University of Delaware



UD ranks third in study abroad participation

Kayla Volpe

UD's Kayla Volpe contributed this image to the 2012 study abroad photo contest. It was taken at Luvoyo Day Care Center in Pretoria, South Africa.

The University of Delaware ranks third in study abroad participation among U.S. public doctoral institutions, according to the 2012 Open Doors report issued by the Institute of International Education. During the 2010-11 academic year, more than one of every three UD students (34.7 percent) studied abroad. Most pursued short-term programs of eight weeks or less.

According to Nancy Guerra, associate provost for international programs and director of the Institute for Global Studies, UD is continuing to develop and enhance its study abroad programs by engaging students in research, service and internship activities overseas, as well as domestically.

“Through programs in Africa to India to Washington, D.C., our students have the opportunity to put their knowledge and talent to work as they learn firsthand about other cultures,” Guerra said. “It’s a powerful combination that connects students to communities and gives students a deeper understanding of the world-a perspective increasingly important to future careers.”

Overseas study continues to be popular among UD students, and increasing numbers of international students also want to come to UD. The University welcomed 3,350 of the 3,754 international students reported for the state of Delaware in 2010-11. Their leading countries of origin included China (48.8 percent), Saudi Arabia (14.8 percent), India (6.8 percent), South Korea (5.8 percent) and Turkey (2.7 percent). The students’ economic contributions to the state were estimated at $104.8 million.


Clinton Global Initiative sparks projects

Marta Shakhazizian wants to inspire healthier food choices

Through her “Junk Kills” campaign, Marta Shakhazizian wants to inspire healthier food choices.

The images in Marta Shakhazizian’s photographic campaign are shocking. Her message is simple: “Junk kills. Eat responsibly.”

“Today, one in every three children in America is overweight or obese,” says Shakhazizian, who is from Lincoln University, Pa. “Even scarier, if left unabated, obesity will surpass smoking as the number-one leading cause of death in the U.S.”

Shakhazizian is one of eight UD representatives who were selected to share their ideas at the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) meeting held this past April at Washington University in St. Louis.

UD recently joined this network of more than 30 universities, which was founded by former U.S. president Bill Clinton to engage the next generation of leaders in solving world problems. Over 1,000 students from around the globe met to discuss their “Commitment to Action” proposals and formulate concrete plans for implementation.

Thanks to seed project funding from the Institute for Global Studies, Shakhazizian is now working to put her proposal for a healthy eating campaign in motion. She plans to start with the UD campus and then strengthen the campaign each year to eventually make a national impact.

“In the midst of the obesity epidemic, my goal is to publicize the inescapable health problems we will face if we do not make a change,” she says. “I hope to inspire adolescents to make healthier food choices, and, in effect, spread a message that is very dear to my heart.”

Two other UD students received seed funding for their projects. Senior Mike Wilson, from Wilmington, Del., recently returned to college after a 31-year career at Hewlett-Packard to work on a bachelor’s degree in anthropology (to add to his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and an MBA). He designed the Pre-kindergarten Reading Encouragement Project, or “PREP,” to help pre-schoolers from low-income families get off to a stronger start as learners, as research has shown how early literacy translates into better high school graduation rates and higher earnings.

Through PREP, Wilson wants to provide three- and four-year-olds from low-income backgrounds at two preschools in inner-city Wilmington with kits filled with letter and number activities and a subscription to a children’s magazine to increase their in-home reading and their potential for success in kindergarten and elementary school.

Sergio Pino, doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering, and fellow students Erwing Cardozo and Irene Gutierrez-all from Bucaramanga, Colombia-aim to create “Farms of Hope” to aid people who have been forced to abandon their homes and livelihoods as a result of internal conflict. Colombia has 3.9 million internally displaced persons, among the highest in the world.

“We want to put into practice a sustainable model that will be economically supported by means of local farming and food processing activities, making it possible for displaced persons to pursue a self-sustainable life,” Pino says.

Faculty and students at UD and the Industrial University of Santander in Colombia will partner on the project, to begin near the students’ hometown.


Five win Fulbrights

Four UD faculty and one student recently won Fulbrights-the prestigious awards made by the U.S. State Department to support international educational exchange.


Maria Aristigueta, the Charles P. Messick Professor of Public Administration, spent six weeks at the University of Salerno in Italy this past fall, teaching graduate coursework in organizational behavior, doing research in performance management, and working with admin- istrators to develop curricula and strengthen collaborations.

Elizabeth Hetterly, an Honors Degree with Distinction candidate in biological sciences from Bear, Del., will study public health in India this summer, specifically poor women’s access to prenatal health care in Mumbai. Previous research abroad by Hetterly, a Dean’s Scholar in Global Health and Social Justice, led to her senior thesis on maternal health in Bangladesh.

William Matthaeus, professor of physics and astronomy, will head to Buenos Aires, Argentina, this August to teach an intensive four-week graduate course in plasma physics at the University of Buenos Aires, the largest university in Latin America. The course will have applications in space physics, weather forecasting and industrial flows.

While at Tampere University of Technology in Finland for the past several months, Christopher Meehan, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been investigating geothermal energy solutions for reducing the heating and cooling costs of buildings, as well as teaching and co-advising graduate students.

Robert Opila, professor of materials science and engineering, traveled to Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, last fall to develop and teach a course in solid-state materials. He also challenged students to examine the role of renewable energy in rapidly developing Turkey and propose a roadmap to increase its use in the country. ’s Scholar in Global Health and Social Justice, led to her senior thesis on maternal health in Bangladesh.


Video contest winners announced

first place winner

Molly Rosen, a junior from Wilmington, Del., took first place for her video of study abroad in Athens, Greece.

During Winter Session, the Institute for Global Studies invited UD students on study abroad programs to participate in a different kind of contest documenting their experiences. Instead of photographs, students were encouraged to submit short videos on the theme “Global Citizens.”

Students were challenged to capture within a three-minute time limit how they became globally engaged, continuing the University’s prestigious 90-year tradition of study abroad.

Molly Rosen, a junior health sciences major from Wilmington, Del., won first place for her video showcasing the program in Athens, Greece, with its emphasis on Greek art, history, literature and culture. The video shows the students immersing themselves in the energetic cosmopolitan metropolis.

Second place went to Louis Staats of Lewisville, Pa., who completed his bachelor of fine arts degree upon returning to UD from the program in Cambodia and Vietnam, which taught students documentary photography. “OUR Perspective” is part of a mini-documentary he made about the culture and lifestyle of the Cambodian people.

The winners received cash prizes of $100 and $75, respectively. Scan the QR code at left with your smart phone to view the winning video.-Elizabeth Adams


Moroccan ambassador hosts students

Moroccan Ambassador Rachad Bouhlal

Moroccan Ambassador Rachad Bouhlal admires a gift from UD students.

Professor Audrey Helfman’s recent study abroad program in Morocco was like nothing she or her UD students had experienced before.

Rachad Bouhlal, Moroccan ambassador to the U.S., arranged for formal VIP meetings with two walis, provincial governors nominated by the king, as well as briefings by members of their executive staffs. Helfman, an associate professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration who teaches leadership skills, also met with the vice chancellor of the University of Marrakesh, which enrolls nearly 63,000 students.

It all began with a meeting between Bouhlal and a few UD faculty, which was organized last autumn by the Institute for Global Studies and the office of U.S. Sen. Chris Coons.

Bouhlal became “an immediate friend to the University,” Helfman says, noting that the ambassador personally contacted hotel owners and speakers to insure the UD group had an all-around great experience in Morocco.

Upon their return, Bouhlal hosted the group at his Washington, D.C., home, where students informed him about their trip and discussed everything from the lavish lunch spread to the paintings on his walls.

“He was delightful in his interest in the students,” says Helfman. “And we had a very different-a better, far more interesting experience- in Morocco because he was involved.”


UD experts selected as Salzburg Fellows

UD Salzburg Fellows

From left, Carolee Polek, Dawn Fallik and Matthew Weinert are UD’s 2013 Salzburg Fellows

Three UD experts will join colleagues from around the world at the Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria this year to discuss solutions to world challenges, from human rights to health care.

Founded in 1947 to encourage intellectual engagement with post-war Europe, the Salzburg Global Seminar today selects “imaginative thinkers” to engage in candid discussions of world issues and test ideas for solutions during weeklong sessions at the picturesque Schloss Leopoldskron. This famous 18th-century rococo palace was filmed as the home of the von Trapp family in the movie The Sound of Music.

Selected as a Presidential Fellow, Dawn Fallik, assistant professor of journalism, will lecture and participate in discussions with journalism faculty and students at the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, July 21-August 10.

Since 2007, more than 300 students from five continents and 50 faculty and deans from 21 universities have attended this academy focusing on the media’s role in global society. Its aim is to create a global media literacy curriculum, complete with case studies, questions for critical thinking and analysis, and sample student assignments.

Also selected as a Presidential Fellow, Matthew Weinert, associate professor of political science, will participate in “LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps.” This seminar, on June 2-7, will bring together 60 people with diverse professional and civic backgrounds, 40 from non-Western nations, to explore the evolving moral, legal, social and political landscape surrounding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. The participants are expected to present a Salzburg Statement on next steps to the United Nations, the Council of Europe and other international bodies.

Nations are struggling to provide effective, efficient health care. Carolee Polek, associate professor of nursing, received a University of Delaware fellowship to attend “The Drive for Universal Health Coverage: Ensuring Greater Access to High-Value Care” on Dec. 8-13.

Participants will analyze the proposition that structured teams delivering health care, with patient engagement an integral part of that teamwork, lie at the core of success. Case studies will suggest ways of generating innovative redesigns of care, as well as systems for evaluating them.