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Dec. 8, 2015

Nine students receive Fulbright grants

The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded funding to two MSU doctoral students, Elizabeth Timbs and Alyssa Morley, to support their research under the fiscal year 2015 Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad program.

This year’s program has awarded $3 million to 86 advanced doctoral students at 42 U.S. universities.

“International collaboration helps students develop global competencies necessary to succeed in the 21st century,” said Jamienne Studley, deputy undersecretary of education.
The goal of DDRA grants is to deepen knowledge of areas of the world not generally included in U.S. educational programs and to build a cadre of students, educators and other professionals with deep global expertise.

Timbs, a doctoral candidate in history, drawing on her advanced isiZulu language training and her pre-dissertation research, will spend 11 months in South Africa researching the complex history of male circumcision and its contemporary implications for Zulu cultural identity and public health policy in the age of HIV-AIDS.

She came to MSU from George Mason University, where she earned her master’s degree in comparative world history. Timbs’ bachelor’s degree in history is from Belmont University in Nashville, where she received the Outstanding Senior History Major award. At MSU, Peter Alegi, a noted social historian of South Africa, has guided her work.

Morley, a doctoral candidate in educational policy, spent three years teaching in the Peace Corps in Malawi and has conducted educational field research in Malawi and Tanzania. She has been awarded 12 months of DDRA funding to explore the real work of teachers responding to demands placed by outside forces. Drawing on her advanced training in the Malawian language Chichewa, Morley’s dissertation will be one of the first to explore this issue in a poor country.

Morley came to the MSU doctoral program with a University Distinguished Fellowship, an award given each year by MSU’s Graduate School to the top 50 incoming graduate students. A graduate of the Herbert Henry Dow High School in Midland, Morley received her bachelor’s degree with high honors in social science from Elon University. Professors Amita Chudgar and Lynn Paine have guided her work at MSU, both of whom are noted scholars of global education policies.

Earlier this year, MSU was notified that seven students had been awarded funding under the U.S. Student Fulbright program, a competition funded by the State Department and managed by the Institute for International Education. Four of the students are doctoral candidates who will use the fellowship to collect dissertation data. Brian Van Wyck, a doctoral student in history, is in Germany researching the Turkish minority there. John Mistead, also a doctoral student in history, is in Mexico, researching 19th century Afro-Mexican political culture. Julie Fleishman, a certified medical examiner and anthropology doctoral student, will document Khmer Rouge atrocities by examining cranial remains in Cambodia. Sabrina Perlman, a doctoral student in anthropology will leave in February for her dissertation research on diabetes care in Ghana.

Evan Milton, a fourth-year medical student in the College of Human Medicine, will use his Fulbright year in Honduras to study ways to improve the delivery of medical care there. Ethan Shirley, a graduate student in fisheries and wildlife, will use his to conduct pre-dissertation research in Brazil. Sarah Garman, an elementary education major with minors in German and English as a Second Language, was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Germany where she will work with a local English teacher.

More than 100,000 Americans have received Fulbright awards since the program began in 1948. Alongside the research and teaching assignments for which they have applied, Fulbright grantees represent the United States as cultural ambassadors while overseas, helping to advance mutual understanding between Americans and the people of their chosen countries.

By: Rachel Warner