U-M among top universities for Fulbright students, faculty


More than two dozen University of Michigan students and faculty scholars have been awarded Fulbright grants for the 2022-23 academic year, putting the university among the top-producing institutions in the country for both programs. 

The grants — one of the U.S. government’s most prestigious awards — will fund overseas research for 15 students and 10 faculty scholars from the Ann Arbor and Dearborn campuses for six to 12 months.

Paul Draus, professor of sociology and anthropology in UM-Dearborn’s College of Arts, Sciences and Letters, has been in Lithuania since January to build on some of his previous work and explore connections he had developed in local communities.

“I am spending a lot of time with a community group based in the Šančiai neighborhood of Kaunas, Lithuania, learning about their negotiation process with the city government concerning neighborhood development and visioning,” he said. “I am also participating in an original community opera. They will perform in Rotterdam in April.”

Photo of Paul Draus standing at a table with four other people
Paul Draus of UM-Dearborn (second from left) rehearses an opera with a community group in the Šančiai neighborhood of Kaunas, Lithuania. (Photo by Magnetine Fotostudija)

In addition, Draus is providing some guest lectures on topics such as global human rights, social change, creative cities and the sociology of the body.

U-M 2022-23 Fulbright faculty scholars
  • Ann Arbor campus

    Reuven Avi-Yonah, Avern L. and Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law and professor of law, Law School
    Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

    Katherine Bauer, associate professor of nutritional sciences, School of Public Health
    University of Guelph, Canada

    David Bradley, Macdonald Dick, II M.D. Research Professor of Pediatrics, professor of pediatrics, Medical School
    University of Rwanda, College of Medicine and Health Sciences; Rwanda

    Alexandra Paige Fischer, associated professor of environment and sustainability, School of Environment and Sustainability
    Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile

    Rumaan Malhotra, graduate student instructor, LSA
    National Centre for Biological Sciences; India

    Sherri Sheinfeld Gorin, research professor in family medicine, Medical School; and research professor in health behavior and health education, School of Public Health
    Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

    Scott Spector, Rudolf Mrazek Collegiate Professor of History and German Studies, and professor of Germanic languages and literatures, of history and of Judaic studies, LSA
    University of Salzburg, Austria
  • UM-Dearborn

    Daniel Davis, professor of linguistics, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters
    Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines

    Paul Draus, professor of sociology and anthropology, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters
    Vytautus Magnus University, Lithuania

    Kristian Stewart, lecturer II in composition and rhetoric, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters
    University of Peloponnese, Greece

“Next month, I will also deliver a public lecture at the Valdas Adamkus Presidential Library and Museum, focusing on environmental remediation, community engagement and green redevelopment along the Rouge River,” he said.

“Finally, I am also working with colleagues to develop some workshops for graduate and undergraduate students that introduce them to practice-based learning and community-based research methodologies while also helping to connect local community partners to the university.” 

Other U-M scholars and students are already or will be studying in Germany, Mexico, South Korea and Italy, among others. Their interests range from designing and planning public health care supply chains in emerging countries to emotion and behavior dynamics in offspring of parents with bipolar disorder to how some sports achievements link with sports fans’ own memory and imagination.

“I’m so pleased to join in honoring U-M’s outstanding Fulbright students and faculty scholars,” President Santa J. Ono said. “The Fulbrights are among the most prestigious recognitions made in academia, and in addition to being exemplars of scholastic excellence, these individuals will be leaders in advancing policy, building understanding and creating a better future.”

The Fulbright Program was established more than 75 years ago to increase mutual understanding between the United States and people of other countries. Operating through the U.S. Department of State, it is the government’s flagship international educational exchange program. It is also among the world’s largest and most diverse exchange programs.

Since its inception in 1946, more than 400,000 participants from all backgrounds and fields — including recent university graduates, teachers, scientists, researchers, artists and others from the United States and more than 160 other countries — have participated in the Fulbright Program.

Fulbright alumni have returned to their home countries to impact their communities thanks to their expanded worldview, a deep appreciation for their host country and its people, and a more extensive network of colleagues and friends.

A recent graduate of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the School of Social Work, Neha Allathur moved to Aalborg in northern Denmark in August. She is taking graduate courses in mobility and urban studies at Aalborg University and conducting research through her Fulbright grant until May. 

“I am at the top research facility in urban mobility in Europe and very excited to be working in this environment alongside the team here,” Allathur said.

“My research is centered around mobility justice. COVID-19 recovery accelerated sustainable urban transitions globally, so I am investigating how cities in transition to sustainable urban development affect different communities and serve human mobility needs, focusing on urban streets in Denmark.”

Allathur is working with the municipality and looking at three social dimensions: accessibility, affordability and safety/social acceptability.

“My goal is to map out multimodal urban street design scenarios and translate them into a report with possible implementation in the context of U.S. cities,” she said. “Beyond that, I want to continue immersing myself in my local Danish community and expanding my knowledge of urban mobility inequities and development.

“And because of my background in finance and social work, my long-term goal after my Fulbright is to leverage impact investing in pushing for equitable and sustainable urban development in U.S. cities.”

Photo of Neha Allathur standing with three other women
Neha Allathur (second from left) and her municipality team in Aalborg, Denmark. (Photo courtesy of Neha Allathur)

Recent graduate students Bo Shimmin and Ellie Schmidt are spending six months abroad through the Fulbright grant.

Shimmin is in Florence, Italy, conducting research and performing in collaboration with the conservatory “Luigi Cherubini.” Schmidt is in Fiji, traveling to villages to fish with local fishermen. She is working on a filmmaking project about the traditional ecological knowledge of female fishermen.

“I have been able to visit villages on different islands and have been fishing for reef fish and sea urchins,” Schmidt said. “My goals are to learn about the wonderful country of Fiji, to learn conversational Fijian, to practice my filmmaking skills and to make friends. I hope to help support the sharing of women’s stories in Fiji through film.”

Photo of Ellie Schmidt behind a camera with four boys
Ellie Schmidt works on a film project in Fiji. (Photo courtesy of Ellie Schmidt)

Shimmin is on his second Fulbright grant. The first one was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“My grant project includes programming and completing three full-length recitals featuring African American and African diaspora repertoire,” he said. “My interests also lie in 20th-century Italian art songs written after Puccini. I also aim to introduce more of this music into the conservatory culture here.” 

Shimmin gave two recitals during his four months in Florence and opened his own salon concert series.

“I have six concerts planned for the remainder of the grant and have no intention of slowing down,” he said. “Through the Fulbright, my love and appreciation for this country have grown much stronger. I want to return to the states to complete my doctorate studies in voice.

“In the meantime, I will be relocating to Milan at the end of the year to begin work as a freelance musician and opera singer. My goal is to remain here long term. I can’t imagine leaving anytime soon.”


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