Category Archives: U.S. Fulbright

From Two to Infinity: What the Second Detection of Gravitational Waves Tells Us About the Future

By Daniel Hoak, 2015-2016, Italy

Daniel Hoak
Daniel Hoak

Daniel Hoak, 2015-2016, Italy, visiting Florence

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.

Holding on to and Realizing a Dream

By Davíd Morales, 2013-2014, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Ecuador

david1
david1

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.

Dear Potential Fulbright Applicant

By Emily Yedinak, 2013-2014, Chile

emily yedinak

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.

Program Update: New Fulbright U.S. Student Grant to Australia!

Australia_08 - Abigail Sebaly

Photo courtesy of Abigail V. Sebaly, 2008-2009, Australia

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is now offering a grant to Australia in the Creative & Performing Arts (all fields), Environment Studies and Public Health.

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.

 

Open the Door and People Will Enter

By Corey Fayne, 2015-2016, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to South Korea

Corey Fayne

Corey Fayne, 2015-2016, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to South Korea

In partnership with Reach the World (RTW), the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is publishing a series of articles written by Fulbright English Teaching Assistants participating in Reach the World’s Traveler correspondents program, which through its interactive website, enriches the curriculum of elementary and secondary classrooms (primarily located in New York City but also nationwide) by connecting them to the experiences of volunteer Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) and other world travelers who are currently studying and living abroad. 

When I think about where I come from, I think about the diverse neighborhood I grew up in, the different types of ethnic cuisines I could try, and the ‘corn man’ ringing his bell, so my sisters and I could eat some delicious Mexican-style cucumbers! Although the current neighborhood I live in South Korea as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant is not as diverse as my hometown, Chicago, I still feel at home because of my homestay family’s open arms.

Living away from home for a long time is like eating pancakes every morning for three weeks without syrup. It is not easy. It also means that you do not get to hang out with your close friends, eat certain foods that you are used to, or, perhaps, speak the language you are most comfortable with. It is scary. But even this difficulty and fear can bring about growth and a better sense of awareness.