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The U.S. Department of State has selected the following six Fulbright Foreign Students to participate in the fourth Millennial Trains Project (MTP) installment across the United States as a special enrichment component of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. This year the six Fulbrighters will be split between two MTP journeys, Change and Unity, joining 44 American Millennial riders who will traverse the country gaining a deeper understanding of life in the United States and social entrepreneurship. The special enrichment activity will give participants an opportunity to explore a research topic of their choice in-depth, and strengthen their leadership and communication skills.
Throughout the two journeys, participants will be sharing their experiences through social media using #MTPtrain and #Fulbright and here on this blog. Follow along in real time!
CHANGE // AUGUST 1 – 7
PITTSBURGH >> CHICAGO >> KANSAS CITY >> ALBUQUERQUE >> LOS ANGELES
DESIRÉE BARAO GARCIA
Germany // Enhancing Small Businesses’ Performances
Desirée received her bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering at the Technical University of Dortmund in Germany and is now completing a master’s of science in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at Columbia University in New York as a Fulbright Student. Her previous work experience includes various industries (automobile, logistics, consulting, steel, fashion, etc.) and companies of different sizes (from 3 to 35K+). She is currently the president of GradSWE and a Global Guide for One-to-World’s Global Classroom Project.
Desirée’s project will research problems and challenges facing small businesses and find national and international similarities so that they can immediately learn from one another, from both others’ mistakes and successes, and adapt their practices. To do this, she will meet with small business owners to find out how they are performing, what challenges they face, and conduct research on what those businesses can do to perform better and stay in business long-term.
By Daniel Hoak, 2015-2016, Italy
Last month, scientists in the LIGO and Virgo scientific collaborations announced the second direct detection of gravitational waves, from the orbit and merger of a pair of black holes. The event, named GW151226, arrived in the early morning on the day after Christmas, and has been nicknamed the “Boxing Day event” by the collaborations. With a second event in hand, gravitational wave science has moved beyond the era of sensational first detection, and is evolving into a reliable tool for astronomy and physics.
I recently finished my Fulbright year working at the Virgo gravitational wave observatory outside of Pisa, Italy. The last time Virgo listened for gravitational wave was in 2011, and since then, the instrument has been off-line for a complete upgrade.
At Virgo, I’m part of the team of scientists who are putting the final touches on the upgrade. To borrow a phrase from James Merrill, our job is to make wholeness out of hodgepodge: we’re creating a functional detector from the precision equipment that has been designed and built over the last five years. We plan to have the detector on-line this winter, in time to join the two LIGO observatories in the United States as they listen for gravitational waves.
By Davíd Morales, 2013-2014, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Ecuador
I was desperately trying to hold on to a dream when I decided to apply to the Fulbright Program. In high school, I became madly in love with my Mexican and Latin American heritage; I longed to live in Latin America, to travel through the different regions, to experience different cultures, and to hear people’s stories and struggles in order to better understand myself and better understand and help my own diverse migrant community in San Diego. In 2013, after being the first person in my family to graduate from a university, I was given an opportunity to fulfill this dream.
I was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student grant to serve as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Ecuador. For ten months, I lived in Guayaquil, the country’s largest city, and worked with university students at Universidad Laica Vicente Rocafuerte who were studying to become English teachers. I facilitated English classes, workshops, and seminars on topics such as U.S. history, culture, and academic writing, and my experiences as a person of color allowed me to combat stereotypes that students had about “Americans” and life in the United States. Fulbright was also an opportunity to gain practice as an educator. As an ETA, I gained valuable skills by working with university students and developing culturally appropriate activities. My experiences reinforced my belief in education as a powerful tool for promoting mutual understanding and social change.
By Emily Yedinak, 2013-2014, Chile
If you were anything like me, you may have heard that a Fulbright grant is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but that the application process is rigorous and very competitive. Perhaps you are filled with a lot of questions. You may even, like me, be filled with self-doubt. And for that reason, I want to share a small piece of my story.
Fulbright changed my life and I mean it changed my life in a colossal, momentous, and fantastic way. I didn’t know that when I stepped off the plane in Santiago, Chile, I was embarking on the biggest adventure of my life. I had read books about Chilean culture and history in preparation for my departure, but no book would have told me the depth of kindness I found in my peers as I slowly crawled, stumbled, and fell head-first into my Chilean life. I also would have never realized how difficult it was going to be adjusting to an entirely different world. But the incredible thing that I discovered was there were always people willing to help and guide me. The Chileans I met not only accepted me, but treated me like family – whether it was taking care of me when I was sick, helping me grocery shop and cook dinner after I had dislocated my shoulder, or lending me money when my wallet was stolen. The connections I made transcended cultural boundaries.
This award is sponsored by Western Sydney University (WSU) and will enable exceptional students from the United States to undertake research of importance to the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Australia.
To learn more about this grant and other Fulbright U.S. Student grant opportunities to Australia, please visit the Australia country summary.