Fulbright College Announces 2015-16 Class of Sturgis International Fellows

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences has selected its 2015-16 class of Sturgis International Fellows. Mark Anthony Agana, Elizabeth Arredondo, Kaveh Bassiri, Holly Farris, Kaelin Groom, Kathleen Heil, Aimee Odum, Max Thompson and Malek Zuraikat will represent Fulbright College and the University of Arkansas as they conduct research around the world thanks to a gift from the Roy and Christine Sturgis Educational Trust.

Creating meaningful international experiences for students is a top priority for Fulbright College, and the Sturgis International Fellows Program redefines what is possible for Fulbright College students around the globe. The program supports undergraduate honors and graduate students with creative international learning opportunities and promotes J. William Fulbright's legacy of peace through education by encouraging mutual understanding between exceptional young scholars and people from other countries around the world. 

Agana, a doctoral student in environmental dynamics, will spend the fall 2015 semester in Germany studying municipal-level climate action plans. His project will involve four in-depth case studies of Local Climate Action plans in Hamburg, Munich, Heidelberg and Dresden.

Arredondo, a Master of Science student in biology, will travel to Kruger National Park in South Africa to research survival rates of African wild dogs, which are in decline. Her project will add to past census data to better understand population dynamics and demographics of wild dogs in the park, which will help others develop management plans to bring the population back to a stable level.

Bassiri, a doctoral candidate in comparative literature and cultural studies, will travel to Iran to work with poets who will be translated and included in an anthology of modern Iranian poetry. Bassiri's anthology project will include the work of 25 Iranian poets with an introduction of their work as well as a survey of contemporary Iranian poetry.

Farris, a doctoral student in space and planetary sciences, will travel to the Atacama Desert in Chile to research the stability of liquid water and how it might impact survival on Mars. The Atacama Desert is the driest terrestrial desert and one of the best Martian analog sites on Earth. Her project is in collaboration with Alfonso Davila, a staff scientist and astrobiologist at NASA AMES Research Center and SETI Institute.

Groom, a doctoral student in environmental dynamics, will travel to Petra, Jordan, to study the relationship between tourism and landscape change. The research will ultimately help those at the site with the delicate balance between visitor experiences and heritage resource conservation. Groom will conduct interviews with Bedouin tribal elders, officials with governmental and non-governmental organizations, local residents and veteran tourists.

Heil, a Master of Fine Arts student in creative writing and translation, will spend 10 months at the Inter-University Centre for Dance in Berlin, Germany. Her research will explore Berlin's international contemporary dance scene and the relationship between words and movement by creating poetry using compositional features common to both dance and poetic contexts such as breath, syncopation and spacing. Her project will include daily writing, weekly attendance at dance classes and seminars on the theory and practice of contemporary dance, interviews with dance artists and researchers and regular attendance at performances and workshops.

Odum, a Mater of Fine Arts student in ceramics, will spend the fall 2015 semester in Iceland. She will study how physical activities in the environment shape perspectives on landscape though research at the Höfn Art Warehouse in Höfn, the Nýheimar Knowledge Center in Hornafjörður and the Iceland art Academy in Reykjavik. Her research will include interviews with locals, tourists, students and faculty, as well as conducting a workshop, making sketches for future art projects and giving a public presentation of the research and art work in a local venue.

Thompson, a Master of Fine Arts student in creative writing and translation, will spend the 2015-16 academic year at the Maxim Gorky Literary Institute in Moscow, Russia, translating the Kyrygz writer Chingiz Aitmatov's literary works into English. In addition to translating the novella Farewell, Buttercup! and a collection of stories titled Tales for the Mountains and Steppe, Thompson intends to form contacts with Russian translators and literary scholars.

Zuraikat, a doctoral student in Medieval English literature, will study at an Arabic university that offers a graduate degree in literary translation to complete a translation of Geoffrey Chaucer's Troilus and Crseyde into Arabic verse. While the study of Arabic to English translation offered at the University of Arkansas is essential to this project, so is study of English to Arabic translation, which is offered at some Arabic institutions.

Up to 10 Sturgis International Fellows are appointed each year. Fellows receive $15,000 to facilitate international study of a semester or longer. The funds assist students with tuition and fees for the University of Arkansas and for an international host institution, organization or family; expenses associated with an international internship or research project such as foreign or domestic transportation; housing; and personal expenses.

Applicants must be a current graduate or undergraduate student in Fulbright College and have a record of high academic achievement and outstanding leadership. Undergraduate students must be a full-time student with a declared major in Fulbright College, a rising junior or rising senior in the Fulbright College Honors Program and pursuing a career with international emphasis. Graduate students must be a full-time student with a declared degree area anchored Fulbright College and going into their first or second year of graduate studies.

Gifts from the Roy and Christine Sturgis Educational Trust have established three prestigious programs within Fulbright College: the Sturgis Fellowship Program, Sturgis Study Abroad Program and Sturgis International Fellows Program.


Darinda Sharp, director of communications
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-3712, dsharp@uark.edu


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