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 MTP project will research challenges facing small businesses to find national and international similarities so that small businesses around the world can learn from each other’s mistakes and successes and adjust accordingly. She will meet with small business owners across the United States 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.
Malaysia // Bridging Education Gaps and Connecting Classrooms
Jarod Yong was previously an English teacher in the jungles of Borneo. Lacking resources, he innovated and collaborated with both the public and private sector on academic programs and infrastructure improvements for the school. He has worked on national curriculum development, national examination building and marking, and conducted workshops for teachers in Malaysia. He received a bachelor’s of Education from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and is currently pursuing an MA in TESOL at Columbia University as Fulbright Student.
In Malaysia, Jarod sees a big gap in education between the rural and the urban as well as between the wealthy and the poor. Jarod’s MTP project is to research and better understand what local schools and organizations are doing to bridge education disparities in the US. As part of his project, Jarod also plans to initiate a video exchange program between classrooms in the US with classrooms in Malaysia for cultural exchange and the broadening of horizons for the students of both countries.
Peru // Our Museum, Our Story
Yanoa graduated in archaeology and specialized in museums and art history in Peru. She is currently a Peruvian Fulbright Student at NYU where she is receiving an MA in Museum Studies. She previously worked for the Ministry of Culture of Peru as a curator, exhibition designer, photographer, and researcher for the special project “The Inka Road System.” While working on the project she traveled around Peru to work with communities from different villages along the Inka trail to research their heritage, living traditions and history.
Recognizing that museums and cultural centers acts as a key element in collecting, preserving, and interpreting local and regional history, Yanoa’s MTP project will work to identify and highlight participatory experiences in cultural centers and museums where communities share their ideas about promoting and taking care of their heritage. Along the journey, she will explore community-based projects and activities made in cultural spaces in order to inspire others to create similar programs in other parts of the world.
UNITY // AUGUST 10 – 18
LOS ANGELES >> SAN FRANCISCO >> DENVER >> MILWAUKEE >> DETROIT
Togo // Engaging Millennials in Advocacy Against Gun Violence
Christian is a physician, public health professional, and Fulbright Student pursuing his master’s of public health at the University of Arizona. Previously, he was the senior physician for a nonprofit organization in Togo that worked to lower the cost of health care services for the community.
Christian’s project aims to create multi-level interventions that engage and unify millennials to influence sustainable changes in their community for gun violence prevention and challenge them work with their elected leaders. At each MTP stop, he will open dialogue with local representatives of preventive organizations to learn best practices to educate communities and policy-makers. From this trans-regional perspective on gun violence prevention, he will develop a guide for advocacy at individual, interpersonal, community, and policy levels. The aim is not to debate gun rights, but to promote and protect the safety of the population, regardless of the number of firearms.
LAURA JIMENEZ MORALES
Mexico // Hispanic Television-Viewers: Are Their Habits Changing?
Laura is currently a doctoral candidate at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where she is pursuing a PhD in Mass Communications and Media Arts as a Fulbright Student. She was born in Cuernavaca, México, where she attended the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos and obtained a bachelor’s in Art and a master’s in Art and Literature. Her research interests include Hispanic media and the representation of Latin Americans and the working-class in different types of media texts.
Laura’s MTP project aims, via a qualitative research analysis consisting of surveys, to determine whether Hispanic young adults of certain US cities are changing their television-viewing habits in relation to those of their parents. The project will look at viewers aged 18 to 35 who are familiar with Spanish-speaking television networks Telemundo and Univision, in order to determine if, as it is happening in several Latin American countries, there is a loss of interest in Spanish-language content in this particular sector of the population, as compared to older generations.
Nepal // Perception Differences and Effects in Sustainability
Richa received her undergraduate degree in forestry from Nepal and is currently pursuing her MS in Natural Resource Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign as a Fulbright Student. While in Nepal, she worked as a research officer and project coordinator for a variety of projects and traveled extensively across the country to understand and embrace the differences in perception to maintain sustainability.
For her MTP project, Richa will analyze how perceptions to handle sustainability and catchment issues in water resources vary in organizations, both for-profit and non-profit, and how these differences affect integrated sustainability. During her site visits she will conduct basic Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Limitation (SWOL) analyses to determine the effects of how these different organizations are addressing the issue.