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FIU faculty take on the world as 2023-2024 Fulbright Scholar awardees

FIU faculty take on the world as 2023-2024 Fulbright Scholar awardees

July 18, 2023 at 5:00pm

Which faculty member doesn’t dream of spending time abroad working with colleagues on a joint project, advancing their own scholarship and immersing themselves in a country and culture different from their own?

Seven FIU faculty successfully competed for a Fulbright "Scholar Award" and have been invited to teach, research or do both for a semester or two in North Africa, South Asia, South America and Europe during the 2023-2024 academic year.

Since 1946, the U.S. Department of State’s flagship educational exchange program - the Fulbright program - funds faculty and student participation in international academic exchange “to increase mutual understanding and support friendly and peaceful relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” Today, more than 160 countries worldwide are partners in this program.

“I am thrilled that Fulbright recognizes our faculty’s excellence and ability to collaborate with partners across the world and make a lasting impact,” says Vice Provost Heather Russell. “These faculty serve as FIU ambassadors and advance our foundational goals of serving our global community, fostering cross-cultural academic engagement and creating greater international understanding.”

FIU’s 2023-2024 Fulbright Scholars will join three FIU Fulbright Students who will teach and research in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Slovak Republic and Taiwan in the next academic year.

Nasar U. Ahmed, associate professor and founding chairman of the departments of epidemiology and biostatistics in the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, will join Daffodil International University, Dhaka, Bangladesh, in the fall. He will focus on enhancing the public health curricula, assist in the development of doctoral programs and create more collaborative health research opportunities. His work will be extended to several universities in Bangladesh, including Bangladesh Health Science University, Dhaka University and Jahangirnagar University. In addition, his proposed research activities will focus on preparing the workforce for global health and sustainable development goals of the United Nations.

Ligia Collado-Vides, teaching-researcher professor and marine botanist in the Department of Biology, will join the University of Algarve ALGAE-Marine Plant Ecology and Center of Marine Sciences in Portugal in the fall. Her project will focus on researching macroalgal blooms species characteristics including field abundances, experimental evaluations of physiological responses to nutrients and detecting the CO2 and methane fluxes on beach casts. The research will compare the massive algal blooms occurring across the Atlantic and will evaluate potential similarities occurring at the regional Atlantic wide level. 

Michael Eckroth, assistant professor in the Wertheim School of Music, will travel to Brazil during the late summer and early fall 2023 semesters. In conjunction with the faculty and graduate level music students of the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte and along with a community of local musicians, he will develop a collaborative group of works in modern jazz and Brazilian music. Besides curating a series of local performances, he will be composing music for large and small ensembles that will culminate in recordings and presentations of the work. He will also coordinate a series of seminars, working closely with the graduate jazz performers at this university.

Andrea Fanta, associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages, will spend the fall semester in Bogotá, Colombia, at at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, where she will conduct research on the migration origins of Colombians to the United States and the Colombian diaspora. Her research examines the impact of digital memory, archives and identity preservation on national identity and aims to strengthen connections between Colombians in the homeland and the diaspora.

Javier Mendoza, associate professor and director of orchestral studies in the Wertheim School of Music, has been awarded a Fulbright Research Fellowship and will be working at the Centro Superior de la Investigación y Promoción de la Música at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, where he has been named honorary professor. His research will expand upon his previous work focusing on Spanish music of the 18th century in both Europe and the Spanish Americas, along with the role that Spain played in the dissemination of Galant and Italianate music during the last half of the 18th century. The project will also include performances and collaborations with the Camerata Antonio Soler and the Asociación Luigi Boccherini.

Abdelhamid “Hamid” Meziani, professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, will join the math department at the University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene in Algiers, Algeria, during the fall and part of the spring semesters. He will teach a graduate course in partial differential equations and initiate graduate students to his research on elliptic equations with degeneracies. He expects that his visit will serve as a stepping stone for a long-term collaboration between young Algerian and U.S. mathematicians.

A seventh faculty member was conferred a Fulbright Scholar award but later had to decline.

More than 800 U.S. scholars – faculty members, artists and professionals from all backgrounds – teach and conduct research overseas through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program annually. In addition, over 2,000 U.S. students, artists and early-career professionals from all backgrounds in more than 100 different fields of study receive Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards annually to study, teach English and conduct research overseas.

The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program. In the United States, the Institute of International Education supports the implementation of the Fulbright U.S. Student and Scholar Programs on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, including conducting an annual competition for the scholarships.