Fulbright grants — one of the U.S. government’s most prestigious awards — were given to 33 students from U-M campuses for the 2013-14 academic year, funding their studies, research or teaching overseas for six to 12 months, officials said Monday.
Seven U-M faculty members from Ann Arbor were awarded Fulbrights in the scholar category, and a faculty member from UM-Flint received a Fulbright specialist grant.
Thirty-two of the student recipients are from the Ann Arbor campus and one is from UM-Flint.
Harvard University, which was awarded 39 of the student grants, was the only institution with more Fulbright students than U-M, which has led the nation six times in the past decade.
The U-M students’ interests ranged from electronic medical records in Ghana and Islamic schools for children in Indonesia to archaeology in Albania and learning disabilities in Ecuador.
“We are committed to international experiences and education, and it shows in how well prepared our students are in these competitions,” said Ken Kollman, director of the International Institute. “Our ranking is a tribute to our students, faculty and staff who work hard to prepare top-quality applications reflecting continued excellence.”
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. Recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement as well as demonstrated leadership potential.
The U-M recipients include Mathieu Davis, who recently completed his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering. He will be in Stellenbosch, South Africa, about 30 minutes outside of Cape Town.
“Receiving the Fulbright was meaningful for me because broadening my scope and perspective of the world has always been something that is very important to me,” Davis said.
He plans to conduct heart valve biomechanics research at the University of Stellenbosch. Davis will also reimplement an after-school program that uses Legos to teach scientific principles to high schoolers. Finally, he will be involved in the establishment of a biomedical engineering department at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
“Being able to interact with scientists in a different cultural context will help me in my interactions, outlook and logistical approach to science applications,” Davis said.
U-M also topped the nation in Fulbright student grants in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010-12.
This year, Princeton University and Arizona State University were ranked behind U-M in a tie for third with 26 grantees.
A total 36 grants were offered to U-M students, but two declined the offer to accept other opportunities. Another two planned to go to Egypt, but the Fulbright program in that country was suspended for the 2013-14 year.
More than 1,800 American students, artists and young professionals in more than 100 different fields of study were offered Fulbright grants for projects in more than 140 countries worldwide beginning this fall.
In the past 67 years, more than 44,000 students from the U.S. have benefited from the Fulbright experience.
Fulbright program advisers at the International Institute provide individual advising to applicants throughout the application process.