WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Nine Purdue University students and alumni have received grant offers from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for 2020-21.
These Fulbright student grants fully fund a postbaccalaureate year for graduate students and alumni to forge international bonds through research, graduate study or teaching English abroad. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on international travel, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program has delayed the start of these grants to Jan. 1.
Will Austin, Maya Black, Rachel Delmontagne, Madeline Henderson and Lucinda Ray received offers for an English teaching assistantship. Glynn Gallaway, Eryn Sale, Andrew Santos and Geoffrey Williams received offers of research grants.
Purdue students apply for the highly prestigious grants through the National and International Scholarships Office, which is housed in the Honors College.
“Purdue students and alumni display balance in that they are outstanding scholars, have deep intercultural experience, and are engaged in their communities, hallmarks of the Fulbright program,” said Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. “This is a substantial investment in extraordinary students, who will effectively use the Fulbright experiences to progress toward their own giant leaps.”
Austin, from Austin, Texas, graduated from Purdue in May 2019 from the College of Science and the College of Agriculture with a bachelor’s degree in health and disease, and entomology, and is now a graduate student. He has set his sights on Thailand, where he will be teaching English, with a goal to gain an intercultural perspective on tropical diseases. This will enhance his ability to combat neglected tropical disease in the future.
Black, from Imperial, Pennsylvania, is a graduating senior in the College of Science and the Honors College with majors in genetics and cell, molecular, and developmental biology. She applied to teach English in Spain. She is a leader in scholarly approaches to diversity, as well as an excellent researcher. As a student diversity officer in the Honors College, she led a variety of workshops, film screenings, and panel discussions related to diversity, equality, and social justice. Upon return to the United States, she intends to enter the medical field.
Delmontagne, from Ashburn, Virginia, is a Purdue alumna with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the College of Engineering and the Honors College. She applied to teach English in Spain. Delmontagne is no stranger to intercultural experiences – since her graduation in 2018, she has been working in Ghana, first with the Peace Corps, then as a math teacher. During her time as a student, she was a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship and the Navy Supply Corps Foundation Scholarship.
Gallaway, from Fairview, Texas, is a graduating senior in the College of Engineering, with a major in mechanical engineering. Her Fulbright offer is to research tissue engineering in Germany. This would not be her first experience in Germany. In the summer of 2019, she completed a visiting student research project in Leibniz University Hannover, developing tissue-engineered membranes in order to mimic native tissues of the human body.
Henderson, from Trenton, Illinois, is a graduating senior in the College of Engineering and the Honors College, with a major in biomedical engineering. She was selected for a Fulbright to teach English in India. Henderson is focused on sustainability, a field she intends to enter as an engineer in the biomedical industry. Her experience in this regard includes serving in the Purdue Student Sustainability Council, which in turn included partnerships with the City of West Lafayette and the Go Greener Commission.
Ray, from Fishers, Indiana, is a graduating senior in the College of Liberal Arts and the Honors College with majors in linguistics and French. Her Fulbright offer is to teach English in Moldova. She has also worked as an English teaching volunteer for children in Poland and as an assistant English teacher for adults in Russia. Her ambitions abroad reach further than the Fulbright offer itself – she hopes to attain expertise in intercultural experiences with a long-term goal to work in foreign relations.
Sale, from Lafayette, Indiana, is a graduating senior in the College of Science with a major in neurobiology and physiology, and a second major in genetics. Her Fulbright offer is to study cell types in the brain through the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience in Norway. On a Fulbright, she will also engage with the public dissemination of the institute’s work, via video platforms and blogs, aiming to communicate neuroscience to the general public. This is especially fitting for Sale, as her interests lie at the intersection between biophysics and public policy.
Santos, from Valparaiso, Indiana, is a graduating senior in the College of Science and the Honors College with a major in physics and astronomy. His Fulbright offer is to research neutrinos with the Leprince-Ringuet Laboratory (LLR) at École Polytechnique in France. This is a natural extension of experimental work for Santos, who worked on neutrino oscillations in a summer REU program in astrophysics, and has served as president for both Purdue Impact Theory, a student science communications organization, and for the Purdue Science Student Council.
Williams, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a graduate student in the College of Agriculture, pursing a Ph.D. in forestry and natural resources. His Fulbright offer is to investigate the potential role of bark- and wood-feeding beetles to forest mortality events. On a Fulbright, he will collaborate with Centro Investigación y Extensión Forestal Andino Patagónico in Esquel, Argentina. His work as a graduate student thus far has earned him honors such as the Fred M. Van Eck Memorial Scholarship and the Investments in Excellence Seed Grant.
From its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has fostered bilateral relationships in which citizens and governments of other countries work with the U.S. to foster international collaboration in the arts and sciences by awarding grants for students to conduct research in a host country or teach English abroad. This signature U.S. program was established following the end of World War II, and is funded by the U.S. State Department.
These Purdue alumni will join the distinguished ranks of innovators, artists and intellectuals who have participated in the Fulbright’s mission of cultural exchange. Fulbright alumni from around the world have occupied key roles in government, academia, and industry. This includes 86 who have received the Pulitzer Prize, 75 MacArthur Fellows, 60 Nobel Prize recipients, 37 who have served as head of state or government, 10 elected to U.S. Congress, and one Secretary General of the United Nations.
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