In a local farmers market, colorful t-shirts hang from hooks proudly proclaiming, in the words of William Faulkner, “To understand the world, you have to understand a place like Mississippi.” As a More »
My journey to New York University (NYU) to pursue graduate training in dance education started when I was still young. My artistic creativity, performance dexterity and exposure to dance artistry were nurtured More »
As a physicist, I study cosmic rays—high-energy particles that zip around the universe. If scientists are lucky, these cosmic rays land on detectors set up on the ground. For my Fulbright grant, More »
Kaitlen Howell, 2010-2011, Germany
During my time as a Fulbright U.S. Student, I worked on research teams at the internationally-recognized Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and at an inpatient neurological rehabilitation facility in a small village (Therapie-Zentrum-Burgau). My study tracked the outcome of patients who had come to neurological rehabilitation in a coma or another decreased state of consciousness to see if they recovered consciousness or function. My primary study group was patients who had received CPR and not regained consciousness afterwards. This work challenged the current belief that the negative result of one certain brainwave test called SEP could always predict that a patient would never improve. Our study succeeded in showing that patients could regain consciousness and function despite this negative test result. These results later led me to present my research at an International Epidemiological Association Conference in Portugal.
My life in Germany consisted of much more than my research. Living in Germany was a lot different than I imagined. Despite my degree in German, I often found it difficult to express myself. I stumbled over words and felt unable to convey my sense of humor across the language barrier. I did, however, make others laugh. One time, I even unknowingly changed one tiny word in a common sentence: instead of saying I needed to use the restroom, I said I needed to crawl into the commode!
By Jet M. J. Vonk, 2013-2014, The Netherlands
When doing your Ph.D. on a Fulbright grant in New York, prepare for busy times. But, in a way, you probably wouldn’t want it any other way. I am busy with seminars, starting new projects and writing papers on ongoing projects so I can submit them for publication, among other things. And, I am busy meeting rock stars. Well, the scientific versions of them. In other words: my kind of heroes and celebrities.
The scientific community is a different world with its own idols. What are the similarities between scientific rock stars and traditional celebrities? Movie stars and musicians appear in magazines and tabloids researchers do, too, but those are called ‘scientific journals.’ People travel to meet and greet movie stars and musicians—researchers do, too, but those are called ‘conferences.’ And if you want to become someone important, you follow the example of your idol. It is not for nothing that I moved to New York on a Fulbright grant to work with Dr. Loraine Obler. She has been the hero of neurolinguistic research on language and the aging brain for decades. Yes, I am doing my Ph.D. with the scientific version of Madonna.
In a similar vein, scientific conferences are sort of comparable to the Oscars and Grammys. A few big shots are invited to perform as the main acts (read: give a spiel about their research). The rest of the program includes oral or poster presentations, and everybody brings each other up to speed about the latest ins and outs in research land. The venue is filled with major names that jovially greet each other. Every now and then, the minor names, like me, nudge each other while saying, “Look, there goes so-and-so. And hey, there’s that-one-guy.”
By Ernest Chivero, 2010-2013, International Fulbright Science &Technology Fellow from Zimbabwe
I came to the United States on an International Fulbright Science & Technology Award to pursue a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Iowa (Iowa) in 2010. Following a welcome reception hosted by the Iowa Chapter of the Fulbright Association and the University of Iowa International Programs office, an Iowan said, “Welcome to Iowa, we have both culture and agriculture!” My time as a Fulbrighter has indeed been a great cultural and academic experience – including getting to know the famous Iowa cornfields!
My academic experience at Iowa has been exceedingly fruitful and exciting. I have been studying how viruses interact with the immune system at the molecular level, and how findings can be translated into new, improved immune-based therapies. I have always wondered what happens when two pathogens infect the same host at the same time. I imagine it’s a fierce territorial battle! Our body is one such host in cases of HIV, GB virus C, Hepatitis C virus, or Tuberculosis co-infections. Dr. Jack Stapleton’s laboratory at Iowa has given me an opportunity to study why HIV-infected people co-infected with GB virus C survive longer than people who are only HIV-infected. To better understand GBV-C’s protective effects in HIV-infected people, I characterize immune cells targeted by GBV-C for infection and how their activation pathways and functions are affected. Our lab and others have shown that GBV-C infection reduces the activation of immune cells and I believe that understanding the mechanisms of GBV-C modulation of immune cell activation may lead to novel ways to treat HIV-induced immune activation and inflammation.