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Five KU students win prestigious Fulbright awards

Thursday, May 17, 2012

LAWRENCE — Five University of Kansas students have received prestigious Fulbright awards for research, study or teaching English as an assistant abroad for the 2012-13 academic year.

The Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The U.S. Student Fulbright program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide. Fulbright grants provide funding for round-trip travel, maintenance for one academic year, health and accident insurance and, where relevant, tuition. Since the program’s inception in 1946, 437 KU students, including this year’s awardees, have been awarded Fulbrights.

The Office of International Programs coordinates applications for Fulbright grants. The KU recipients are listed below:

Erin Atwood, of Topeka, graduated in May 2012 with a bachelor’s in genetics. She has received a Fulbright grant to Peru, where she will be affiliated with the Centro Ann Sullivan in Lima and will enroll in classes at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru. Atwood’s research will involve administering for the first time preliminary hearing screenings for the children and adults at the Center in order to recommend further interventions and ways to modify an individual’s classroom or home environment in order to promote the best opportunity for learning and growth. She is currently president of the KU organization Natural Ties, which pairs KU students with adults with disabilities. In 2010 she received a Woman of Distinction Award from KU.

John Korba, of Ottawa, Ill., is a doctoral student specializing in Slavic linguistics in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Proficient in both Russian and Czech, he has received a Fulbright grant to conduct research for his dissertation in the Czech Republic. Korba’s research is focused on describing the verbal aspect in Slavic and making this explanation accessible to students of Slavic languages. In Prague, he will be associated with the Institute of Psychology in the Czech Academy of Science, where he will conduct psycholinguistic experimentation on adult Czech and Russian speakers. Korba has worked as a graduate teaching assistant in his department at KU and at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where he studied for his master’s degree. Through both his research and interaction with the Czech people during his Fulbright year, he hopes to become a more proficient Czech language professor and a scholar in Slavic linguistics.

Laura Potter, of Golden, Colo., is a doctoral student in tuba performance in the School of Music. She has been awarded a Fulbright grant to study the new and innovative compositions written for tuba solo and tuba in chamber settings in Scandinavia since 1970. Potter will conduct this research at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, where she will also take lessons from the Danish tuba virtuoso Jens Bjørn-Larsen. She plans to introduce some of these new compositions to American audiences at her doctoral recital when she returns to KU after her Fulbright year. Potter has been playing the tuba since the fifth grade. While at KU, she has played in in various university ensembles, including the Symphonic Band, as well as being invited to perform at the Great Plains Tubal/Euphonium Association Conference last year.

Allison Schmidt, of Fargo, N.D., is a doctoral student in modern European history with a special interest in modern German history. She has received a Fulbright grant to Germany, where she will conduct research for her dissertation on cultural affiliation and self-identification of Czech-speaking immigrants who crossed into Saxony in the late 19th century looking for employment in this rapidly industrializing area. From her research, Schmidt hopes to demonstrate that the Czech immigrants did not constitute one monolithic group, but one that was dynamic and ever changing. She will be affiliated with Leipzig University but will conduct her research not only in archives and libraries in that city but also in nearby Dresden and Chemnitz. Schmidt has near native fluency in German, having lived there twice (once as a Fulbright English teaching assistant) and is currently taking intermediate Czech. After completing her dissertation, she hopes to find a job as a professor of European history.

Andrew Toth, of Colby, graduated in May 2012 with a bachelor’s in environmental engineering. He has received a Fulbright grant to Germany to study in the master’s program in environmental engineering at the Technical University of Hamburg-Hamburg. Toth is especially interested in the treatment of wastewater so that it becomes a source of energy. In addition to taking classes that address the water-energy Nexus, he will complete an internship at Hamburg’s wastewater treatment plant to experience first-hand the equipment and processes that generate energy from wastewater sludge. Fluent in German, Toth first went to Germany as a high school student. He returned last summer as an intern in Lübeck, where he was instrumental not only in facilitating the residency of the KU orchestra and “Hansel and Gretel” cast in nearby Eutin (a sister city of Lawrence), but he also arranged for internships in local businesses for KU students. Toth has attended KU as a Summerfield Scholar.

In addition to these five students, five more have been designated as alternates for Fulbright grants:

• Vanessa Aldrich graduated from KU with a master’s in Russian, East European and Eurasian studies in 2010. She is an alternate for a Fulbright English teaching assistantship in Ukraine.

• Molly Hartz will graduate in May with a bachelor’s in Latin American xtudies and one in Spanish. She is an alternate for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Peru.

• Jennifer Hornbaker is a master’s student in TESOL in curriculum and instruction in the School of Education. She is an alternate for a Fulbright English teaching assistantship in Venezuela.

• Jeremiah Miller will graduate in May with a master’s of fine arts in creative writing from the department of English. He is an alternate for an English teaching assistantship in Morocco.

• Irene Olivaries is a doctoral student in modern European history. She is an alternate for a Fulbright research grant to Spain.



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