KU News Release

May 20, 2011
Contact: Hodgie Bricke, International Programs, 785-864-4960

11 students win Fulbright awards for research or teaching abroad

More Information

LAWRENCE — Eleven students at the University of Kansas have received prestigious Fulbright awards for academic work abroad in the 2011-12 academic year.

“This is the largest number of Fulbright grants to KU students under the auspices of the U.S. Student Fulbright Program since 1975,” said Hodgie Bricke, assistant vice provost for international programs.

Since the program’s inception in 1946, 424 KU students, including this year’s awardees, have received Fulbrights.
The Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries.

Fulbright recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

The U.S. Student Fulbright Program operates in more than 155 countries. Fulbright grants provide funding for round trip travel, maintenance for one academic year, health and accident insurance and, where relevant, tuition.

International Programs coordinates applications for Fulbright grants at KU.

The Fulbright recipients are listed below by hometown, level in school, degree program, award, research interests and parents’ names and high school information when available.

From Lawrence 66047
Mary E. Thompson-Meyer, a doctoral student in flute performance, has received a Fulbright grant to Mexico. She will spend the academic year in Mexico City studying with Alejandro Escuer, a leader in the field of contemporary Mexican flute music and a professor at the Esecular de Música Nacional Autónoma de México. After returning to the United States, she plans to specialize in performing and recording contemporary Mexican flute music, as well as teaching flute at a university. Thompson-Meyer has a master’s degree from Kent State University in Ohio and a bachelor’s degree from Furman University in South Carolina.

From Lawrence 66049
Shay R. Wood, a doctoral student in history, has received a Fulbright grant to Zagreb, Croatia, where he will conduct research on the development of intercity and cross-town soccer rivalries in Communist Yugoslavia to ascertain the ways the citizens of the former Yugoslavia determined their national identities. He will analyze news coverage, footage of games and team biographies as well as interview fans and members of the Yugoslav sports media. Wood is proficient in Croatian. He has been a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of History since 2008. He has a master’s degree from KU and a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University.

From Emporia 66801
Adam David Sundberg, a doctoral student in history, has received a Fulbright grant to spend the academic year at the CLUE Research Institute in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He will examine the role of climate change in the economic growth of the Netherlands in the 17th century. Sundberg will attempt to determine whether the Dutch benefited from changing natural conditions or successfully adapted to negative conditions relative to other European countries. He is currently a National Science Foundation IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) Fellow and is associated with the NSF-funded climate change institute at KU. Sundberg has a bachelor’s degree from Truman State University in Missouri.

From Topeka 66606
Cooper T. Allton, a spring 2010 graduate in economics and international studies, will spend his Fulbright year in Jordan, where he will serve as a teaching assistant in English classes at either a secondary school or a university. At KU, Allton received a Critical Language Award to study Arabic in KU’s summer study abroad program in Morocco. Allton also spent a semester in Beijing studying Chinese. He plans to continue his Arabic language studies while in Jordan and to volunteer with local organization. He has served as a volunteer in community projects in Ecuador, Haiti and, more recently, in the Dominican Republic. He is the son of Thad Allton and is Topeka High School graduate.

From Hoxie 67740
Loren Michael Cressler, a graduating senior in English literature and classical languages, will spend his Fulbright year in Germany as a teaching assistant in English classes in a gymnasium or high school. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Cressler has received scholarships from the English and the classics departments. He was a 2010 recipient of the Harry and Jessie Jacobs Prize in the Humanities. He has studied abroad in Costa Rica, London and Vienna. His parents are Herbert and Marita Cressler. He is Hoxie High School graduate.

From Milan 48160
Amanda R. Falk, a doctoral student in geology, has received a Fulbright grant to China, where she will study the feet, limbs and tracks of Early Cretaceous (circa 120 million years ago) fossil birds to gain a more complete understanding of what the birds looked like and their behavior. She will work with Gong Enpu of Northeastern University, Shenyang, and will be affiliated with the Institute for Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing. Falk received a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship to study Chinese language at KU. She will continue her Chinese language studies in China this summer. Falk has a master’s degree from KU and a bachelor’s degree from Lake Superior State University in Michigan.

From Springfield 65804
Sarah Susan Willenbrink, graduating this month with a master’s degree in Slavic languages and literatures, will spend her Fulbright year in Warsaw, Poland. As a Fulbright teaching assistant, she will teach English classes at the University of Warsaw. During her graduate studies at KU, Willenbrink concentrated on studying Polish language and literature. She already has experience in second language acquisition as a graduate teaching assistant at KU and at the University of Kentucky in teaching Polish and German to American students. Willenbrink has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky.

From St. Louis 63119
Rachel M. Bohn is a graduating senior with majors in Latin American studies, Spanish and French. She will spend her Fulbright year in Colombia, where she will serve as an English teaching assistant in a secondary school. The opportunity to assist in the classroom is a relatively new and rapidly growing component of the U.S. Student Fulbright Program. At KU, Bohn has studied abroad in Costa Rica and recently worked as a peer adviser in the Office of Study Abroad. Bohn is skilled in Spanish and has volunteered as an English language tutor for a program sponsored by a Lawrence church. Her parents are Gary and Patricia Bohn. She is a graduate of Nerinx Hall High School, St. Louis, Mo.

From Tulsa 74114
Cody Mclain Brown, a doctoral student in political science, received a Fulbright grant to Croatia, where he will examine the motives and circumstances behind individuals’ participation in Croatian paramilitary organization during the Yugoslav wars (1991-95). Using interviews and surveys with former members of paramilitary organizations and regular army soldiers, Brown will attempt to ascertain their motives for participating in this ethnic war. A proficient speaker of Croatian, he has received three academic Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships and one summer FLAS Fellowship from the Center for Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies for language studies. Brown has a master’s degree from Oklahoma State University and a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University in New Orleans.

From Sioux Falls 57103
Daniel Jared Bruggeman, a doctoral student in piano performance, will spent his Fulbright year in Budapest, Hungary, where he will study the influence of folk music on Bela Bartok’s piano compositions. Bruggeman will continue his piano studies with Balazs Reti, a member of the piano faculty at the Franz Liszt Academic of Music and a Bartok expert. Bruggeman will research the folk music recordings and manuscripts of Bartok at the Hungarian Academy of Science Institute for Musicology. He has a master’s degree in music from KU and bachelor’s degree from Concordia College in Minnesota. His parents are Gary and Deb Bruggeman. He is a graduate of Washington High School in Sioux Falls, S.D.

From Oconomowoc 53066
John A. Biersack, a doctoral student in geography, has received a Fulbright grant to spend an academic year at L’viv National University, a KU partner institution, in Ukraine. Utilizing primary materials in libraries and archives, as well as surveys and interviews, Biersack will examine Ukrainian Eurasianism, both in the past and present, to elucidate the larger geopolitical narrative and power throughout Ukraine. Having studied abroad on KU programs in Ukraine and Russia, he can speak and conduct research in both languages. While at KU, he was a graduate teaching assistant and has received two Foreign Languages Area Studies Fellowships to study Ukrainian. He has a master’s degree from KU and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

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