing and participating in education with Muslim parents and children in Durban, South Africa. He is studying the continuity of educational experience between parents and children and how this education relates to preservation of cultural and value systems. South Africa is a very popular destination for Fulbright applicants. Out of 109 applicants, Carlson was one of the few chosen for the South African program.

  • Hilary Jones, a graduate of the master's program in Latin American Studies, is studying how agricultural cooperatives in Uruguay and Brazil are responding to the market conditions created by MERCOSUR. She will interview cooperative farmers and, through contacts at universities and national cooperative organizations in both countries, she will analyze quantitative data on market liberalization. Jones is the only Fulbright recipient to be accepted into the programs of two different countries.

  • Sou LackkatySou Lackkaty, MA '04, will teach English at a Chilean university and serve as a guest lecturer in American Studies courses. She also plans to take Spanish classes and do independent research on the Asian communities of Chile.

  • Based in Shanghai, Ariana Lindquist, a master's candidate in visual communication, will explore definitions of success in China through a photography project. Using her proficiency in Chinese as well as her photographic skills, she will create photo stories of Chinese citizens in a variety of occupations.

  • Brett Noel, AB '88, MED '95, and a doctoral student in teacher education, is studying the implementation of Conflict Resolution Education (CRE) by teacher education professors in Indonesia. This project will build upon CRE workshops that Brett and Ohio University faculty members have provided to Indonesian teachers.

  • James Peterson, BA '04, BSED '04, hopes to become a German teacher. He is currently teaching English conversation classes in a German secondary school while improving his study of the German language. He also plans to study German hip-hop music and take a class at a university.

  • Meghan Roof, BA '02, MA '04, is teaching English in a Spanish high school. In conjunction, she will create a video of interviews that she conducts with a diverse group of Spaniards. She plans to make this video available for use in Spanish language classrooms in the United States.

  • Uma Sanghvi, a master's candidate in photo journalism, is producing a photography project that will explore rites of passage within the highly diverse culture of Mauritius, an island nation off of the east coast of Africa. She will combine a photo-essay with recorded interviews.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program at Ohio University is coordinated by the Center for International Studies. To find out more about the opportunities available through the U.S. Student Fulbright Program please visit www.ohiou.edu/internationalstudies/fulbright.htm or contact Ohio University's Fulbright Program Coordinator Beth Clodfelter at 593-2302 or clodfele@ohio.edu.

Marisa Long is a writer for University Communications and Marketing.

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