Category Archives: Foreign Fulbright

Fun with Microscopic Living Creatures on Fulbright

By Seanghuoy Ho, 2012-2014, Cambodia

Seanghuoy Ho

Seanghuoy Ho, 2012-2014, Cambodia examining antibacterial compounds’ efficacy against the bacterial community known as “biofilm” in the laboratory at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

When I was a little girl, I once watched a science program on TV in which I saw people wearing long white coats and goggles, holding long, round tubes. The tubes contained cloudy solutions and the people were viewing these solutions under machines called microscopes. I learned from that TV show that those solutions contained bacteria and that they were living creatures. Bacteria come in different shapes and colors, and need food, oxygen and specific temperatures in order to survive. As a kid, I was excited to learn more about these tiny creatures, even though at that time, I had no clue as to why people would want to study them. I dreamed about becoming a scientist one day and conducting research on these wonderful, tiny living things.

Now, thanks to a Fulbright Foreign Student grant, I am a master’s degree student in microbiology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Since my childhood, I’ve learned a great deal about microbes, specifically bacteria. I realize that I mostly saw bacteria on TV when they caused an outbreak. The majority of bacteria, however, are harmless and even beneficial to human beings. Antibiotics, chemical compounds produced by particular bacteria and used to treat many diseases, are one typical example of their benefits.

My First Hackathon: Gaining Knowledge and Connections While Having Fun

By Susana Lau, 2013-2015, Panama

Susana - 1

Susana Lau, 2013-2015, Panama, at Carnegie Mellon University’s Silicon Valley Campus

In honor of International Education Week, today’s post illustrates Thursday’s theme of Entrepreneurship, and how international education prepares students for a strong, globalized 21st century workforce.

Read how Panamanian Fulbrighter and information technology student Susana Lau participated in her first hackathon this past October – a unique opportunity that enhanced her skills and widened her professional network.

From the moment I arrived in the United States from Panama to begin my graduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), I knew my life would change. Being exposed to the professional, technological, and educational environment at CMU, as well as all of the opportunities available to help me pursue my goals, have transformed how I perceive my personal and professional growth.

I feel so fortunate to be a Fulbright Foreign Student pursuing CMU’s bi-coastal Master’s in Information Technology, where I spent my first year in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This year, my second year, has been spent in Silicon Valley, where I’ve been exposed to the area’s characteristic spirit of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology. The extracurricular activities offered here are incredible: networking, technical conferences, and hackathons. I encourage other students to take advantage of these types opportunities.

Action Inspired by America’s Natural and Community Beauty

Fulbright-MTP Participant Ammar Mohammed reflects on the cross-country U.S. journey

Fulbright-MTP participant Ammar Mohammed, a Fulbright student from Yemen, reflects on the overall feel of the MTP cross-country U.S. journey — highlighting Fulbright connections in Minnesota, and inspirational communities in Portland and Milwaukee.

In the words of Ammar Mohammed, a Fulbright student from Yemen:

I found it really hard to write the last blog for my MTP experience as many memories and thoughts are pushing back and forth wanting to be penned. I have been reflecting on my voyage and sometimes I question if it really happened. It has been a once in a lifetime experience to the outer and inner worlds, as Millennial Trains Project (MTP) offered a 10-day journey of professional and interpersonal growth. It is a learning class on rails!

Fulbrigh Student from Yemen, Ammar Mohammed, left, with other Millennial Train Project participants at the Statue of Liberty in New York City, at the conclusion of their journey. August 2014.

Fulbrigh Student from Yemen, Ammar Mohammed, left, with other Millennial Train Project participants at the Statue of Liberty in New York City, at the conclusion of their journey. August 2014.

In Portland, we met with decision-makers, including the first lady of Portland, and entrepreneurs who shared their inspiring stories with us. I interviewed an African American pioneer in entrepreneurship who gave me a great perspective on social integration through entrepreneurship. Dwayne Johnson, Founder and Executive Director of Center for Inclusive Innovation, explained some of the challenges that African American entrepreneurs face and lessons that can be replicated in the ‘marginalized’ African Yemeni context.Prior to hitting the rails to Seattle, I visited On-The-Move Community Integration. I was stunned by the great effort the volunteers and participants are doing to integrate into the society. This organization, which works with developmentally and intellectually disabled, has taken integration one step further. Instead of inviting the community to the organization, they go out to meet with the community and participate in outdoor activities.

In Seattle, another chapter of beauty and learning was unlocked. We began the morning at WeWork with mentors from Amazon Web Services and Citizen University. One of the best take-aways from Mr. Eric Liu of Citizen University is that “Rigid individualism never builds a community.” This really resonates with me, as I believe in collaboration as a crucial part of building strong, effective and diverse communities. Then I went to the Northwest African American Museum. Indeed, the visit exceeded my expectations. This relatively small but eye-opening museum exhibited how African Americans in Seattle merged with the society through sports, arts and music. I saw original sport outfits, musical instruments, and portrayals of the champions of social justice and equality; including, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy.Even though we had quite little time in Seattle compared to the rest of the MTP stops, it was a rewarding city to see and learn from.

Views from Across the Pond: Exploring Legal and Civic Cultures

By Lucy Chambers, 2013-2014, United Kingdom

Lucy Chambers - 1
Lucy Chambers - 1

Lucy Chambers, 2013-2014, United Kingdom (right), painting bookmarks for literacy projects for the Cambridge Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

As a Fulbright Student from the United Kingdom, I pursued a Master of Laws degree at Harvard Law School; in my LL.M. research, I investigated the utility of a functionalist approach to private law, and how this U.S.-based approach to legal research can be useful for better understanding UK private law theory. This involves developing my knowledge of law and economics, both institutional and situational economics and efficiency theory, and applying this and other theories of private law, including a remedies-focused approach, to the UK laws of contract and restitution so that a fuller theoretical picture may be developed. I hope to take this research and knowledge back to the UK and further the study of Law and Economics, along with a functionalist approach to private law, at all levels of legal scholarship and teaching.

“Learning About the World in a Journey Across America”

Fulbright-MTP Participant Siliva Tijo reflects on the cross-country U.S. journey

Fulbright-MTP participant Silvia Tijo, a Fulbright student from Colombia, reflects on the overall feel of the MTP cross-country U.S. journey. In addition to seeing the process of transforming waste into energy with the help of sunlight and algae for the first time in-person; a process she researches currently at Georgia Tech via a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant – Tijo says she learned more about the world and the necessary keys to becoming a global generational leader.

In the words of Silvia Tijo, a Fulbright student from Colombia:

The group of 20 Americans and five Fulbright Foreign Student MTP participants after a mentor session at Citizen University in Seattle. Submitted photo.

The group of 20 Americans and five Fulbright Foreign Student MTP participants after a mentor session at Citizen University in Seattle. Submitted photo.

While the Millennial Trains Project approached its last station in New York, all of us felt nostalgic since the trip was coming to an end. The group that started as strangers in Portland had become a family somewhere along the trip. During the final hours, Jenny Gottstein, who is from California, organized the production of a Lip sync video that involved all the passengers throughout the train even though many of us did not know the song lyrics; furthermore, there was no way to hear it because there was not any internet signal available as the train was in movement. What a great way to end the trip! Everybody worked on a shared goal.

At this point, I realized what the 20 participants from all regions of USA and five Fulbright Scholars from Yemen, Russia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Colombia had in common. Besides being part of the same generation, we all want to use our leadership to create social impact. The travel experience on train was key for us to create such a connection.

The journey itself was a tour of geography of the United States, and the greatness of its landscape. Yet, the best part of the trip was to learn from the diversity of its people through the speakers, mentors, participants, and all the people that we met in each place. The train also surpassed borders, and we learned about people, customs, and points of view of other countries around the world. I became familiar with countries where I’ve never been, and I also learned more about my own country: Colombia.

We had between 2 or 3 hours to work on our individual projects in every city where we stopped. The return to the train after each visit was exciting because the experiences of others were shared with all of us. I was fortunate to see each city through the eyes of 24 other people, and I could see every place from never imagined perspectives. When the journey reached its final destination, many projects on the train began to intertwine just like the travelers on the train began to intertwine as a community. We learned to appreciate that we are different, but where differences are valued and commonalities are found, stronger ties are built.