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Archive for Monday, July 4, 2005

7 KU students named Fulbright scholars

July 4, 2005

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Garth Myers can add a rare feat to his resume.

Myers, a Kansas University associate professor of geography and African and African-American studies, is adviser to not one, but two Fulbright scholarship winners in the same year.

"They're both outstanding students," Myers said. "I don't get any credit for it, other than their thanks. In some ways, these are like my children, academically speaking."

The doctoral students in geography - Angela Gray and Sarah Smiley - are two of the seven Kansas University students and recent graduates who received prestigious Fulbright grants for the 2005-06 school year.

The U.S. Student Fulbright Program awards approximately 1,000 grants annually and sends students to 140 countries worldwide. The grants provide funding for travel, health and accident insurance, tuition and research funding for one year.

KU's seven student Fulbrights are two fewer than last year. Since the program started in 1946, KU has had 388 KU student Fulbright winners.

A separate Fulbright program awards grants for faculty research in other countries.

The student Fulbright recipients study a wide variety of subjects, often as part of their doctoral dissertations.

Gray, for instance, will examine the implications of refugees from Mozambique and Angola on cities in eastern Zambia. She'll spend 10 months there starting in September or October.

"Without the Fulbright ... I wouldn't be able to be there on the ground, and that's pretty much the key," said Gray, who is from Sioux City, Iowa.

Smiley, meanwhile, will study the portrayal of the city of Dar es Salaam in Tanzanian media.

"There's no way I could afford to go there for 10 months, with the plane ticket, rent and living expenses," said Smiley, who is from Lexington, Ky. "It would be overwhelming to do that. The Fulbright makes it possible to go."

The other KU recipients for the 2005-06 years are:

¢ Thomas Reid, a December graduate in Latin American studies and environmental studies from Lenexa, who will study models of governance emerging from the European Union, specifically involving environmental issues.

¢ Ashleigh Klingman, a May graduate in environmental policy and Spanish from Wichita, who will study the cultural beliefs and environmental values of local fishermen in Ecuador, to measure how they may threaten the "pristine" islands.

¢ Amanda Rogers, a May graduate with a degree in art history from Wichita, who will study the symbolism of henna body painting in Moroccan society, focusing on gender relations.

¢ Emily Stewart, a May graduate in violin performance from Kansas City, Mo., who plans to study at the Geneva Conservatory, concentrating on the works of composers such as Johannes Brahms, Gabriel Faure and Ernest Bloch.

¢ Michael Johnson, a doctoral student in Slavic languages and literature from Fallon, Nev., who will study the Polish playwright Stanislaw Przybyszewski's work in Russia from 1898 to 1914.

Diana Carlin, dean of the Graduate School and international programs, said KU's Fulbright numbers have been strong in recent years.

"Given the size of the university, in terms of both raw numbers and proportion, we're up there in the top," Carlin said. "We're a leader nationally."

She said the seven KU students who received Fulbright grants would have an added advantage when it came to their future employment and research.

"For those who want to pursue international research, it serves as a head start for them," she said. "There's a prestige factor. It never hurts to be a Fulbright scholar. It carries a lot of weight."

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