University of Michigan faculty scholars received 12 Fulbright grants for the 2017-18 academic year, the most of any research university in the nation.
The grants — one of the U.S. government’s most prestigious awards — fund the scholars’ research or teaching overseas for six to 12 months. Their interests include studying mental health in Croatia and the history of drama in the Democratic Republic of Congo, among other areas of research.
Fulbrights were also awarded to 25 U-M students, the most among public universities for the 13th straight year. Overall, U-M is tied for third among all public and private institutions.
This year, the students are studying issues ranging from the health-care system for Syrian refugees in Birmingham, England, to bilingual education for university students in Ecuador.
“I applaud our Fulbright scholars and students for their work to enhance cultural appreciation and achieve positive impact in countries around the globe,” said President Mark Schlissel. “U-M’s leadership in international education advances the highest values of peace and understanding, while demonstrating our longstanding commitment to intellectual engagement that knows no borders.”
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright program seeks to increase the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. 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 has been crucial to the university’s Fulbright success. They provide individual advising and resources necessary to put forth a compelling and competitive application to applicants throughout the application process.
“This year’s outstanding results demonstrate the university’s enduring commitment to international education, and the International Institute is a proud partner in the goal to connect our leaders and best to the world,” said Elizabeth Dutridge-Corp, Fulbright program adviser at the International Institute.
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 include Chiamaka Ukachukwu, who is spending time at the de Duve Institute in Belgium to study how disease-causing bacteria protect themselves in the presence of stress, such as medical treatments designed to treat human infections.
“My Fulbright grant gave me an opportunity to work in the lab of Jean-Francois Collet, a world-renowned expert in microbiology and bacterial physiology, to study antibiotic resistance and contribute my expertise in a high-impact research project,” she said.
Another grantee, Clara Cullen, is in Ecuador working on the prevention of violence against women with researchers from the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and the Fundación Azulado.
“With all the global conversations about sexual abuse at the moment, it is incredible to be on the front line contributing to tangible changes on the issue,” Cullen said. “Fulbright has provided me the support and academic freedom to explore my interests alongside highly knowledgeable professionals and researchers in a way that would never have been possible otherwise.”