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May 7, 2007
Four University students and alumni will have the unique opportunity to perform international research as Fulbright Scholars. Alexander Kolosovich, Megan Meschery, Kalani Michell and Gwynne Middleton will study in Russia, Spain, Germany and Malaysia under the scholarship funded by the U.S. Department of State.
"The Fulbright Program's mission is to increase understanding between the U.S. and other countries," said Tamara Valentine, director of the honors program.
Each scholar will pursue a project that relates to their specific field of study. Their projects will also focus on issues that are shared among the Reno-Sparks community and the community where they will study.
Meschery, a Spanish teacher in the Sierra Valley, Calif., received her Master's in Teaching English as a Second Language in 2005. Her Fulbright Scholarship will allow her to do research in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Spain. She said she believes she was chosen as a Fulbright Scholar because of the link between the development issues in Sierra County and the Spanish Sierra Nevada Mountains.
"My research begins with the assumption that rural development, which values the social, cultural and environmental capital of a region positively, affects local public education," Meschery said. "I plan to investigate how this program has directly affected secondary education in this area and then bring the information home to draw from as we move forward with our plan for growth."
Kolosovich, an undergraduate student studying environmental science, will do his research at Lake Baikal of Russia, the world's largest, deepest and oldest fresh-water lake. His grant will also allow him to draw local connections. Although Baikal is more than 60 times bigger than Lake Tahoe, it shares many similar environmental and development issues.
Kolosovich has worked previously with the Tahoe-Baikal Institute and has done research with the institute, the University and environmental organizations. He also has a special interest in limnology, the study of inland waters.
"Upon my arrival in Russia, I plan to begin a study that will quantify the effects of the invasive aquatic plant Elodea Canadensis on the food web dynamics of the near shore habitat of Lake Baikal," Kolosovich said.
Middleton, who finished her Master's in English in 2006 and is currently working toward an English doctorate at Nevada, will be teaching and completing a community environmental research project in Malaysia.
"I hope to develop friendships and partnerships with the community where I will live, and to work with students, the school board, and a local environmental conservation non-profit to design and implement an effective community environmental narrative and photography project," Middleton said. "I feel extremely fortunate that this Fulbright Fellowship will not only allow me to receive further language and teaching training, but that it will also support my research proposal for a collaborative community service project relevant to the region where I will be placed."
Michell is a current graduate student at the University with undergraduate degrees in international affairs and German. She has been given an English teaching award to assist German teachers in English speaking classes. Her year-long project will focus on the effects of immigration on education in Germany.
The Fulbright Program awards approximately 6,000 grants annually and has awarded about 279,500 grants since its establishment in 1946. The program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and currently operates in over 155 countries. The Fulbright Scholarship Board members are appointed by the President of the United States.