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Matthew Anderson (left), pictured with Ahmed Badia, served as a
staff member for UD’s Middle East Partnership Initiative Student Leaders
Five University of Delaware students and alumni have been named recipients of 2020 Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards. An additional four UD students were selected as alternates.
The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is
the nation’s premier international education exchange program, designed
to foster mutual understanding between United States citizens and people
of other countries. The prestigious award allows young graduates and
graduate students the opportunity to conduct research, study or teach
English in more than 140 countries. UD’s Institute for Global Studies (IGS) annually administers internationally-recognized State Department public diplomacy programs.
Matthew Anderson is a senior Honors Three Languages major
and UD World Scholar. Anderson was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching
Assistantship (ETA) to Taiwan, where he will work with elementary or
middle school students in Taichung City.
No stranger to travel, Anderson studied abroad in Madrid, Spain
during his first semester of college, and later spent additional
semesters in Chengdu, China, and in Granada, Spain.
Anderson said he hopes to put down roots in his new host community.
“I am really looking forward to being able to build social networks more
deeply and to find my home,” he said. “Those are things that I got
little tastes of in Granada and in Chengdu. Now, I know that I have the
confidence and the skills necessary to put myself out there.”
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
Art conservation graduate student Isaac Messina surface cleans a late 15th-century Italian panel painting in the painting conservation studio at Winterthur.
Isaac Messina, a graduate student in the Winterthur/UD Program in Art Conservation, has received the Fulbright/American Friends of the Mauritshuis Award.
Offered to only one student each year, this exclusive internship is
jointly sponsored by the University of Amsterdam and the Royal Picture
In the Netherlands, Messina will focus on the conservation of
17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings. The world-renowned Mauritshuis
collection is home to mainstream masterpieces like Johannes Vermeer’s
"Girl with a Pearl Earring" and Carel Fabritius’s "Goldfinch."
“I am excited to have the opportunity at the Mauritshuis to not only
carry out the conservation treatment of a few major paintings, but also
to analyze these works from both a scientific and art historical
perspective. I will also be able to explore firsthand the landscapes and
culture of the art I will be conserving,” said Messina. “Fully
understanding the context and layers of these artworks is impossible
from a textbook or computer screen. By studying with conservators in the
Netherlands and being immersed in the place the paintings were created,
I will gain a deeper connection to the history and influences of these
artists. Seeking to understand, appreciate, and connect with a work of
art can only make you a better conservator.”
Leah Putman poses with a goat she gave to a neighbor in Rwanda.
Putman works in the country as the technical director for Sustainable
Leah Putman graduated from UD in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in
mechanical engineering and a minor in biomedical engineering. Since
then, she’s worked with W.L. Gore Associates and, most recently, as the technical director for Sustainable Health Enterprises in Rwanda. Next
year, Putman will embark on a new journey — a master’s degree in
strategic product development in the Netherlands — with the help of a
Fulbright Study Award.
“Over the course of my engineering career, I’ve seen that my
interests really lie in choosing and leading projects for appropriate
product development. Of course, ‘appropriate’ can have a myriad of
meanings based on the context of the market, company and user,” she
said. “I came across Delft University of Technology and knew their
program will help me develop the skills to navigate through the design
Putman said that the Fulbright award will help her grow personally
and professionally. “I tend to be introverted; however, the excitement,
challenge and newness of complete unfamiliarity makes me want and need
to engage with people and activities. When everything is outside your
comfort zone, you create a new one. I’m excited to do that again.”
Rebecca Ralston, a DuPont Scholar graduating this spring, has received
an English Teaching Assistantship to Malaysia. Rebecca is earning an
Honors Bachelor of Science with Distinction in wildlife ecology and
conservation, agriculture and natural resources in addition to an Honors
Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies; as a Dean’s Scholar she created a
major in environmental humanities. As an undergraduate, Rebecca
participated in the Summer Scholars Program, the Blue Hen Birding Club
and the UD Student Literacy Council. She also studied in Tanzania as a
part of the Winter 2018 Entomology and Wildlife Ecology program.
Catherine Zimmerman first traveled to Copenhagen as a UD study
abroad student. Next year, she will return with a Fulbright Research
A senior Honors neuroscience major, Catherine Zimmerman has received a
Fulbright Award to pursue research in public health at the University
of Copenhagen in Denmark.
“The research lab that I will be working in
focuses on the genetic components of metabolic disorders like obesity,
Type I and Type II diabetes from an epidemiological perspective,” said
Zimmerman. “I will be exploring whether we can predict obesity rates
based upon data from pregnant mothers.”
Zimmerman traveled to Denmark once before, as a UD student, taking
courses in psychopharmacology, social psychology, neuroimaging, and
European history. Outside of the classroom, she became inspired to
pursue her research in public health.
“I lived in a public health
living-learning community, where we spent time exploring the
similarities and differences between the U.S. and Danish healthcare
systems,” she said. “I think I am most looking forward to that moment
when I arrive back in Copenhagen. Leaving was incredibly difficult, but
the ability to return to Denmark with Fulbright is a dream.”
In addition to UD’s five Fulbright grantees, the following were also recognized:
For future applicants, this year’s recipients advise:
“Plan early. I had a couple of appointments with the Institute for
Global Studies (IGS), and that was really helpful. I had already
started working at the Writing Center and with the ELI to gain
experience in teaching English. But from then on, I definitely started
to think about how I could develop more relevant experience.” — Matthew Anderson
“Build your network. The first thing I wanted to do when I
received my award was to thank everyone who had helped me during the
process. As I was looking at the list, I realized that there were so
many people who helped me — professors, mentors, IGS and Honors staff.
There are so many connections out there who can give you advice,
especially about Fulbright.” — Catherine Zimmerman
“Get to know yourself. Putting yourself into unknown territory
with some limited support can be thrilling and terrifying. Once you
learn that you can thrive in these environments, you’re ready for a
program like Fulbright. Describing those experiences that prepared you
will demonstrate that you are a great candidate who can make the most of
such an opportunity.” — Leah Putman
“An interesting challenge of the Fulbright application is that we
propose to do very specific work, but are reviewed by committees that
are not necessarily experts in our field. You have to be careful not to
include too much jargon, but to demonstrate your passion, experience,
and interest in engaging with the host community.” — Isaac Messina
Interested students are invited to attend a Fulbright Interest Meeting
on Tuesday, June 2 at 3:30 p.m. with UD alumna and Fulbright Alumni
Ambassador, Gerti Wilson, and IGS Interim Director, Lisa Chieffo.
Students and alumni hoping to apply during the fall of 2020 for a
Fulbright Award are encouraged to meet UD’s priority deadline of July 10
in order to receive summer mentorship and advising. For more
information, visit the IGS website.
Article by Nikki Laws
Photos by Nikki Laws, Katerina Acuna and courtesy of Leah Putman and Catherine Zimmerman
May 29, 2020