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News Release

U of M announces 14 student Fulbright scholars for 2010-11 school year

Contacts: Gayla Marty, Graduate School,, (612) 626-3314
Ryan Maus, University News Service,, (612) 624-1690

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (07/19/2010) —Fourteen University of Minnesota students (nine graduate and five undergraduate) have received Fulbright grants for 2010-11 to pursue graduate study or research in a foreign country beginning next year. All of the undergraduate awards and one graduate award were made to recent graduates.

Minnesota graduate students won three of only 10 student Fulbrights offered nationally for study in Norway.

The graduate student recipients are: 

Alyssa Mae Anderson, a doctoral student in entomology in the U of M's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), is the 2010-11 winner of the award for the University of Minnesota Graduate School’s Fulbright Scholarship Exchange Program with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway. Dr. Torbjorn Ekrem invited her to join his lab to learn the techniques used for DNA barcoding of Chironomidae. Anderson graduated magna cum laude from St. Olaf College with a B.A. in biology in 2006.

Andrew James Carlson, a master’s student in mechanical engineering currently developing a new amphibious robotic platform at the U’s Center for Distributed Robotics within the College of Science and Engineering (CSE), won a scholarship to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). In Norway, he will aid in developing a test bed for optical measuring with use in manufacturing quality control of oil pipe welding. Carlson received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 2009.

Rolf Erik Jacobson, a master’s student in architecture in the College of Design (CDes), received a Fulbright Full Grant to investigate and compare energy efficient building envelopes in Minnesota and Norway. He will join a team of researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) Research Centre on Zero Emission Buildings. Jacobson received a master’s of architecture from the University of Minnesota in 2007 and a B.A. in physics and mathematics from St. Olaf College in 2001.

Andrew Reine Johnson, a doctoral student in sociology in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), is one of 15 students nationally to receive a Fulbright Full Grant to Brazil.  He will conduct ethnographic research on religion in Brazilian prisons and its corresponding impact on civil society, the prison system and the life course of prisoners. Johnson received a B.A. in sociocultural studies from Bethel University in 2000 and a M.A. in urban studies from Temple University in 2004.

Moana Light McClellan, a doctoral student in plant biological sciences in CFANS, received a Fulbright Full Grant to examine the ecological and social dimensions of regenerating tropical dry forest on private lands in Costa Rica. McClellan received a B.A. in natural sciences from New College of Florida in 2003.

David Simon Morton, a doctoral student in history in CLA, received a Fulbright Full Grant to examine the role of shelter in Maputo, Mozambique, specifically the construction and maintenance of shantytowns in the midst of poverty and political repression. Morton received a B.A. in history from Yale University in 1997.

Heather Elaine O’Leary, a doctoral student in anthropology in CLA, is one of twenty students nationally to receive a Fulbright Full Grant to India. She will investigate everyday negotiations and understandings of water rights in India and how socioeconomic status affects perceptions of ethical water use. O’Leary received a B.A. in sociology from the University of Michigan in 2003 and a M.A. in social science from the University of Chicago in 2005.

Raphi Konstantin Rechitsky, a doctoral student in sociology in CLA, is one of ten students nationally to receive a Fulbright Full Grant to Ukraine. His dissertation research investigates changing ethnic relations in Ukraine spurred by newly arrived “transit” migrants. Rechitsky received a B.A. in sociology from Southern Illinois University in 2005.

Annie Katsura Rollins, ’10, M.F.A. in theatre arts within CLA, received a Fulbright Full Grant to learn and research the world’s oldest known tradition of shadow puppetry in China. Her focus will be on mastering the ancient methods of hand cutting and dyeing leather puppets and researching the design and theory of their shadow play stage design. Rollins received a B.F.A. in drama from Carnegie Mellon University in 2002.

The undergraduate student recipients are:

Thomas Flynn, a December 2008 graduate in political science in CLA, was awarded a Fulbright Full Grant to Jordan. During his undergraduate career, Flynn studied Arabic at the University of Minnesota and on study abroad programs in Damascus and Beirut. His experience volunteering at the Center for Victims of Torture in Minneapolis led to a research interest in the center’s work with Iraqi refugees in Jordan. During his Fulbright year, Flynn will conduct research at the center’s offices in Amman and Ibrid on the interactions between the center’s largely Western-trained staff and their Iraqi clients to discover how cultural barriers may be surmounted in order to provide more effective treatment of torture victims. Along with the Fulbright, Flynn has received a Critical Language Enhancement Award for further Arabic language study.

Sara Gregg, a 2009 magna cum laude graduate in Spanish studies and Russian in CLA, was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Russia. She will engage in classroom teaching, serve as a resource for Russian teachers of English, and enhance her fluency in Russian language. Gregg aspires to a career as a high school language teacher and an advocate for the teaching of foreign languages, especially Russian, in the United States. She spent the 2009-10 year as an English teacher at a low-income public school in Madrid. While in college, she studied abroad in both Spain and Russia. In conjunction with the Fulbright, Gregg has been awarded a Critical Language Enhancement Award to continue her studies of Russian language.

Woody Hanson, a spring 2010 graduate with a bachelor of science in architecture in CDes, is the recipient of a Fulbright Full Grant to Cyprus. Last summer, with funding from the Metropolitan Design Center and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, Hanson conducted overseas research on the Nicosia Master Plan, an architectural heritage preservation project spanning the Greek-Turkish divide in Nicosia, Cyprus. As a Fulbright Scholar, Hanson will return to Nicosia to visually and historically document this preservation effort and to learn about the potential for architectural heritage preservation to improve relations between divided communities. 

Emily Kippels, a 2010 summa cum laude graduate in anthropology in CLA, will spend the coming academic year in Mexico as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. During her undergraduate career, Kippels studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, and in Cuernavaca, Mexico. She is engaged extensively in community service, including assisting patients in the Aqui Para Ti program at Hennepin County Medical Center’s East Lake Clinic. Kippels intends to pursue a career in education. While in Mexico, she will also seek opportunities to volunteer with a health care organization serving underprivileged populations.

Thomas Snyder, a 2009 magna cum laude graduate in global studies and political science in CLA, received a Fulbright Full Grant to China. Snyder will research the efficacy of the Revitalize Northeast China program in promoting economic development and reducing poverty in rural areas near the industrial city of Harbin. Snyder studied Chinese for several years at the university and received a U.S. State Department-funded Critical Language Scholarship to Harbin in summer 2008. After his Fulbright year, he intends to pursue a master’s degree in Chinese studies and work in government.

The Fulbright competition for students is administered at the University of Minnesota through the Graduate School and the Office for National Scholarships in the University Honors Program.

An international educational exchange program, the Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Since its inception, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 300,000 participants, chosen for their leadership potential, with the opportunity to observe each others’ political, economic, and cultural institutions; exchange ideas; and embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world’s inhabitants. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement as well as on demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

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