Emily Nelson, Office of Strategic Communication, 319-384-0077
UI sets record with 19 Fulbright awardees
UI sets record with 19 Fulbright awardees
UI sets record with 19 Fulbright awardees
Editor’s note (June 26, 2019): Two University of Iowa students who initially were named alternates to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program were awarded grants in June, bringing the UI’s total number of awardees to 19. This story has been updated to reflect this news.
A record 19 University of Iowa students have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants to conduct research, attend graduate school, undertake creative projects, or serve as English teaching assistants abroad in 2019–20, with an additional two students selected as alternates.
This year, Iowa had the largest-ever number of applicants, with a total of 47 students completing the rigorous application and interview process. A record number of 32 semifinalists were selected to compete in the second round of the competition.
For the fourth consecutive year, Iowa received the honor of being named a top producing institution of Fulbright students nationally for the 2018–19 competition, with 11 students receiving grants. Iowa’s previous Fulbright record was 16 students in 2017–18. In the past five years, 74 students from the UI have received awards to 35 countries, supported by faculty and staff mentors with world, region, and country expertise.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to increase understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries by providing participants the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
“The Fulbright awards provide life-changing opportunities for UI students, and this record-breaking year is a testament to the hard work of our talented students and the tremendous team of faculty and staff in International Programs that has prepared them compete successfully for these prestigious awards,” says Downing Thomas, associate provost and dean of International Programs, which oversees the university’s Fulbright programs.
The Fulbright competition is administered at Iowa through International Programs under the guidance of Fulbright Program Advisor Karen Wachsmuth. Students interested in applying for the 2020–21 Fulbright competition should make an appointment to learn more about the application process.
“For this year’s 19 talented Fulbright awardees from the University of Iowa, Sen. William Fulbright’s vision of academic and cultural exchange in 1946 has become a reality,” Wachsmuth says. “After competing successfully in a field of more than 10,000 applicants nationally over the past year, four students have been selected to undertake arts projects, seven students will do research or enroll in graduate programs in fields ranging from public health to translation, and eight students will serve as English teaching assistants abroad. They will represent the university, the state of Iowa, and the U.S. as superb citizen ambassadors, and will carry this badge of honor forward into their future professional lives.”
Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.
This year’s recipients include:
Brittany Anderson, of Sparta, Wisconsin, is a PhD candidate in anthropology. With her Fulbright Study/Research Award in anthropology to Sierra Leone, Anderson will examine how Ebola survivors navigate social, economic, and medical hardships through complex relationships with communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the government.
Alex Bare, of Walcott, Iowa, graduated from the UI in 2019 with a BA in international studies. With his Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Colombia, Bare will teach English and work closely with local university students to write journalistic stories for publication in one of Colombia’s English-language newspapers.
Maria Bascom, of Dubuque, Iowa, graduated from the UI in May 2019 with a BA in Russian and a minor in Arabic and translation. Bascom will use her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award at Vladimir State University in Russia, where she also will form a Brazilian jiu-jitsu class for women in the community.
Claire Carmichael, of Oskaloosa, Iowa, graduated from the UI in 2019 with a BS in biology. She was awarded a Fulbright Study/Research Award in public health to Brazil to research the effects of a bacterial disease, leptospirosis, in urban areas of Salvador, Brazil. Rather than pursue the Fulbright award, Carmichael plans to attend medical school next year at the UI.
Jeffrey Clark, of Lorton, Virginia, graduated from the UI in 2019 with a BA in English and history. With his Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to South Korea, Clark plans to help Korean students in their English and cultural understanding of the world. He also hopes to form an English chorus for his students to practice music and perform at their school and in their community.
Sylvia Dean, of Iowa City, Iowa, graduated from the UI in 2019 with a BA in linguistics/TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). With her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Taiwan, Dean will teach English and plans to assist with musical groups. She will be placed in Hualian, Taiwan, and plans to volunteer with ATAYAL, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of indigenous cultures.
Alexa Frank, of Irvington, New York, graduated from the UI in 2019 with an MFA in creative writing. With her Fulbright Study/Research Arts Award in creative writing to Japan, Frank will spend the year completing a novel that examines Japan and America’s relationship to mental illness. She will serve as a guest lecturer on contemporary American literature at Waseda University in Tokyo.
Nicholas Grandstaff, of Emmetsburg, Iowa, graduated from the UI in 2019 with a BBA in economics. With his Fulbright Study/Research Award to the Netherlands, Grandstaff plans to attend Wageningen University to study international development while learning about the technology surrounding the advanced Dutch food system.
Charles Green, of Los Angeles, graduated from Iowa in 2019 with an MFA in playwriting. With his Fulbright Study/Research Award in creative writing/playwriting to Germany, Green will research and write a theatrical text about the influence of immigrant Eastern European Yiddish theater troupes on local German Jewish performance artists in Berlin from 1918 to 1933.
Nicole Hehr, of Mason City, Iowa, graduated from the UI in May 2019 with a BA in ancient civilization. With her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Italy, Hehr will teach English at the high school level. She also plans to volunteer with a local medical organization or clinic and start a book club for students learning English.
Dani Lipman, of West Des Moines, Iowa, graduated from the UI in 2019 with a BS in physics and astronomy. With her Fulbright Study/Research Award in education to China, Lipman will investigate barriers to, and facilitators of, science outreach by university faculty in China. She also plans to create a university student extracurricular club at Nanjing University focusing on English academic presentation skills.
Catherine Liu, of Tallahassee, Florida, graduated from the UI in 2019 with an MFA in book arts. With her Fulbright Study/Research Award in design/bookmaking to China, Liu will study handmade paper and its application in printed and handbound books in China. She also will collaborate with papermakers in China to create a handmade book of samples and information about the qualities and history of the paper produced by a variety of mills.
Jenna McCoy, of Estherville, Iowa, graduated from the UI in 2019 with a BA in biology and environmental science. With her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to the La Rioja region of Spain, McCoy will teach English to students in a rural setting. She also plans to create a health club or an environmental service.
Isabella Myers, of Iowa City, Iowa, graduated from the UI in 2019 with an MFA in book arts. With her Fulbright Study/Research Award in bookmaking/design to Cambodia, Myers will reconstruct the lost tradition of 16th century Buddhist manuscripts composed of handmade Cambodian snay (mulberry) paper. She also plans to analyze these manuscripts in order to create paper and books modeled on this practice.
Jill Oberhart, of Bettendorf, Iowa, graduated from the UI in 2019 with a BA in music and psychology. With her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Brazil, Oberhart will teach English at the university level. She also plans to recruit school-aged children from surrounding areas to form a choir as an opportunity for the children to learn and perform popular American and Brazilian music.
Erik Ovrom, of Iowa City, Iowa, graduated from the UI in 2019 with a BA in interdepartmental studies (health science track). In addition to teaching English, Ovrom will use his Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Mexico to create lesson plans with American music that presents English grammar in a cultural context. Ovrom also plans to use his experience as a nurses’ aide to assist personnel in coordinating patient care at a primary care clinic in Mexico.
Michael Parisi Mercado
Michael Parisi Mercado of Guayama, Puerto Rico, is a Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Public Health candidate at the UI. With his Fulbright Study/Research Award in public health to Romania, Parisi Mercado will assess healthcare providers’ health beliefs and practices towards HIV/AIDS by assessing knowledge, attitudes, and perceived societal roles in Romania.
Jennifer Shyue, of Brooklyn, New York, graduated from the UI in 2019 with an MFA in literary translation. With her Fulbright Study/Research Award in translation to Peru, Shyue will undertake Spanish-to-English translations of fiction by Julia Wong Kcomt, one of only a few Peruvian writers of Chinese descent. She hopes to expand the scope of U.S. scholarship on the Asian diaspora in the Americas.
Lydia Sinclair, of Urbandale, Iowa, graduated from the UI in 2019 with a BA in Spanish, a secondary Spanish teaching license, and an ESL endorsement. Sinclair will use her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Galicia, Spain, to teach English and to start a South Asian fusion dance club for high school students to get active, practice English, and learn how different groups have influenced American culture.
In addition, two semifinalists from the UI were named as alternates for 2019–20:
- Natalie Brown, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, graduated from the UI in 2019 with an MFA in art.
- Charlotte Crowe, of Collinsville, Connecticut, graduated from the UI in 2015 with an MFA in creative writing.