Eleven Johns Hopkins University students and recent graduates will have the opportunity to travel abroad to such places as Germany, Malaysia, and Peru to study, teach, and conduct research after recently being named Fulbright Scholars.
Named for the late Sen. J. William Fulbright, who sponsored legislation creating the prestigious scholarship, the Fulbright Scholar Program is the country's largest educational exchange program, offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and school teaching worldwide. Approximately 8,000 grants are awarded each year, and the program operates in more than 155 countries.
"For several years Johns Hopkins has been a top-producing university for the Fulbright, and this year, again, we've done very well," said Kelly Barry, the university's scholarship and fellowship officer. "I am exuberant for our Fulbright winners."
Barry said that although the application process required candidates to speculate in detail about their Fulbright experience, they can't really imagine what's ahead.
"That's as it should be," Barry said. "Fulbrighters always report that the experience exceeds their expectations."
With the Fulbright Study/Research grant, a student designs a proposal for a specific country. The program aims to facilitate cultural exchange and promote mutual understanding by supporting study or research abroad.
The Johns Hopkins winners are:
Sarah-Blythe Ballard, a physician, is a PhD student at the Bloomberg School of Public Health in international health/global disease epidemiology. She was awarded a Fulbright grant to Peru, where she will conduct research on norovirus in children at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia. Ballard's study of pediatric diarrhea pathogens in Peru aims to identify the norovirus variants that cause severe disease, leading to the reduction of diarrhea-associated morbidity and mortality through locally relevant vaccines and improved child health.
Joshua Bowen, a PhD candidate in Near Eastern Studies researching Assyriology, received a Fulbright grant to Germany. There Bowen will translate and contextualize more than 130 liturgical tablets from the ancient city of Kiš, which have resisted translation due to their fragmentary state and enigmatic Sumerian dialect. His work on this neglected Sumerian corpus will help to illuminate Mesopotamian religious practices. Following his Fulbright year, Bowen plans to seek an academic position.
Shayer Chowdhury, a senior finishing a degree in biomedical engineering and applied math and statistics, won a Fulbright grant to Bangladesh. He will examine the engineering and technological innovation behind the SONO filter, an approach to fixing the arsenic problem in Bangladesh. The SONO filter treats unclean water drawn from contaminated tubewells and has been widely successful for its cheap cost and convenience. Chowdhury will study the design and implementation of the SONO filter, while also interacting with doctors at a hospital who treat arsenic poisoning patients. After his Fulbright year, Chowdhury intends to begin medical school.
Ryan Cotterell, a PhD candidate in the Department of Computer Science, received a Fulbright grant to Germany to spend a year at the University of Munich researching computational morphology and its application to machine translation. Statistical approaches to machine translation (MT) have shown themselves to be effective in the last few years. However, when translating into a morphologically rich language, such as German, the paradigm breaks down. It has been shown that direct incorporation of morphological information into the MT pipeline improves performance. Cotterell will seek to use semi-supervised technique to induct morphological grammars to improve on recent supervised approaches.
Claire Cravero, a 2011 graduate with a BA in international studies, received a Fulbright to Malaysia. Her research will focus on how integrating mobile technology can better empower immigrant communities in Malaysia to take responsibility for their health and healthcare. Cravero, who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in preventative health in Senegal from 2012 to 2014, hopes to use her Fulbright research project as a starting point for a graduate dissertation on mobile technology use in public health. After graduate school Cravero hopes to serve as a Foreign Service Officer embedded in USAID in South East Asia or the Middle East.
Bayly Winder, a senior majoring in political science, received a Fulbright grant to Kuwait to study the diwaniyya, intellectual forums. Through visits to a variety of diwaniyyas and interviews with mostly college-aged Kuwaitis, he will research the ways in which this central sociocultural institution is evolving in light of social media and globalization. Winder, who spent junior year abroad in Qatar, plans to attend graduate school and study the international relations of the Middle East with a particular emphasis on security studies and the Arabic language. He hopes to join the State Department and work as Foreign Service Officer.
The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant programs place students in schools overseas to supplement local English language instruction and to provide a native speaker presence in the classrooms.
The Johns Hopkins winners are:
Daniel Lasman, a graduating senior with a degree in international studies and minors in Spanish and economics. He spent a semester of his junior year in Madrid and will spend next year teaching English in the Cantabria region. Dan plans to attend law school and practice a form of international trade or immigration law.
Leila Collins, a senior graduating with a BA in anthropology and political science, spent a semester of her junior studying in Istanbul and will return to Turkey next year to teach English. She intends to pursue a graduate degree in cultural anthropology.
Jonathan Hettleman, a senior completing his BA in political science and English. He is also captain of the Men's Varsity Baseball team. Hettleman will teach English in Vietnam next year and then attend law school.
Alexandra (Sasha) Guttentag, a 2012 graduate with a degree in public health and Spanish. Since then she has worked as a paralegal and high school instructor. Next year she will teach English in Brazil. A student of multiple languages and an avid traveler, Guttentag plans to pursue a career in teaching.
Michelle LeMeur, a 2011 graduate with a degree in international studies who has worked at an educational non-profit. She will teach English in Malaysia next year. After her Fulbright year, LeMeur plans to go to business school and work in an educational travel program.
Approximately 325,400 students, 122,800 from the United States and 202,600 from other countries, have been awarded Fulbright grants since the program's inception in 1946.
The Fulbright is administered by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.