Emory named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars

By April Hunt | Emory Report | Feb. 28, 2020

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Six Emory faculty and staff (left to right) Ellie Schainker, Kelly Yates, Ellen Gough, Sheila L. Tefft, Kelsey Gray and Paul Buchholz have been named Fulbright Scholars, building on the university’s history as a top Fulbright producer. 

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Six Emory University professors and administrators won Fulbright Scholar Awards in 2019-2020, earning Emory the distinction as a top producer nationally for the U.S government’s flagship international educational exchange program, according to rankings in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Fulbright Scholar Program was established to create and increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and people of other countries. Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Scholar Program has provided more than 390,000 individuals the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to international problems. 

“As one of the few private research institutions on the list of top-producers for Fulbright Scholars, this honor is a great recognition of the global reputation and impact of Emory faculty,” says Philip Wainwright, vice provost for global strategy and initiatives. “When these six faculty and staff members representing just as many disciplines teach and conduct research abroad, they demonstrate Emory’s global reach and the importance of international collaboration in advancing research and enriching our campus and our community.”

Known as U.S. Fulbright Scholars, here are Emory’s most recent grantees.

Paul Buchholz, an associate professor of German studies, is studying “Relations of desolation: Collectivity in narratives of environmental crisis.” His project reconstructs the spectrum of works from small presses and countercultural publications in the 1970s and 1980s that attempted to envision an alternative society in the face of ecological crisis.

Ellen Gough, an assistant professor of religion, focuses on the religious traditions of India, particularly Jainism. While studying in India, her project is “What makes a Jain not Hindu? Religious identity and the festival calendar.”

Kelsey Gray, a post-doctoral fellow in the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, is teaching culturally-responsive biology courses at Drepung Loseling Monastic University in India. Her project focus is “Culturally responsive science education: Learning from Tibetan Buddhist monastics.” 

Ellie Schainker, the Arthur Blank Family Foundation Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies, is a historian of modern Jewish history, religion and empire, particularly the experience of Jewish people in the Russian empire. While studying in Israel, her Fulbright project is “Rites of empire: Jewish religious reforms in Imperial Russia, 1850-1917.” 

Sheila L. Tefft, a senior lecturer in English, specializes in science writing about health and climate change, composition and multimedia journalism. Her Fulbright studies focus on “Communicating climate through multimedia journalism in India.”

Kelly Yates, the assistant director of Emory’s Halle Institute for Global Research, was awarded a Fulbright position in the U.S.-Germany International Education Administrators Program, which creates links with the societal, cultural and higher education systems of other countries. The program will support her work with Halle Institute directing international research collaborations.

Students and alumni also recognized

These faculty and staff members join nine Emory students and recent alumni named as part of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for this academic year.

The nine students have traveled or will travel to eight counties to conduct individually designed study and research projects or to participate in English teaching programs. 

“Emory’s Fulbright recipientsepresent the full breadth of undergraduate engagement in the liberal arts and sciences and business, as well as investment in leadership, service and innovation in the broader Atlanta community,” says Megan Friddle, director of Emory College’s National Scholarships and Fellowships Program. 

“This year’s group of granteesghlights the exceptional teaching and mentorship in the Spanish and Portuguese program and the strengths of Emory’s connections to Brazil through the Halle Institute,” Friddle adds.

Recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. Emory now has 37 semi-finalists for the 2020-2021 awards. Those winners will be notified between March and May. 

Four students selected were for the 2019-2020 research/study grants.

Aelekhya Malladi, a Laney Graduate School student, received a Fulbright and an American Institute of Indian Studies fellowship to conduct her dissertation fieldwork in India from July 2019 through July 2020. Her topic is “Gender, devotion and authority: Study of an 18th century female poet in South India.”

Chris Batterman 19C, music and psychology, is traveling to Brazil to examine the operas of Brazilian composer Carlos Gomes and outline the ways that music interfaced with the Brazilian nation-building project, especially around the notions of race and “Brazilianness.” 

Ellen Dymit 19C, environmental sciences and biology, is in Norway’s Varanger peninsula to examine post-release survival of captive-reared Arctic foxes. She will follow her field research with laboratory analyses at the University of Tromsø, where she will explore the unique ecological consequences of the captive-reared release program. 

Alexandra Llovet 19C, biology and Spanish/Portuguese, is traveling to Brazil to use archival data and individual narratives that explain how families were affected by Hansen’s disease, derogatorily known as leprosy, between the 1920s and the 1970s, a period characterized by isolationist public health policy.

Students selected for English teaching assistantships in other countries are:

  • Michelle Baltrusitis 19BBA, consulting business and society and Spanish, Colombia
  • Daniella Gonzalez 19C, neuroscience/behavioral biology and Spanish/Portuguese, Portugal
  • Linda Li 19C, biology and English/creative writing, Taiwan
  • Marissa Pham 19C, human health and sociology, Vietnam
  • Emma Watson 19C, international studies and Spanish, Spain 

Five additional undergraduate students and recent graduates who applied through Emory College of Arts and Sciences declined their offers. Nine more were named as alternates.