UMass Amherst Ranked Third Nationally in Faculty Fulbrights

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AMHERST, Mass. – Seven University of Massachusetts Amherst faculty members were awarded Fulbright Fellowships for 2015-16, tying the school for third nationally in garnering the coveted academic exchange awards, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

UMass Amherst also ranks among the top-producing schools in the U.S. for Fulbright scholarships, with 12 awards to graduate students and undergraduates.

Through the program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, UMass Amherst faculty members Kathleen Arcaro, Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, Richard Chu, Harley Erdman, Karen Morrison, Richard Palmer and Lisa Wexler are pursuing research or teaching at institutions in the Philippines, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Turkey and Sri Lanka.

A professor in veterinary in animal sciences, Arcaro studies molecular toxicology. Next month, she will travel to Yeditepe University in Atasehir, Turkey, where she will research using breast milk to detect risk of breast cancer and new detection methods and therapies for breast cancer. She will spend four months in Turkey.

Bertone-Johnson returned last month from a six-month stay at the University of Eastern Finalnd in Kuopio, where she studied “Cardiovascular Disease in Finnish Women: The Intersection of Gynecologic Conditions and Vitamin D for Predicting Long-Term Cardiovascular Health.” Bertone-Johnson is an associate professor of biostatistics and epidemiology.

Chu, Five College associate professor in the UMass Amherst history department, is currently teaching and conducting research at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. His studies focus on the racialization of the Chinese in the Philippines, which will be the subject of his next book.

Theater professor Harley Erdman is lecturing at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka through June. He is teaching courses related to playwriting, one on adaptation and one on documentary theater.

Karen Y. “Kym” Morrison, assistant professor in Afro-American studies, spent six months last fall at the Fluminese Federal Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Morrison, who studies how the abolition of slavery affected family structures in Brazil, researched “how Brazilian family practices of racial mixing, group segregation and the self-affirmation of African-descended identities coexisted in constant, mostly peaceful, competition and gave rise to uniquely Brazilian notions of race.”

Richard Palmer, professor of civil and environmental engineering, is at the State University of Campinas in Brazil, where he is studying “Increasing Public Engagement in Water Supply Planning: Shared Vision Planning for Municipal Water.” He will be in Brazil until September.

Lisa Wexler, associate professor of community health studies, is at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she is working on a project titled “Intergenerational Dialogue Exchange and Action to Promote Indigenous Youth Health.” The project involves about 50 Native youth, adults and elders who will create a large clay mural, which will be the subject of a documentary film. She is also collecting data and doing advocacy work related to urban indigenous identity within Halifax.

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.