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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Eight University of Iowa students and alumni have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants to conduct research, undertake creative projects, or serve as English teaching assistants abroad in 2014-15. This year’s recipients are: Sophie Amado, Kathleen Burke, Nicholas Hallman, Benjamin Mauk, Stephanie Muller, Patrick Reed, Katherine Ryken, and Megan Starrett.

Fulbright workshops

Two Fulbright U.S. Student Program Grant Workshops: "Windows to Opportunity" will be offered: Tuesday, May 13, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. or Thursday, May 15, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in International Commons, 1117 University Capitol Centre. The deadline to pre-register is May 9 by visiting here. For more information, click here.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to increase understanding between people of the United States and other countries by providing participants opportunities to study, teach, conduct research, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. Below are the UI recipients and a brief description of their projects.

Sophie Amado
Sophie Amado

Amado, of Chicago, Illinois, is expected to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) in May. With her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) award, co-sponsored by the Regional Government of Madrid, Amado will travel to Madrid, Spain. She will participate in the Global Classrooms (Model UN) project and plans to organize weekly creative writing groups for high school students in the community, where they can write narratives and poems in either English or Spanish.

Kathleen Burke
Kathleen Burke

Burke, of Spirit Lake, Iowa, graduated from the UI in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and global health from CLAS. With her Fulbright ETA award, Burke will travel to Brazil to serve as a language-learning assistant for students at teachers’ colleges in public universities. While in Brazil, she plans to implement a pen pal program for Brazilian and American students in which students draw a series of typical family meals in their home country and compare the drawings to those of their pen pals.

Nick Hallman
Nicholas Hallman

Hallman, of Des Moines, Iowa, is expected to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in international studies, history, and French from CLAS in May. With his Fulbright-Turkish Higher Education Council ETA award, Hallman will teach English in Turkey at one of the newly-established state universities. While in Turkey, he plans to establish an American film and television club to encourage cultural comparisons between American and Turkish society. He also intends to organize community relief for war refugees and volunteer his time at refugee camps.

Ben Mauk
Benjamin Mauk

Mauk, of Laurel, Maryland, is a 2012 graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. With his Fulbright Study/Research Grant, Mauk will travel to Germany to research and outline a book of essays titled “New Impressions of the Land.” These essays will investigate and explore Mauk’s relationship with different writers who lived and wrote about Berlin as exiles or foreign correspondents. In addition, he will organize a bi-monthly reading series co-sponsored by PEN-Germany, where international writers currently living in Germany will read and perform work dealing with their experience as foreigners. This series will be featured on the UI International Writing Program website.

Stephanie Muller
Stephanie Muller

Muller, of Denver, Colorado, received a Bachelor of Arts in theater arts and history from CLAS in 2013. With her ETA Fulbright award, Muller will teach English in Mongolia in a higher education institution in Ulaanbaatar or another smaller city. She plans to work with the embassy to start an English club, where she will host cross-cultural events like Western movie nights. In addition, she will use her playwriting skills to compose a short piece with Mongolian actors that combines traditional Mongolian dance and puppet theater with the works of Western playwrights.

Patrick Reed
Patrick Reed

Reed, of Iowa City, Iowa, graduated with a Master in Fine Arts in papermaking and bookbinding from the UI Center for the Book in 2013. With his Fulbright Study/Research Grant, Reed will travel to the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society (RCC) at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, for the project “Apocalyptic Themes of Natural Disaster in 16th and 21st Century Woodcut Prints.” Reed will create a series of woodcut prints that respond to current environmental catastrophes, which will be featured in an online international digital exhibition hosted by the RCC Environment and Society Portal, the UI Digital Studio for Public Arts & Humanities, and UI Special Collections.

Katie Ryken
Katherine Ryken

Ryken, of Iowa City, Iowa, is an M.D. candidate in the Carver College of Medicine. With her Fulbright Study/Research Grant, Ryken will travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina to study and assist patients with traumatic wartime injuries at the University of Sarajevo Clinical Center Department of Orthopedics. She will also work with the Bosnia-Herzegovina Medical Student Association to provide free medical care to rural villages surrounding Sarajevo, as well as volunteer with the two local NGOs to provide free gynecological exams and screenings for victims of wartime violence.

Megan Starrett
Megan Starrett

Starrett, of Rock Rapids, Iowa, is a Doctoral of Music Arts student in horn performance in the UI School of Music in CLAS. With her Fulbright Study/Research Grant, Starrett will travel to Budapest, Hungary, to research the brass music and life of Hungarian composer Frigyes Hidas at the National Széchényi Library and Franz Liszt Academy of Music. She will perform recitals of American and Hungarian brass music, sharing the cultural and artistic significance of the pieces with the audience. She also plans to organize an English conversation group for people to discuss cultural topics.

In addition to these eight winners, Kate Kedley, a Ph.D. candidate in language, literacy, and culture in the College of Education, and Andrew Nance, a Master in Fine Arts graduate in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, have been chosen as alternates for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Although not currently selected as principal candidates, their distinction as alternates is considered a great achievement. If additional funding becomes available, Kedley will travel to Honduras and Nance to Ireland.

Karen Wachsmuth, UI International Programs' academic programs and student services administrator, supports and assists all UI students and alumni who are seeking Fulbright grants. Undergraduates, graduate and professional students, and alumni wishing to apply for a Fulbright award should contact Wachsmuth at

The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit the Fulbright Program website.