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Fulbrights at Ohio State

February 12, 2015

From teaching English in Germany to developing online courses in Jamaica, Ohio State's Fulbrights pursue their dreams and make a difference abroad. Learn more about these 2014-15 Fulbrights and how they're strengthening international relationships.

The prestigious Fulbright awards give Ohio State researchers and alumni a chance to represent Buckeye Nation around the world—and with 20 grant winners this year, the university is recognized as a Top Fulbright Producer by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Ohio State is tied at No. 5 for Fulbright Scholars (faculty and staff) among research institutions and is in the top 20 for student recipients at research institutions. “The Fulbright Program offers opportunities to promote international goodwill and share research and knowledge,” said President Michael V. Drake, MD. “I am grateful that so many Ohio State faculty and students are gaining national recognition for their talents, and I look forward to how these experiences will enrich our teaching and scholarship in the future.”

Learn more about Fulbrights at Ohio State

U.S. Student Top Producer Fulbrights


Layla Banaie

International Studies and German
Class of 2014

Leisnig, Germany

Banaie is living in Germany as an English teaching assistant at the Peter-Apian-Oberschule (grades 5-10) in Leisnig. In the classroom, she serves as a resource for those learning English, whether in conversation or leading a class lecture on a theme in American culture.

“I knew I wanted to pursue a Fulbright as a way to pay forward. I have had so many influential German teachers and professors in my life that I wanted to do the same for students in Germany. Over the past five months, I have had the chance to see the language skills of more than 200 students progress, and nothing in my life has been personally more rewarding to me than this experience.”

Eric Connelly

Globalization Studies and Russian
Class of 2014

Tyumen, Russia

At Tyumen State University, Connelly splits his time between the department of law and economics, and the department of international relations as an English teacher. So far, his time in Russia has given him the chance to experience international, educational exchange while representing the United States and sharing its values.

“Fulbright has provided me the best possible chance to incorporate my studies in globalization and Russian language in a way that is practical, but also personally satisfying. I have been able to live what I studied in the classroom at Ohio State.”

Anna Dorfi

Chemical Engineering
Class of 2014

Mainz, Germany

Dorfi is no stranger to Germany. Before her grant started, she was offered the opportunity through Fulbright to do a language course in Marburg, Germany. Now, she is doing research and working in a lab, studying perovskite solar cells.

“I have always been interested in environmental and renewable energy issues. Germany is a leader in that area in many aspects. I thought a Fulbright combining my interests in renewable energy research in a country with these values was an opportunity I could not pass up.”

Karen Hutzel

College of Arts and Sciences
Associate Professor

Kingston, Jamaica

Hutzel has been attending Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts for the past nine years through an agreement with her department. Her Fulbright is letting her deepen relationships at the college as she supports the development of the college’s online courses and programs.

“The Fulbright has taken this relationship to another level by allowing me to engage with faculty across the college, learn about their programs and help them envision ways to ‘go online.’ I've enjoyed thinking big with the faculty and administrators of the college, and I am excited about what the future holds for them.”

Rafiq Islam

College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Senior Research Scientist and Adjunct Assistant Professor

Adana, Turkey

Through a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, Islam taught two courses in the Department of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition at Cukurova University. In Turkey, Islam lectured in English while another professor translated in Turkish, and he was able to teach about the remarkable and recent scientific developments in the United States.

“Mixing of U.S. and Turkish education styles for collaborative teaching and supervising undergraduate and graduate students is really an experience in life. As a result, I am more active to build collaborations with different educational and research institutes in Turkey (in the) future.”

Jordan Kelsey

Comparative Studies and Spanish
Class of 2014

Tlaxcala, Mexico

Being abroad is not foreign to Kelsey, so he was ready to immerse himself in the culture of Mexico. With plans to teach Spanish in Atlanta after graduation, he embraced the opportunity to travel to Mexico to give English classes to advanced students.

“This was an opportunity to add cultural context to my current understanding of Spanish, as well as a chance to build upon my vocabulary and learn about the ways in which the U.S. and Mexico are tied culturally, geographically and politically. Mexico has shown me beauty, and it will forever be a part of me.”

Yuchen Lin

Speech and Hearing Science and German
Class of 2014

North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

With Lin’s major, she wanted to gain a greater understanding of cross-cultural communication and language and knew the Fulbright program was a way to do just that. Teaching 5th- through 12th-graders in a bilingual school, Lin said her experience so far has been an incredible whirlwind of excitement, cultural learning and exchange that has significantly developed her global perspective.

“I have been given the amazing opportunity to interact with and learn from diverse students and faculty who challenge my thinking, enrich my understanding of communication and culture, and help me grow every day. This program continues to exceed my expectations, and I look forward to more experiences in the months ahead."

Bryan Mark

College of Arts and Sciences
Associate Professor

Lima, Peru

Mark is affiliated with Peruvian Geophysical Institute and is teaching an intensive capacity building course in Spanish. Additionally, Mark is working on a research project based in Huancayo, where they are investigating water resources and sustainability in the wake of ongoing climate change and rapid glacier recession.

“Science is a relational endeavor. Since my work has been showing stark environmental changes to glaciers and water, with major impacts to people, I wanted to spend more time teaching and researching in person during my sabbatical semester.”

Jennifer Mayer

Political Science and Chinese
Class of 2014

Taitung, Taiwan

Mayer teaches English in Taitung to more than 200 4th- and 5th-grade students at MaLan Elementary School. Along with two local co-teachers, they have implemented new teaching methods in traditional classrooms, including English-only lessons and language centers.

“This experience has given me confidence to know I can work and succeed in any environment and has increased my compassion for language learners in all countries who face a similar struggle. That is the greatest gift of the Fulbright program: a chance to understand and appreciate Taiwan in all its complexity.”

Erin McAuliffe

Political Science and German
Class of 2014

Chiang Saen, Thailand

After having spent a semester abroad in Thailand during her sophomore year at Ohio State, McAuliffe knew she wanted to apply for a Fulbright grant to return to Thailand after graduation. She got her opportunity and is now teaching English and working on research with World Education.

“The main things I have learned: Nothing can be predicted; anything can fit on a motorbike; everything that moves or grows can be fried and eaten; and a smile and a laugh fixes any language barrier.”

Rebecca Monteleone

Personalized Study Program focused on disability in the social context
Class of 2014

Canterbury, United Kingdom

Monteleone is studying at the University of Kent, and she’s hoping to identify a functional definition of “disability” for those affected by its political, social and medical usage. Throughout her time in Europe, she’s been able to share her work with some of the most innovative minds in her field.

“I have been empowered to work independently on research I find meaningful. I feel that my experience here, and my ability to work with so many different perspectives, will continue to impact the work I do upon returning to the States.”

Leslie Moore

College of Arts and Sciences
Associate Professor

Utrecht, Netherlands

Moore spent one semester at Utrecht University and is continuing her work there on a special research assignment. Through the Fulbright program, Moore has been involved in both teaching and research related to cultural-linguistic contact zones.

“Living and working as a professor in the Netherlands has immersed me in a context that differs from the U.S. with respect to how cultural, linguistic and religious diversity are understood and addressed. This will enrich my research and my teaching back in the U.S., as will my experience of working with Professor de Haan, who inspires me to try new ways of designing learning environments and research.”

Christine O’Malley

Human Resources
Communications Consultant

Gondar, Ethiopia

Focusing on branding, content and social media in higher education, O’Malley worked with the two partner universities involved in Ohio State’s One Health Ethiopia initiative. She taught a course, developed a communications strategy and published an iTunes U course.

“It’s one thing to read about life in low- and middle-income countries. There is no substitute for being there. I would go back to Ethiopia in a heartbeat. I’m proud to work at a place like Ohio State that helps people live healthier, more productive lives.”

Lauren Stabler

Political Science and German
Class of 2013

Mannheim, Germany

As a master's student in political science at the University of Mannheim, Stabler is working with a team that focuses their research on the development and application of theories of political decision-making.

“The opportunity to live, study and work abroad has broken down limitations I had unknowingly set for myself. My genuine realization that ‘the world is my oyster’ will certainly lead me to jobs and cities I would have never considered prior to my Fulbright year.”

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