ANN ARBOR — Fulbright grants — one of the U.S. government’s most prestigious awards — were given to 32 students from the University of Michigan for the 2013-14 academic year, funding their studies, research or teaching overseas for six to 12 months.
Harvard University, which was awarded 39 of the student grants, was the only institution with more Fulbrights than U-M, which has led the nation six times in the past decade.
The U-M students’ interests ranged from electronic medical records in Ghana and Islamic schools for children in Indonesia to archaeology in Albania and learning disabilities in Ecuador.
“We are committed to international experiences and education, and it shows in how well prepared our students are in these competitions,” said Ken Kollman, director of the U-M International Institute. “Our ranking is a tribute to our students, faculty and staff who work hard to prepare top-quality applications reflecting continued excellence.”
Seven U-M faculty members were awarded Fulbrights in the scholar category.
Sponsored by the Department of State, the Fulbright program seeks to increase mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries as well as help the recipients achieve their academic goals. Recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement as well as demonstrated leadership potential.
The U-M recipients include Mathieu Davis, who recently completed his doctorate degree in mechanical engineering. He will be in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
“Receiving the Fulbright was meaningful for me because broadening my scope and perspective of the world has always been something that is very important to me,” Davis said.
He plans to conduct heart valve biomechanics research at the University of Stellenbosch. Davis will also reimplement an after-school program that uses LEGO toys to teach scientific principles to high school students. Finally, he will be involved in the establishment of a biomedical engineering department at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
“Being able to interact with scientists in a different cultural context will help me in my interactions, outlook and logistical approach to science applications,” Davis said.
This year, Princeton University and Arizona State University were ranked behind U-M in a tie for third with 26 grantees. A total 36 grants were offered to U-M students, but two declined the offer to accept other opportunities. Another two planned to go to Egypt, but the Fulbright program in the country was suspended for the 2013-14 year.
The full list of student and faculty grantees is available at the U-M International Institute’s website: bit.ly/1buWce5