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A record number of Florida State University students will travel abroad this year to conduct research or teach after winning Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships.

Twelve Florida State students are among the roughly 1,600 U.S. citizens who will be traveling the world for the 2012-2013 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

"Our students' success with the Fulbright program this year demonstrates Florida State University's commitment to providing a world-class education for our undergraduate and graduate students, which prepares them to undertake a year teaching English or conducting research abroad," said Craig Filar, director of the Office of National Fellowships at Florida State.

Producing a dozen Fulbright Scholars is a significant accomplishment for FSU because it places the university's students alongside the recipients from top U.S. institutions, including the University of Notre Dame and the University of California, Berkeley.

"I could not be more excited for the 12 students as they set out around the world, acting as ambassadors who embody the academic strength and character of Florida State University," Filar said.

Seven of the 12 students received Fulbright Full Grants, which will allow them to study and/or conduct research in a foreign country for an academic year.

They are:

Dana Boebinger
Bessie Reina
Alexis Baxter
Elizabeth Bryant
Marian Crotty
Stephen Collins-Elliott
Christine Helfrich
  • Dana Boebinger — Boebinger, a Tallahassee resident, graduated recently with dual bachelor's degrees in psychology and music. She will study the neurobiology of speech perception as she pursues a master's degree in cognitive neuroscience at University College London.
  • Bessie Reina — Reina, who is from Pensacola, Fla., is working on her master's degree in urban and regional planning and will be conducting research in Bulgaria. She will study the effects of land-use patterns and policies on the public transportation system of that nation's capital, Sofia.
  • Alexis Baxter — Baxter, a resident of Winslow, Maine, recently graduated with dual bachelor's degrees in environmental chemistry and biochemistry. She will research the effects of dissolved natural organic matter, or DNOM, on nutrients in Morso Lake near Oslo, Norway, and its effect on the local environment.
  • Elizabeth Bryant — A doctoral student in history, Bryant, who hails from Winter Park, Fla., will conduct research in Poland. She will document the experiences of the 97 male Auschwitz inmates designated as homosexuals during the Holocaust, creating a historiography of this forgotten population.
  • Marian Crotty — Crotty, who is studying for a doctorate in creative writing, hails from Charlotte, N.C., and will conduct research in the United Arab Emirates. She will explore the roles of Middle Eastern women and the ways in which their images are used in advertising and in political contexts.
  • Stephen Collins-Elliott — A resident of Lawrence, Kan., Collins-Elliot is working toward a doctorate in classics and will study archaeology in Italy. He will research Roman consumption from 200 B.C.E. to 20 C.E. through the University of Sienna to detect social, economic and cultural changes in the habits of typical Romans during this crucial period in Roman history.
  • Christine Helfrich — Helfrich, who is from Roswell, Ga., is studying for her doctorate in marriage and family therapy. She will conduct research in the field of social work while working with youth placed in residential care in Ontario, Canada.

Five students received Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships. Under this program, students are placed in schools or universities in foreign countries where they work as teaching assistants in order to improve foreign students' English language abilities and knowledge of the United States. In addition to their teaching responsibilities, they may also pursue individual study and research. They are:

Sandy Noel
Cameron Cankaya
Ariel Giumarelli
Kevin Uhler
Armando Mendez
  • Sandy Noel — Noel, who is from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., graduated recently with a degree in international affairs and will teach English to students in India.
  • Cameron Cankaya — Cankaya, from Weston, Fla., graduated recently with a bachelor's degree in international affairs and will teach English in South Korea.
  • Ariel Giumarelli — A recent graduate with a bachelor's degree in economics, Giumarelli will teach English in South Korea. She is from Ocala, Fla.
  • Kevin Uhler — Uhler is from Cooper City, Fla., and is studying for a master's degree in history. He will teach English in Poland.
  • Armando Mendez — Mendez, who is from Miami and recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in international affairs, will teach English in Spain.

The Fulbright program traces its roots to 1945, when a freshman U.S. senator from Arkansas, J. William Fulbright, introduced a bill in Congress that called for the use of proceeds from the sales of surplus war property to fund the "promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science." The following year, President Harry S. Truman signed the Fulbright Act into law.

Funded by a congressional appropriation, Fulbright is one of the world's most visible and prestigious international exchange programs. Working with universities, governments and the private sector, the program seeks out individuals of achievement and potential through open, merit-based competitions.

25 May 2012

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