Franco Borrello, 2014-2016, Argentina, attending the 70th UN General Debate at the UN Headquarters in New York City on September 28th, 2015. During this historic event, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted.
I have dedicated my career to studying energy, and it is one of the reasons why I came to Boston to pursue a Master of Science in Energy Systems at Northeastern University, thanks to the Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
This year, I have had the pleasure of participating in two high-level events at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. In May, I attended the annual Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Forum. The SE4ALL initiative is a multi-stakeholder partnership launched by the UN in 2011 with three main objectives to be achieved by 2030: Ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
During this event, I learned about success stories, innovations, and solutions deployed across the world in the energy sector. Most importantly, I interacted with colleagues and decision-makers in my field who shared valuable advice, which in turn, contributed to improving my own ideas. A very important takeaway I was left with was that establishing collaborative public-private partnerships has been very important to the energy field, especially in promoting and reducing risk in renewable energy projects designed for developing countries.
Laureana Moreno, 2013-2014, Fulbright FLTA from Argentina (right), providing information about Argentinian culture to an American student at the University of St. Thomas’ International Fair
When I first learned that I would spend an academic year in St. Paul, Minnesota as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA), I did not know what to expect. The first thing everybody would tell me after I shared that I was going to Minnesota was, ‘It’s going to be so cold!’ and ‘Be ready for a lot of snow.’ I had no idea what the Twin Cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis) had in store for me. I am a Spanish-language Fulbright FLTA, and I assist students in their linguistic and cultural learning process, as well as professors, usually substituting for them or providing sessions on Spanish culture. I have also been engaged with the campus Spanish Club, helped to organize tango lessons and Spanish conversation groups.
My first few days in the ‘Land of the 10,000 Lakes’ were filled with new people and roommates, different cultures, and sunny, warm weather. As time went by, my new group of friends from France, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Czech Republic, Germany, and the United States grew closer. This unity was enhanced by each of us sharing our unique cultural customs. We organized a dinner and cooked empanadas, a very typical dish in Argentina (whose closest equivalent is an English Cornish pastry or a slightly larger Indian samosa). The filling in the empanadas varied from mince with vegetables to just cheese and sautéed onions. In Argentina, it is customary to make and drink mate while cooking, and that is exactly what we did. Mate is a traditional drink which tastes very similar to tea, but which is drunk in a different manner. Mate is served in a wooden cup which is filled with yerba (similar to black tea typically found in tea bags). Then, hot water (which must not be boiling hot) is poured into the mate so that the yerba gets wet, and through a metal straw, called a bombilla, one drinks the hot water flavored with the yerba.
Fareed Mostoufi, 2009-2010, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Argentina (in yellow t-shirt), teaching at the Instituto de Enseñanza Superior Lola Mora in Tucumán
I had just returned home from six weeks of studying in Madrid, Spain, when my sister called to tell me about the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Traveling to Madrid had been my dream since I applied to college, and I had come back startled by the vastness of the world and the richness of other cultures. She told me that the Fulbright U.S. Student Program was an opportunity to spend approximately a year abroad potentially conducting independent research, or assistant English teaching while developing personally and professionally. While still on the phone with my sister, I looked up the Fulbright U.S. Student Program website and decided instantly to apply…three weeks later.
Yes, I started the application process late. Hungry for resources on how to put an application together, I found out about and attended local information sessions, met with my university’s Fulbright Program Adviser, and searched the all-knowing Internet. I learned that I had to apply selectively to one country. I also learned that for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program (ETA), I had to explicitly outline my teaching style and plans for extracurricular community work in my application. I also learned that professors had to be reminded gently, but regularly, to turn letters of reference in on time!
Zigfried Hampel-Arias, 2009-2010, Argentina, working on a detector element of the Pierre Auger Observatory
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, I worked at the Pierre Auger Observatory, a detector located in Mendoza, Argentina. By analyzing the information gained from the detector, physicists can better understand the origins and fate of our universe.
My Fulbright research focused on how the observatory was aging and its potential impact on the search for the elusive sources of cosmic rays. Initially, I thought that the project would be fairly straightforward, but that was not to be the case. After consulting with my Argentine colleagues, I realized that I had to write my own computer simulation program to solve the problem. I had to simplify the physics involved and to incorporate only those interactions that were essential to the problem. Another surprise was that I have been able to use the simulation I wrote during my Fulbright for my current doctoral research in physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This was not what I was expecting, but early into my grant period, I realized that unexpected experiences are an integral part of the Fulbright experience.