San Diego State will be sending four students abroad for the 2012-13 academic year as part of the Fulbright U.S. student program. These students, who were competing with thousands of other students nationwide, were each awarded one of 1,700 Fulbright grants.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program pays for current students or recent graduates to work on research projects or English Teaching Assistantships for one year in another country. These students, known as “Fulbrighters,” will be a part of the program’s mission to help the U.S. promote international relationships through education, culture and science. Since 2005, more than 40 SDSU students have been selected to receive Fulbright grants.
Ecology doctoral candidate Kimberly Miller will travel to Finland to complete her research on the interaction of climate change and microbial methane cycling in Arctic wetland soils.
“When I started investigating potential affiliations, I found that there were a lot of Finnish researchers interested in the same things that I am,” Miller said. “I ultimately chose Finland because the people that I formed affiliations with are so amazingly helpful and kind.”
Although Miller’s primary objective will be focusing on her research, she is also looking forward to experiencing different cultures, fostering friendships and professional relationships with similar researchers, and seeing the Northern lights in the winter.
Recent 2011 graduate, Jessica Floyd, who majored in English, will use her degree as a teaching assistant in Turkey. While working, she hopes to examine how graphic narratives can shape national and collective identity.
“Novels are works of art, but can also be a focused historical, cultural and political lens,” Floyd said. “Graphic novels are the same, but in some ways, they can convey a stronger message.”
After she spends a year in Turkey as a Fulbrighter, Floyd plans to continue teaching English in Argentina or Australia. Floyd also plans to eventually pursue a master’s degree in international education and exchange.
Recent 2012 graduate Susan Phay, plans to use her master’s degree in sociology as an English teaching assistant in her ancestral country of Laos. Phay hopes to one day teach at a university and plans to share her experiences and interests in Laos with her community.
“I hope to become a better educator, become fluent in Lao and share what I learned in Laos with my community back home,” Phay said. “I don’t know what to expect for this trip, and I feel sometimes this is a good expectation to have.”
Current graduate student, Aran Skalman, who is studying fine arts, will travel to India to create a contemporary and collaborative sculpture. Skalman’s interest and past research in Indian art inspired him to foster creative projects in India while working with the non- profit group.
“My hope is that the process of constructing, negotiating and placing the project will facilitate unlikely interactions between people. I want to make art that is connected to everyday life, but also somehow extraordinary,” Skalman said. “I’m hoping that this piece will be a welcome and curious fit in its location, inspiring others to do creative work in the urban environment.”
SDSU is also sending Faculty Fulbright recipient and film professor Mark Freeman to Jakarta, Indonesia during the Spring 2013 semester where he will be teaching documentary filmmaking. Freeman plans to create a new production featuring contemporary Indonesian choreographers.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2013-14 Fulbright U.S. Student competition and will close on Oct. 17. The four SDSU Fulbrighters advise applicants to start early and focus on why the Fulbright grant will be beneficial to the applicant.
“Understand what you bring to the table the Fulbright program is about fostering international relationships, so be sure to emphasize why they should want you,” Kimberly Miller said.
The students also strongly advise attending workshops and meeting with the campus Fulbright advisor, Dr. Pat Huckle.
“Professor Huckle is helpful, knowledgeable and always available to answer any questions about the Fulbright program,” Susan Phay said.