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Fulbright program offers opportunity to conduct research overseas

Binghamton University has built strong ties with the Fulbright Scholars program and Susannah Gal, associate professor of biological sciences and the University’s Fulbright Program advisor, is hoping more students will take advantage of the opportunities these prestigious grants afford. Binghamton alumnus Jonathan Akeley, ’98, a program officer for the Institute of International Education that administers the Fulbright Program for the United States, recently visited campus to discuss the Fulbright program with students and faculty.

“So few of the students seem to have ever heard of this program,” Gal said. “As far as I’m aware, there are two foreign nationals on campus this year for Fulbright. We have many faculty here who have been either Fulbright scholars when they were students, or have gone as faculty scholars. Some of our faculty first came to the Untied States as Fulbright scholars. It’s a far-reaching and important program and I’d like more people to know about it.” While the application process for a Fulbright grant can be very competitive, there is help for students who are interested in the program.

The campus Fulbright committee reviews all applications, making recommendations to students on fine-tuning their applications, Gal said.

Applications are due at the campus level on Sept. 17, and the final application is due at the Institute of International Education office on Oct. 21. “Because this happens so early in the fall and the application suggests getting contacts in the possible host country, we encourage students to start planning now for their applications so they can work on them over the summer,” Gal said.

To help students make decisions on the program, an information session will be held at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, in the CIW-Common Room.

Currently, two Binghamton students are working on projects abroad — Monika Brodnicka in Mali and Daniel Renfrew in Uruguay. For students, the Fulbright program offers a wealth of different experiences, including the opportunity to immerse themselves in a foreign language and conduct the type of research they want to do in the country they want to work in, Gal said. It also gives them a different perspective on their own country and their place in the world.

“It’s a very life-changing experience for students who haven’t lived abroad,” Gal said. “It’s very different than spending a week in a foreign country.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08