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 »
By Michael Nevradakis, 2012-2013, Greece
When I first found out that I would be spending nine months in Greece performing research for my doctoral dissertation as a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grantee, there were some who thought that I was not making a wise decision. “Why would you want to go to Greece now?” they would ask. “Haven’t you seen the riots and unrest in the country?” Beset by a severe economic crisis that has generated international headlines, Greece is a country that is experiencing historic and turbulent changes. It is precisely for this reason, though, that I decided to go to Greece to perform research.
Being of Greek descent, this was not my first visit to Greece. It was, however, the first time that I would spend an extended period of time in the country. Interestingly enough, a number of people that I met while there expressed the same proclamations of surprise that I had chosen to come to Greece at such a difficult time as I had heard back in the United States. “Why did you come here when you could have stayed in the United States?” I would be asked, or “Why would you want to come to Greece when most young people in Greece want to immigrate?” Far from being dissuaded, I became ever more enthusiastic about my research.
By Brendan Cleary, 2013-2014, Ireland
I commenced my doctoral research in October 2011 focusing on the economics of wind power and large scale energy storage at Dublin Energy Lab, Dublin Institute of Technology, in Ireland. In July 2013, following a rigorous application and interview process, I was thrilled to be awarded the prestigious Fulbright-Enterprise Ireland Student Award. The award allows me to spend six months in New York (aka, the Big Apple) collaborating with the Center for Life Cycle Analysis (CLCA) at Columbia University. Initially, I formed a relationship with the CLCA back in February 2013. My Fulbright grant allows me to strengthen this relationship and to refine my research methodology with influential experts in energy related fields.
By Julie Charbonnier, 2012-2013, Spain
Carmen Diaz Paniagua “Poli” knows this place like the back of her hand. “You’ll make a right at the tree with a stork nest, and then turn left when you see the road split into three,” she explains nonchalantly as I follow her through the terrain. All I see are miles of sands and a few scattered bushes, with no discernible landmarks. My Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant in Ecology on the consequences of global change on amphibian dynamics brought me to Doñana National Park, one of the world’s most renowned systems of wetlands tucked away in Southern Spain (Andalucía), two hours southwest of Sevilla.
A few days later, clearly lost as we attempt to follow Poli’s instructions, my labmates Rosa and Maria, and I bop around the dunes in a car. Rosa stopping and twisting the timeworn map sideways says “No! No me lo puedo creer (I can’t believe this),” as she makes a sharp U-turn, the car nearly tipping over. Maria smiles, saying, “todos los problemas tienen soluciones (all problems have solutions).” She’s still chipper despite our long detour in the desert. We finally find the pond, and it’s buzzing with insects and tadpoles. The species found in Doñana have evolved to withstand the heat and scarce rainfall. Doñana is incredibly unique: it’s a rest stop for half a million migratory birds, the last natural habitat of the elusive and endangered Iberian lynx, and home to eleven species of amphibians, the highest in all of Europe. It’s just one of the reasons I chose this spectacular location to conduct my Fulbright in collaboration with Dr. Ivan Gomez Mestre.
Tam Nguyen, 2013-2015, Vietnam
Over the past six months of my Fulbright journey, I have had wonderful opportunities to become a part of the Penn State Harrisburg (PSH) community and participate in Central Pennsylvania’s LGBT networks.
As a gay man born in Vietnam, educated in Singapore, with experience working for Eastern and Western organizations, I came to the United States with a multifaceted cultural heritage and identity. Initially, I worried if my complex identity would make it difficult for me to be a cultural ambassador. But PSH and my department, Community Psychology and Social Change, have welcomed me and appreciated every facet of my social character and skills, and have helped me to feel at home within a short period of time. Classroom conversations so far have been very engaging and a great opportunity for me to learn about American social issues while sharing my international perspectives. I have really enjoyed the diversity of backgrounds, and experiences that I have encountered, and the intellectually intriguing questions raised by my fellow students and professors. I have already grown tremendously from such exchanges.
Through PSH and my program, which is home to many passionate social change activists, I have connected with various networks such as the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, the LGBT Center of Central Pennsylvania, and Penn State’s Diversity committee. Through these networks, I have been able to exchange ideas with like-minded people and also pursue possibilities to make PSH a better place for anyone who is LGBT.