COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Seventeen University of Maryland students and recent graduates were awarded Fulbright grants to study, conduct research or teach English abroad during the 2016-2017 academic year. The students and alumni will travel to 15 different countries around the world to carry out projects in fields such as dance, environmental science, public health, biology, international relations, history and geography. Others will teach English at schools and universities.
Each year, the Fulbright Program awards approximately 8,000 grants to roughly 1,600 U.S. students, 4,000 foreign students, 1,200 U.S. scholars, 900 visiting scholars and several hundred teachers and professionals to pursue international study, research and teaching experience.
In the last five years, UMD students and recent graduates have earned a total of 70 Fulbright grants. This year’s recipients include six seniors, five recent graduates, and six graduate students.
“The Fulbright recipients at the University of Maryland for 2016 are among the brightest and more adventuresome of our students,” said James Gilbert, UMD’s Fulbright Program Advisor. “Their accomplishment is a credit to the University and to their hard work and the creativity of their projects.”
The Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State. Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 300,000 participants with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
2016 University of Maryland Fulbright Recipients
Arjun Adapa, Netherlands
Arjun Adapa, a senior majoring in bioengineering, has been awarded a Fulbright Grant for research in the Netherlands. Mr. Adapa’s research will aim to develop nanoparticle carriers for small-interfering RNA targeting BACE1, a critical gene involved in Alzheimer's progression, to overcome the challenges with drug delivery. Dr. Inge Zuhorn of the University of Groningen Medical Center will advise him. After his year abroad Mr. Adapa plans to attend medical school at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, then pursue a career in clinical medicine.
Elizabeth Beavers, South Korea
Elizabeth Beavers, a 2013 alumna with bachelor’s degrees in Music Education and Vocal Performance, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to South Korea. She previously travelled to South Korea with the University of Maryland Chamber Singers to participate in the 10th World Symposium on Choral Music. While in South Korea, she will also explore Korean choral music opportunities, learn Korean musical traditions, and collect repertoire. After completing her Fulbright year she plans to hone her craft as a high school choral director or pursue a career in conducting.
Meghan Bowden, Ghana
Meghan Bowden, an MFA student in the Dance Program, has been awarded a Fulbright for research and professional collaboration in Ghana. Her project builds on a tradition of collaborative art-making between American and Ghanaian dance artists. She will focus on Ghanaian dance technique and composition classes at the Noyam Institute of Performing Arts in Dodowa, Ghana. She will also create a collaborative dance piece with Nii-Tete Yartey, artistic director of the National Dance Company of Ghana. This project supports her long-term goal to teach dance at the collegiate level.
Theresa Brecker, Colombia
Theresa Brecker, a 2015 alumna with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Colombia. While teaching English in Colombia, Ms. Brecker plans to volunteer with a program that focuses on girls’ empowerment. She is particularly interested in Fundación Pies Descalzos, which works to create a holistic educational experience by teaching students nutrition and life skills. After her Fulbright year Ms. Brecker plans to pursue a career as an ESOL or Spanish language teacher.
Amira Collison, Spain
Amira Collison, a senior majoring in neurobiology and physiology and minoring in Spanish, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Spain. While teaching English in Spain, Ms. Collison plans to volunteer at a local health clinic, building on her volunteer work at Silver Spring Community Clinic. After completing her Fulbright year in Spain, Ms. Collison plans to attend medical school at Johns Hopkins University. As a physician, she hopes to improve the quality and access of health care for minorities in underserved areas.
Christopher Franklin, Macau
Christopher Franklin, a 2015 alumnus with a degree in Chinese, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Macau. This will build on his previous teaching and study experiences in China. He plans to volunteer at the Badi Foundation and hopes to learn how civil society organizations are dealing with community development at the grassroots level. After his return to the U.S., he will begin a master’s program in international affairs with a focus on international development, foreign policy, and conflict resolution. He will then pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service.
Vishnupriya Kareddy, India
Vishnupriya Kareddy, a senior seeking dual degrees in neurobiology and physiology as well as government and politics, has been awarded a Fulbright Grant for research in India. She will examine efforts to decentralize rural public healthcare under the National Rural Health Mission. She will conduct her study in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with the guidance of experts from the Institute of Health Systems and the University of Hyderabad. Upon her return to the U.S. Ms. Kareddy plans to pursue a joint M.D.-Ph.D. She will then pursue a career as a clinician-educator and conduct research.
Eben Levey, Mexico
Eben Levey, a Ph.D. student in the Department of History, has been awarded a Fulbright Grant for research in Mexico. His project will draw on Church and State archives along with oral histories in two communities to examine the implementation of Liberation Theology in the Mexican Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council, and the results in indigenous communities. He has secured affiliations with scholars from the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Oaxaca and CIESAS Unidad Pacífico Sur. After his Fulbright year he will write his dissertation and pursue a professorship.
Sarah Marsteller, Germany
Sarah Marsteller, a senior double majoring in history and Germanic studies, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Germany. She recently returned from Germany, having completed an internship in Stuttgart last summer followed by her study abroad program in Freiburg last fall. She plans to be involved in the local community through one of the German-American Centers found throughout the country or volunteering at a museum. After her Fulbright year she will pursue work that builds on her German skills and experiences and then hopes to pursue a master's degree.
Caitlin McCulloch, Georgia
Caitlin McCulloch, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Government and Politics, has been awarded a Fulbright Grant for research in Georgia. She will research the roots of Georgia’s foreign policy towards territorial disputes. She has secured affiliations with Professor Giorgi Gvalia of Ilia State University and The Caucasus Research Resource Center. Upon her return to the U.S. Ms. McCulloch will complete her dissertation. She plans to pursue a professorship, specializing in international relations and Eastern Europe, and hopes to continue building fruitful relationships with her Georgian affiliates.
Patricia McLaughlin, Czech Republic
Patricia McLaughlin, a 2015 alumna with dual majors in government and politics, and communications, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to the Czech Republic. She has declined the award in favor of another opportunity.
Rachel O’Meara, Taiwan
Rachel O’Meara, a senior majoring in linguistics and Chinese, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Taiwan. This will build on her ESL teaching experience in Chengdu, China, where she also studied in 2014. In addition to teaching, Ms. O’Meara plans to participate in regional festivals and to organize groups to explore the mountains through biking, hiking, and camping. After her Fulbright year she hopes to work in the field of international relations or education as she prepares for the Foreign Service Exam to become a Foreign Service Officer.
Diana Parker, Indonesia
Diana Parker, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geographical Sciences, has been awarded a Fulbright Grant for research in Indonesia. Her research focuses on palm oil, which plays a vital role in Indonesia's economic development. She will examine local, provincial and national strategies that help the industry’s growth while minimizing deforestation. She has secured an affiliation with Dr. Eko Priyo Purnomo of the Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta. Upon her return to the U.S. Ms. Parker plans to complete her dissertation and to continue working on sustainable development issues.
Alisa Tsaturov, Latvia
Alisa Tsaturov, a 2015 alumna with a major in government and politics and a minor in Russian, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Latvia. While teaching, Ms. Tsaturov hopes to organize a book and film club to support students in their efforts to learn English. She would also like to volunteer at the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia and learn about the country’s path to independence and how Latvians view their shared post-Soviet identity. After returning to the U.S. she plans to enter a master’s program in public policy and pursue a career in international affairs.
Sean Turner, Croatia
Sean Turner, a master’s student in the Department of Geographical Sciences, has been awarded a Fulbright Grant for research in Croatia. He will research island policy formation for the Croatian archipelago and will explore how goals and strategies have evolved since Croatian Independence in 1992. He has secured affiliations with scholars at the Institute of Economics, Zagreb and of the University of Zagreb. After his Fulbright year he will apply to Ph.D. programs for European Studies and will pursue work at government agencies and think-tanks.
Barret Wessel, Denmark
Barret Wessel, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology, has been awarded a Fulbright Grant for research in Denmark. He will study two marine ecosystems and apply soil science approaches to generate benthic (sediment and substratum) maps and conceptual models. He has secured affiliations with Drs. Erik Kristensen and Mogens Flindt of the University of Southern Denmark. Upon his return to the U.S. he plans to complete his dissertation, pursue a professorship, and continue to research geographically diverse marine ecosystems, particularly in Nordic countries.
Sarahann Yeh, Indonesia
Sarahann Yeh, a senior majoring in biology and minoring in international development and conflict management, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Indonesia. While teaching, she plans to volunteer at local women and children’s clinics to better understand maternal and child health and expand her knowledge of global health. After her Fulbright year Ms. Yeh hopes to pursue a master’s degree in public health or international affairs, gain experience in international health development projects, and ultimately join the U.S. Foreign Service as a public diplomacy officer.