AMHERST, Mass. – For the second consecutive year, the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been selected as a “Top Producing Institution” for the Fulbright scholarship program, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Six UMass Amherst graduate students and six undergraduates are currently overseas conducting research or teaching English.
Three UMass Amherst students are pursuing groundbreaking scientific research with world-class research institutions in Germany and Italy, focusing on different aspects of enhanced cancer treatments and gravitational signals from space. Others are tackling issues such as eco-sanitation in Mexico, civil society and disaster response in Oman, the post-apartheid generation in South Africa, and the nature of stigma in mental illness in Hong Kong. Five students who demonstrated superior language skills are teaching English across the education spectrum from primary schools to university classrooms on three different continents.
“We applaud the achievements of these students. Through this recognition, once again, our university has demonstrated the depth and range of accomplishment across this campus, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels,” says Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy. “This is a highly competitive program that seeks out not only academic merit, but service and commitment to broader societal goals.”
John McCarthy, dean of the Graduate School at UMass Amherst, notes that six of 12 graduate students who applied went on to win the scholarship. “The quality of research across the disciplines is reflected in the recognition that these students have earned. What stands out is the nature of their contribution, not only to their respective fields, but to the people with whom they will engage, their counterparts in the labs and classrooms and their neighbors and friends across the communities where they will live and work. The university stands to gain from this interaction and collaboration when these students return to the campus to complete their graduate studies and take a leadership role in their fields.”
The director of the Office of National Scholarship Advisement, Susan Krauss Whitbourne, says, “I am continually amazed at the skills, experiences and talent that these students bring to their applications. It truly is inspiring to work with people we know will be the leaders in their fields.” She points out as well the importance of the active involvement of university faculty in encouraging their students, but also mentoring and advising them throughout the process. “It is wonderful to have the support of a faculty that is international in their outlook and research collaboration. They have been instrumental in the success of our students in the Fulbright 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.
Fulbright Student Awardees - Graduate students
Paul Adolphson, theater, South Africa
Catherine Bryers, regional planning, Mexico
Coralie Backlund, bioengineering, Denmark
Daniel Hoak, physics, Italy
Katrina Rieger, engineering, Germany
Tyler Schuenemann, political science, Oman
Fulbright Student Awardees - Undergraduates
Lucille Boco, English teaching assistantship, Taiwan
Francis Burns, English teaching assistantship, Mexico
Lee Drewitz, English teaching assistantship, Germany
Nicholas Fernald, English teaching assistantship, Colombia
Lana Kim, English teaching assistantship, Taiwan
Elizabeth McKibben, psychology, Hong Kong