AMHERST, Mass. – For a third consecutive year, the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been named a “Top Producing Institution” for the Fulbright scholarship program, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. A record 16 students received the coveted scholarships to study, conduct research or teach English in other countries.
The group includes seven undergraduates, seven graduate students and two recent alumni. The scholarships are supporting their work in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. The campus this year sent its first Fulbright researchers to Kosovo and Romania, while another recipient is the university’s first English teaching assistant to go to Brazil. Other scholarship winners are spending the year in Russia, Germany, Morocco, China, France, South Korea, Norway, Spain and Finland.
Their research projects span a variety of topics from investigating the role of environmental exposures on cervical cancer in Romanian women to the population dynamics of two moth species in northern Scandinavian. Another scholar is studying drought management in Kosovo.
“We are very glad that our campus has made the top producing Fulbright student list for three years in a row, and four times in the past seven years,” says professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne, director of the UMass Office of National Scholarship Advisement. “These achievements reflect the terrific international work that our students are conducting, both in research and teaching, as well as the strong support provided by the campus in assisting these students.”
Whitbourne notes that 21 UMass Amherst students have been named as Fulbright semi-finalists for 2017-18 academic year. Notifications of each student’s finalist status will be made throughout the spring.
Along with student scholarship winners, four UMass Amherst faculty members were named Fulbright Scholars during 2016-17. Biology professor Benjamin Normark studied ancient native plants and an invasive insect species in Mexico last fall, while Aviva Ben-Ur, associate professor of Judaic and Near Eastern studies, is teaching and conducting research this semester at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Through his Fulbright, associate professor of geosciences Jonathan Woodruff worked with colleagues in Japan to reconstruct past extreme flooding by storms and tsunamis. Edie Meidav, assistant professor of English, studied creative writing and literature at the University of Cyprus.
Also, education professor Jay Carey was awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant to work with faculty at Christ University in Bangalore, India to develop the capacity of its counseling program.
The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by late Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in two-way exchanges across all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. Since its inception, over 300,000 U.S. and foreign scholars have participated in the program, teaching, studying and researching while at the same time engaging in activities aimed at increasing mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations.