Six receive 2009 Fulbright Scholarships
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7:57 a.m., May 19, 2009----Six University of Delaware students and recent alumni have received 2009 Fulbright Scholarships for research in Europe, South America and Southeast Asia.

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“The Fulbright Program is extremely prestigious and we are very excited that the University of Delaware has a strong presence in the Class of 2009,” said Lisa Chieffo, associate director of UD's Center for International Studies and Fulbright adviser.

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then-Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

University of Delaware Fulbright recipients are Megan Fisher, a senior in biological sciences who will work in Germany; Jared Larson, a doctoral student in political science and international relations who will work in Portugal; Timothy McKinnon, a doctoral student in linguistics who will work in Indonesia; James Augustine “Gus” Mercante, a 2003 UD graduate who will work in Germany; Megan Oberst, a 2007 UD graduate who will work in Argentina; and Susanna Wingard, a 2004 UD graduate who will work in Costa Rica.

Megan Fisher

Fisher will be in Germany from September through July 2010, taking classes at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen and conducting research with Jochen Graw at the Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen (German Research Center for Environmental Health), investigating the role of BetaB2-crystallin in intracellular signaling.

Jared Larson

Larson, a visiting instructor at Lebanon Valley College who is a doctoral student in UD's Department of Political Science and International Relations, will conduct research in Lisbon, Portugal, on the effects of Muslim immigration to Spain and Portugal.

Timothy McKinnon

McKinnon is working to save an endangered language on Sumatra, which is the largest island in Indonesia. He is documenting the Malay dialect known as Kerinci, which is spoken near the foot of Mount Kerinci, an active volcano that is the highest peak in Sumatra. His work will be conducted in affliliation with Atma Jaya University in Jakarta.

Gus Mercante

Mercante, a graduate of UD and the University of North Texas, is in Germany to study with Canadian soprano Edith Wiens, whom he met in 2006 while studying at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. He also will study the performance of African American spirituals with the renowned American singer Grace Bumbry, who now lives in Salzburg, and said that will allow him to further develop his demonstration recital Let It Shine, which brings spirituals and their messages to audiences of all backgrounds.

Megan Oberst

Oberst received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to teach English in Argentina from mid-March to December 2010. Oberst will work part-time as an English teacher and also will conduct a project, getting involved with the various immigrant communities that make up Argentina to get a better understanding of the assimilation process. She also proposed the idea of creating diversity workshops at the school in which she will be working, providing students opportunities to learn more about the cultural backgrounds of immigrant groups. Oberst said she was interested in working in Argentina because, like the U.S., it is a very heterogeneous society.

Susanna Wingard

Wingard, who is now a student at Southereastern Louisiana University, will travel to Costa Rica to study sea turtles. The main research objective of the project is to determine the incubation temperatures and sex ratios of olive ridley sea turtle hatchlings at areas of high and low nest densities at the mass nesting beach, Ostional, located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, she said. Determining the sex-ratios of hatchlings, the next generation of adults, is important in order to gain an improved understanding of this threatened species and for possible future management with regard to global climate change, she said.

UD faculty

UD faculty who served on the Fulbright interview committee with Chieffo were: Suzanne Austin, history; Peter Cole, linguistics; and Gary Laverty, biological sciences.

Article by Neil Thomas