Despite a snowstorm swirling outside, the atmosphere was warm at a reception for the University’s Fulbright scholars in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Dec. 9.
Conversation was lively as they discussed international issues, compared experiences and offered advice to a number of students who have applied for the award.
In subject areas ranging from music to marketing to journalism and public health, BGSU has 24 active faculty members who have been Fulbright recipients and several more who are retired.
“That’s actually a big number for the type and size of university that BGSU is,” said Diane Regan, Fulbright Program adviser and director of faculty/staff immigration services in the Center for International Programs. Regan organized the reception and has planned another event for spring semester in which past Fulbrighters will share their experience with other faculty considering applying to the program.
“I want to build this Fulbright community,” Regan said. “These people are true internationalists. They ‘get’ the concept of globalization and international cooperation.”
Among those attending the gathering were Dr. Gary Hess, Distinguished Teaching Professor of history, who has had three Fulbright stays in India; Dr. Milt Hakel, Ohio Eminent Scholar in psychology, who went to Italy in 1978, and retired English professor Dr. Les Barber, also a former executive assistant to the president, who went to Slovenia in 1989-90. The three chatted with master’s degree students Orien Schmidt, who is applying for a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant position in Germany, and Cortne Johnson, who is also applying to go to Germany but by way of Istanbul, where she would first study language as part of the new Fulbright Islamic initiative. Both Schmidt and Johnson are majoring in German.
Discussing his plans was Dr. Dwayne Gremler, marketing, who will leave in January for a Fulbright stay at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.
Dr. Fatma Azzouz, a current Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence from Tunisia, addressed issues of immigration and ethnic strife with the group, which also included Jeff Grilliot, director of Immigration Services for Students and Scholars, who is applying for a new, five-week Fulbright program for administrators; and Suzanne Ondrus, a master of fine arts degree student majoring in poetry who has applied to go to Burkina Faso. Ondrus should be well suited for international travels, the group agreed, since she speaks French, Italian, Russian and German, and has taught English in Germany.
It is not unusual for faculty to have had more than one stint as a Fulbright scholar, and sometimes to very different areas of the world. Dr. Gary Silverman, director of the Environmental Health Program, has been to Malaysia and Costa Rica; Dr. Kristie Foell, director of International Studies and a faculty member in German, had a Fulbright to Germany in 1995-96 and another to Austria in 1989-90, and Dr. Nancy Brendlinger, journalism, has had Fulbright awards in Indonesia and Slovakia.
Also at the reception were Travis Chapin, construction management, who went to Kenya in 2004; Dr. Srinivas Melkote, telecommunications, who taught in India in 2002; Dr. Salim Elwazani, architecture, who went to Bahrain in 2001; Dr. Laura Lengel, interpersonal communication, who had a Fulbright to Tunisia in 1993-94, and Dr. David Harnish, musical arts and Asian studies, who went to Indonesia twice on Fulbright awards, once as a master’s degree student and again as a doctoral student.