Career Impact of Fulbright

JMU faculty Fulbrighters were asked how Fulbright has impacted their career.  These are the responses received.

Fulbright: Maureen Shanahan
Maureen G. Shanahan, J.D., Ph.D, Fulbright Research Scholar, France

"The Fulbright experience deepened my networks and connections with French academics and transformed my knowledge of archives and libraries in the Paris region. I brought back this knowledge to JMU in a variety of ways. It informed my classes on art and World War I; the theme of colonialism in all my courses; and ongoing research with student assistants doing independent studies. It led to my co-curated exhibition in the Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Arts, Colonial Wounds/Postcolonial Repair (spring 2019), and the catalog published by the University of Virginia Press. Another result is a forthcoming article in African Arts, which analyzes a temporary mosque built for Muslim soldiers hospitalized near Paris. I also had the distinct honor of being invited to serve on a French dissertation committee for a student who researched the lives of Moroccan soldiers in the French Army during the era of colonization."

Maureen G. Shanahan, J.D., Ph.D, Fulbright Research Scholar, France, 2019
Professor of Art History, James Madison University
Mace Bentley
Mace Bentley, Ph. D., Fulbright Specialist, Thailand

"My Fulbright experience at the Faculty of Agriculture, Kasetsart University, Thailand facilitated an enriching exchange of ideas with students from around the world. A goal of my work in Thailand was to give a scientific perspective on climate change, a vital foundation from which to scaffold adaptation strategies. What struck me the most were the climate impact stories presented by students from Thailand, Tanzania, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh; locations already struggling to adapt their agriculture and infrastructure to a "new climate normal". I have since brought this new perspective back to JMU and further use it to motivate further exploration and research into climate science." 

Mace Bentley, Ph. D., Fulbright Specialist, Thailand, 2014-15.
Professor of Geographic Science, James Madison University 
Anthony Tongen
Anthony Tongen, Fulbright Research Scholar, Mexico

"My Fulbright to Mexico during the 2012-2013 academic career has greatly impacted both my professional and personal life.  Professionally, I gained numerous international research collaborations while acquiring a better understanding of the impact of student-centered learning through my teaching experiences in a different cultural context.  Personally, in addition to seeing my three children become fluent in Spanish, my time working with a Christian orphanage in Mexico sparked an interest in caring for similar children in the US, which has led to fostering and adopting three children." 

Anthony Tongen, Fulbright Research Scholar, Mexico (2012-13). 
Professor of Mathematics & Statistics, James Madison University. 
Charles Bolyard, Ph. D., Fulbright Research Scholar, Cyprus

"During my Fall 2013 Fulbright in Nicosia, Cyprus, my main focus was writing/researching in my specialty area of medieval European philosophy.  But it was the additional activities I undertook--Greek language classes, leading philosophical discussions with Greek and Turkish Cypriots in the U.N. administered "neutral zone" that separates the ethnically and politically divided island, and visiting multiple ancient and medieval historical sites--that truly made the experience worthwhile.  My travels and interactions with locals on both sides of the island gave me a much greater appreciation for the complexities of life (cultural, political, economic) for Cypriots as they seek to find their place in the world:  they are constantly being asked to integrate fully with the rest of the E.U., while other more powerful political entities (Turkey, Russia, Britain, and the U.S.) strive for regional dominance, often at the expense of the Cypriots themselves."

Charles Bolyard, Ph. D., Fulbright Research Scholar, Cyprus, 2013.
Professor of Philosophy and Department Head of Philosophy and Religion, James Madison University 
Anthony Tongen
Edward J. Brantmeier, Ph. D., Fulbright-Nehru Scholar, India

"Being part of a vibrant intellectual community at the Malaviya Centre for Peace Research at Banaras Hindu University in India as a Fulbright Lecturing Scholar in Peace Studies (2009) was one of the highlights of my career thus far. Since then, I have drawn on the friendships, networks, and experiences to continue my own passion for peace education and education for/as sustainability.  The experience was deeply challenging, richly rewarding, and continues to fuel the Fulbright mission of "mutual understanding" through my own global awareness and collaboration with colleagues across borders."

Edward J. Brantmeier, Ph. D.,  Fulbright-Nehru Scholar, India 2009
Assistant Director, Center for Faculty Innovation and Associate Professor, Learning, Technology, and Leadership Education Department, James Madison University 
Lincoln Gray, Ph.D. , Fulbright Research Scholar, Pakistan, India, and Egypt

"I was a Fulbright ‘North-Africa/South Asia Regional Research Scholar’ in 1997-8.  My family (with two teenage girls) spent 3 months each in Karachi, Mumbai and Cairo.  I gleaned local hospital records for input into some mathematical models of metastases from oral and breast cancers, which interestingly turn out to be different in the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.  Most important for my career were the people I met – these having led to several peer-reviewed publications and ~ 10 more foreign trips to London, Stockholm, Auckland and Mumbai for medical-research collaborations."

Lincoln Gray, Ph.D. , Fulbright Research Scholar, Pakistan, India, and Egypt, 1997-98. Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, James Madison University and Adjunct Professor of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at UVa Medical School.
Susan K. Opt, Ph. D. Fulbright Lecturing Scholar, Czech Republic

"My experience as a Fulbright lecturing scholar in Communication (2009) at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, was a great opportunity to step “outside the box” of the U.S. university system and test and reflect on the assumptions of my discipline in another cultural context. My interactions with faculty and students from a wide range of cultures led me to explore new avenues of research. In all, I gained a new perspective of myself, my educational system, and my culture, fulfilling William Fulbright’s vision of changing the world by changing how we think."

Susan K. Opt, Ph. D. Fulbright Lecturing Scholar, Czech Republic, 2009. 
Associate Professor, Communication Studies, James Madison University 
Grace Wyngard
Grace Wyngaard, Ph. D., Fulbright Scholar, Brazil

"My Fulbright experience at University of Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2008 provided me with the opportunity to develop close friendships and collegial relationships with biologists who are interested in organisms, ecology, and evolution of aquatic organisms.  It was my first experience working in tropical systems and studying the weirdly shaped creatures in Brazil's ocean waters. We started a big project, leading me to return several times to continue our collaborative work, which I regarded as a big plus. This fall I will return to Sao Paulo to finish the project . . . and I hope we will dream up a new project so I 'have an excuse' to make it a priority to return again.”

Grace Wyngaard, Ph. D., Fulbright Scholar, Brazil, 2008
Professor of Biology, James Madison University
Lcu Bednar
Lucy Bednar, Ph. D., Fulbright Lecturer, Macedonia

"I was the Fulbright Lecturer in American Literature at Saints Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia, 1995-1996. I was also the Fulbright Lecturer in American Studies at Comenius University, in Bratislava, Slovakia, 2000-2002 (where I returned for a short-term stint as a Senior Specialist in 2009). These experiences were among the most rewarding of my life, and to this day I incorporate what I learned from living abroad into classes that I teach, most notably Intercultural Professional Communication.  I continue a personal and professional relationship with one of my colleagues from Slovakia, and am looking forward to the day when we can work together again, here in the U.S. or in Slovakia. I’ll conclude simply by saying that nothing can match experiencing another culture – not as a tourist but as someone who temporarily becomes a part of that culture, learning about its people, food, language, and customs, not from a book but through direct contact." 

Lucy Bednar, Ph. D., Fulbright Lecturer, Macedonia, 1996-96.
Assistant Professor, School of Writing, Rhetoric & Technical Communication, James Madison University. 

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