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Pictured above are (clockwise, from top left) Owen Mundy, Jean Munn, Giray Okten, Margaret Wright-Cleveland and Rodney Roberts.

Four Florida State University professors and one administrator will spend the academic year conducting research abroad through grants from the Fulbright U.S. Scholars Program.

"The Fulbright program represents the best of our nation's scholarly achievements," said Sally McRorie, interim provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. "The vital research of these five Florida State scholars will be strengthened through engagement with scholars from other nations and then shared with our own students and colleagues in their fields in keeping with the mission of the Fulbright Scholars Program."

FSU's five Fulbright scholars for 2015-2016 are Owen Mundy, associate professor of art; Jean Munn, an associate professor of social work; Giray Okten, a professor of mathematics; Rodney Roberts, a professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Margaret Wright-Cleveland, director of the Office of Faculty Recognition.

The five, some of whom have already begun their work, will study a range of subject areas:

Mundy will examine the development of privacy laws and cultural expectations for online information security to compare policy between the United States and Austria at Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt.

"Austria and other entities in the European Union enacted comprehensive legislation protecting citizens' rights to privacy for their information, but no such laws exist here," Mundy said. "Arguably, the U.S. is moving in the opposite direction, given the advanced and far-reaching methods for collecting and analysis of private data by the National Security Agency."

"I am interested in investigating startup culture, Internet activism and cultural attitudes toward personal data," he said.

In addition to his research, Mundy will teach two seminars, one on Internet culture and another on the history of technology used for surveillance. He also will continue working on his "I Know Where Your Cat Lives" project, which has grown to 5 million geo-tagged cats around the world.

"I'm looking forward to the various forms of academic and cultural engagement that the Fulbright facilitates, especially along the lines of my research into data privacy and big data," Mundy said.

Munn will travel to Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, to replicate some of her recent research working with social workers who have the difficult job of engaging with residents at long-term care facilities at the end of life and their families.

"This opportunity is going to allow me to forge a new collaboration in the Czech Republic with people with similar research interests," she said.

While in the Czech Republic, Munn will interview social workers in Prague to see how they see their roles with residents who have end-of-life experiences in nursing homes. She hopes to be able to compare what the barriers are, how comfortable the social workers feel and how much engagement they have with residents and their families going through an end-of-life experience.

Along with her research at Charles University, she will be teaching with the help of a translator. And because Charles University does not currently have a gerontologist in its social work department, she will also be mentoring a Czech doctoral student interested in gerontology.

Munn hopes that this will lead to a relationship allowing Czech doctoral students to study at Florida State University and for doctoral students at the FSU College of Social Work to study in Prague. In addition to her partnership with Charles University, Munn will work with a gerontologist at the Center for the Study of Longevity and Long-Term Care in Prague.

Okten is serving as a Fulbright Scholar senior lecturer at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. He is teaching a course called Monte Carlo Methods in Financial Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics to upper-level undergraduate students and graduate students from the mathematics and engineering departments. He designed the course in 2006 for the graduate program in financial mathematics at Florida State.

Okten also is working on a graduate textbook based on his lecture notes for the Monte Carlo class.

"Receiving the Fulbright award has been a tremendous honor," he said. "Visiting Bogazici University and the opportunity to interact with the other Fulbright scholars in Turkey has been a very enriching experience both professionally and personally."

Roberts will study the design and control of robots with the world-class robotics team within the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of Macau, which has new, state-of-the-art engineering facilities to support robotics research.

"I will be doing research on computational intelligence in robotics and automation," Roberts said.

The University of Macau is on its way to becoming a leading university in Asia, according to Roberts. It moved to a brand new campus in August 2014, making it Asia's largest residential college system. With a new campus 20 times larger than the previous location, the university is experiencing unprecedented growth in educational and research opportunities.

"It is a very exciting opportunity to work with the University of Macau robotics research team, and I am thankful to the Fulbright Program for this once-in-a-lifetime experience," Roberts said. "I look forward to sharing ideas on cutting-edge robotics-related technology with researchers and students at the University of Macau."

Wright-Cleveland is teaching in the American Studies program and doing research on Bernard Binlin Dadié at the University Felix-Houphouet-Boigny in Côte d'Ivoire, the Ivory Coast.

"I am interested in how he used his writings for political purposes and how his work might connect with the work of American Black Arts Movement writers," Wright-Cleveland said.

For her research, Wright-Cleveland is working with an undergraduate researcher through FSU's Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program to create a complete bibliography of all writing by and about Dadié. She is translating Dadié's poetry and will visit the Bibliotéque Nationale de la Côte d'Ivoire (BNCI) in Abidjan to find newspaper and other press articles that show how Dadié's writing, particularly his plays, were received in the Ivory Coast when they premiered.

Wright-Cleveland characterized living and working in Abidjan as "both completely new and very familiar."

"The Ivoirians are welcoming and very interested in learning English and in learning more about America," she said. "My most uncomfortable revelation, confirmed daily, is how little Americans understand about Africa, particularly West Africa."

Mundy, Munn, Okten, Roberts and Wright-Cleveland are among nearly 600 U.S. faculty and administrators who will travel abroad during the 2015-2016 academic year through the Fulbright Scholar Program. Fulbright scholars are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Scholar Program is an international educational exchange program designed to increase the mutual understanding between citizens of the United States and those of more than 155 participating countries.

FSU students and scholars interested in learning more about the Fulbright Scholar Program can visit

By Jeffery Seay
19 November 2015

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