Four Pacificans Receive Fulbrights: Record number of students and faculty receive prestigious academic grants this year
Two University of the Pacific students learned his weekend that they were awarded prestigious Fulbright Scholarships from the U.S. State Department. They are joined by two Pacific professors who received Fulbright scholar grants earlier this year.
The four Fulbrights are the most Pacific has ever received in a single year and cap an extraordinary year for high-profile grants to Pacific students and faculty. Just two weeks ago, a student received a Goldwater Scholarship, the first in Pacific's history.
"Pacific takes great pride in the success of our faculty and students in receiving these highly prestigious and competitive awards," said Pacific Provost Maria Pallavicini. "Their success reflects Pacific's commitment to both academic excellence and community."
Students Fulbright Recipients
The students awarded Fulbrights are Joe Styers and David Allen, both seniors in the School of International Studies. They will study in South Korea. While there, Styers plans to conduct research on how student cultural backgrounds affect the experience in multicultural classrooms. Allen will spend his time teaching English in local schools, learning to speak Korean and participating in cross-cultural exchanges.
"The Fulbright Commission seeks students with a proven commitment to an area of research or creative/performing arts, and a proven interest in a national or regional culture," said Susan Weiner, Pacific's Fellowship Advisor. "Joe and David both exemplify that combination."
Professor Laura Bathurst, Styers' academic and research advisor, helped him focus his research for the grant and believes his research will have a significant impact on future studies of multicultural classrooms.
Allen's advisor, Professor Analiese Richard, said "David is an exceptionally gifted student with a wealth of teaching experience gained by working as a tutor and supervisor at Pacific's Center for Community Involvement here in Stockton."
Both Styers and Allen are members of the academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa. Styers is a member of the Powell Scholars, a highly selective scholarship program for the most academically talented students at Pacific.
Faculty Fulbright Scholars
Earlier this year, two Pacific professors were awarded Fulbright grants to teach and conduct research overseas, professors Cathy Peterson and Robert Coburn. Peterson, chair of Pacific's Department of Physical Therapy, will teach at the Malawi College of Medicine and will research neurodegenerative diseases in Africa.
"I am honored to have been selected for this grant and the ensuing opportunity to contribute to the development of a new physical therapy program in Malawi," Peterson said. "With only 28 physical therapists in a country of approximately 14 million people, this program is essential for improving healthcare.
"I will also be conducting research, including completing a case study on a man with undiagnosed neurodegenerative pathology in a culture that believes in black magic. It's an amazing story and the medical community will benefit from learning the extent to which his support system collapsed due to the widespread fear that he had been ‘ju-ju'd.'"
Coburn, chair of Pacific's Music Studies Program, will teach at Tokyo National University of the Arts and conduct music research in Japan.
"The Fulbright to Japan is both an honor and an extraordinary opportunity," Coburn said. "I have been pursuing creative research in Japan for several years but a chance like this to live in the culture and compose for traditional Japanese musicians is something I could only dream of. Beyond supporting the exchange of research and teaching, at its core the Fulbright program is about being a cultural ambassador. I look forward to this rich cultural exchange and to the experiences I will be able to bring back to share with students here at Pacific."
Other Recent Honorees
This year, seven students applied for the prestigious Fulbright scholarship. Earlier this month, Pacific student Gabby McDaniel was awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the most prestigious scholarship in the United States for undergraduate math and science majors heading for Ph.Ds. McDaniel was selected as one of 275 recipients nationwide.
In 2010, Benjamin Alldritt (School of Engineering) was awarded a Fulbright to conduct research in Finland. Also that year, six Pacific students applied for a U.S. State Department Boren Scholarship for intensive study of "critical need" languages such as Chinese and Arabic. Two of the six were granted the award, both to study in Beijing. Pacific's success rate is better than the national average, according to Boren Assistant Director Susan Sharp.
The Fulbright Program awards approximately 8,000 grants annually. Roughly 1,600 U.S. students, 4,000 foreign students, 1,200 U.S. scholars, and 900 visiting scholars receive awards, in addition to several hundred teachers and professionals. The grants cover the cost of housing, food and a cost of living stipend while the scholars are abroad. The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is the U.S. government's flagship international exchange program.
For more information on the Fulbright, visit fulbright.state.gov. For more information on Pacific's fellowship office.