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Three Ohio University students win Fulbright awards to Asia

ATHENS, Ohio (May 5, 2006) -- Ohio University students Julie DePaulo, Troy Johnson and Alyssa Malchi have won Fulbright awards to Asia. DePaulo, a senior world religions major, will spend the 2006-07 year studying the spirituality of young adults in a small area of Japan. Johnson, a master's student in international development studies, will travel to Indonesia to research nation-wide voter education projects initiated by Muslim organizations. Malchi, a senior hearing, speech and language science major, will teach English on a Fulbright teaching assistantship in South Korea.

"Julie DePaulo, Troy Johnson and Alyssa Malchi are excellent students who prepared outstanding Fulbright applications," said Beth Clodfelter, Ohio University's Fulbright Program adviser. "Julie is the first Ohio University student to receive an offer of a Fulbright to Japan in nine years. Alyssa is the first student from the College of Health and Human Services to be offered a Fulbright U.S. Student Award. Troy's award is the fourth research award to Indonesia offered won by an Ohio University student in as many years. These awards highlight Ohio University's outstanding interdisciplinary courses in Southeast Asian and East Asian studies."

In Japan, DePaulo will visit temples and shrines, participate in festivals and community events and conduct interviews to study how a group of Japanese people defines itself spiritually. She will graduate in June with a minor in Japanese and a certificate in East Asian studies. She has studied Japanese for fours years and Chinese for several years. At Ohio University, DePaulo was an English conversation partner and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key International Honor Society.

"I was delighted to learn of Julie DePaulo's Fulbright award," said Gene Blocker, professor of classics and world religions. "She certainly deserves it. She is not only a brilliant young scholar of Japanese Buddhism, but her Fulbright proposal was excellent in its focus on the complex question of the role of Buddhism in contemporary Japanese culture. I'm looking forward to the fruits of her research."

After her Fulbright year she plans to pursue a doctorate in Japanese religious studies and hopes to teach Buddhism, the religions of Japan and the Japanese language at the college level.

"I'm thrilled to be given the chance to go to Japan to study and research," DePaulo said. "Because of my desire to become a professor, I believe the first-person, direct knowledge of living in Japan and seeing and experiencing the Japanese culture and religion will be the greatest teaching tool I can ever have."

In Indonesia, Troy Johnson will examine the Voter Education Network of the People voter education programs for the 2006-07 gubernatorial and local elections. He will research and assess the programs, how they communicate voters' needs to candidates and how effectively they reach marginalized groups. Johnson, who earned his bachelor's degree in education at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, has studied the Indonesian language at Ohio University and in Indonesia through an intensive summer program. He also interned for the Wahid Institute in Jakarta and served on a delegation to Indonesia as part of Ohio University's Inter-religious Dialogue Project. Before coming to Ohio University, Johnson worked in youth development as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kazakhstan and served as a guest teacher in the Davenport, Iowa Community Schools.

"Because Troy developed his research proposal in collaboration with Indonesian colleagues, his research will have special value," said Elizabeth Collins, associate professor of classics and world religions and former director of the Southeast Asian Studies Program. "He is addressing a need identified by organizations involved in voter education, and his research will contribute in a significant way to making Indonesia a more democratic country."

After completing his Fulbright year, Johnson hopes to work in Asia with a foundation or non-government organization and pursue a Ph.D. in political science.

"This Fulbright is special to me because the idea for the project came from Indonesian scholars and activists who have been investing their time and effort into these activities," Johnson said. "It is their project; I simply hope to tell their story and help them achieve their goals."

Malchi, who will graduate in June with a minor in psychology and a certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), will research nonverbal cues and how they aid language acquisition in addition to teaching English in South Korea. As a high school student, Malchi traveled to Israel, and during college she participated in Semester at Sea. At Ohio University she has served as a student senator and president of the Student Advisory Council in the College of Health and Human Services. She is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi and the National Student Speech, Language and Hearing Association.

"Being able to participate in another culture through the Fulbright Scholar 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."

After returning to the United States, Malchi plans to pursue a graduate degree and work as a speech therapist.

"Alyssa Malchi has an exceptional aptitude toward scholarly thought," said Sally Marinellie, assistant professor of hearing, speech and language sciences. "She is a bright young woman who can adapt easily to new situations and learn independently through critical thinking and evaluation."

Fifteen Ohio University students were recommended to the final round of competition in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program this year. This sets an Ohio University record for the highest number of recommended students for this prestigious national competition. So far this year, eight students have been offered Fulbright awards. The other seven candidates will each find out sometime between April and June whether they will receive a Fulbright award. Last year nine Ohio University students won Fulbright awards.

Outstanding students who are U.S. citizens are invited to learn about the opportunities that the prestigious Fulbright program offers in over 100 countries. Funded projects may include coursework at an international university, independent field or library research, classes in a music conservatory or art school, special projects in the social or life sciences or a combination. A few countries allow awardees to teach English as a second language. Students who will be seniors, masters or doctoral candidates in fall 2006 could be eligible to apply.

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Media Contact: Assistant Director of the Center for International Studies Elizabeth Clodfelter, (740) 593-2302 or clodfele@ohio.edu, or Assistant Director of Communication and Graduate Programming Jennifer Cochran, (740) 593-1842 or cochraj1@ohio.edu

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