U-M again tops list of public universities for student Fulbrights


University of Michigan students received 26 Fulbright grants for the 2018-19 academic year — the most of any public university in the nation for the 14th year in a row, the U.S. State Department has announced.

Fulbright grants also were awarded to three faculty members from U-M’s Ann Arbor campus and two from UM-Flint, according to the Fulbright Scholar Program’s website.

The grants — one of the U.S. government’s most prestigious awards — fund students’ and scholars’ research or teaching overseas for six to 12 months. This year, their interests range from researching social and economic transformations in China to studying ethnographic study of reproductive health care professionals in Burkina Faso.

“U-M’s commitment to international education helps students and scholars gain new perspectives and higher levels of understanding that make our world a better and safer place,” said President Mark Schlissel. “I commend our newest Fulbright awardees for their dedication to making lasting positive impacts around the globe.”

U-M faculty members receiving 2018-19 Fulbrights are:

• Yolaine Civil, instructor in pediatrics, Medical School. Civil is in Ghana researching a project titled “Evaluation of Continuity of Care Program for Premature and Low Birth Weight Infants in Ashanti Region of Kumasi, Ghana.”

• Zora Longworth, research professor in family medicine, Medical School; and research professor in nutritional sciences, School of Public Health. Longworth is in Serbia researching a project titled “New Approaches for Improving Cancer Outcomes.”

• Jeffrey Wilson, associate professor of paleontology, LSA. Wilson is in Colombia researching a project titled “Exploring Colombia’s Jurassic and Cretaceous Dinosaur Fossil Record: Effects of Plate Tectonics on Evolution.”

• Seyed Mehdian, professor of finance, School of Management, UM-Flint. Mehdian is in Serbia lecturing and researching a project titled “Corporate Finance and Investment/Stock Price Innovations and Measuring Performance of Banking Firm.”

• Suleyman Uludag, associate professor of computer science, College of Arts and Sciences, UM-Flint. Uludag is in Bosnia and Herzegovina lecturing and researching a project titled “Network Security, Applied and Lightweight Cryptography, Smart Grid Cybersecurity and Privacy, Internet-of-Things Security.”

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright program seeks to increase mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries, as well as help the recipients achieve their academic goals. Nearly 1,100 U.S. students, artists and young professionals from 100 different fields are offered Fulbrights each year.

The staff at U-M’s International Institute have been crucial to the university’s Fulbright success. They provide individual advising and resources necessary to put forth a compelling and competitive application throughout the application process.

“We have a seasoned team consisting of Fulbright Program advisers and faculty that is very invested in our applicants’ success,” said Heather Johnson, fellowships adviser at the International Institute. “It also helps that U-M students are perennially impressive in their own right.”

Recipients are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential. Former grantees include actor John Lithgow, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, opera singer Renee Fleming and economist Joseph Stiglitz.

U-M’s student grantees this year consist of seven U-M alumni and 19 students, and include Ryan Etzcorn, who is spending time in China researching social and economic transformations facing the country’s civil society.

Etzcorn says that the Fulbright scholarship is helping him “become a leader in sustaining and expanding direct interactions between Chinese and American citizens, beyond the narratives provided by their governments and media.”

Johnson adds that Fulbright offers a chance to the students and scholars to promote mutual understanding.

“It is key that applicants demonstrate a desire to genuinely engage on an individual level and to embrace the ambassadorial role expected of them as Fulbrighters,” she said.


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