Three students at Texas Tech University received scholarships from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
Kendra Phelps, a doctoral candidate in biology, was accepted to the Philippines to study “Cave Bats in Crisis: Impact of Human Disturbances on Cave-Dependent Bats.” This will be her second year in a row to earn a Fulbright award.
“I will be examining the ecological impacts of cave disturbance on cave-roosting bats in the Philippines,” Phelps said. “Humans are attributing to a rapid decline in these economically and ecologically important species through direct hunting for bush meat, cave tourism, mining for cave minerals such as limestone and phosphate. Cave bats are important for pollinating fruits, consuming insect pests including mosquitoes, and regenerating forests by spreading seeds across the landscape.”
Jennifer Zavaleta, a master’s student in the Department of Natural Resources Management, was accepted to go to Chile to perform a “Program Evaluation of Chile’s Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research Network.”
“I will go to Chile under my Fulbright scholarship in March and stay through November,” Zavaleta said. “I’m really excited. While I’m down there, I will work on two projects.
“In one, I will work for the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity in Santiago as part of the Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research Network. And I will do a program evaluation to see how people are collaborating and what the obstacles are. My second project is working on a watershed management project in Valdivia. I’ll be working with Universidad Austral de Chile.”
Lindsay Huffhines of Lubbock, a marriage and family therapy master’s student in the Department of Community, Family, and Addiction Services, has been accepted to go to Iceland to perform “An Exploration of Factors that Predict Parental Support of Sexually Abused Children.”
“My Fulbright project will involve interviewing and collecting data from parents of sexually abused children,” she said. “I will be working with a professor at the Icelandic Center for Social Research and Analysis, as part of her larger study on stress in children’s lives and its effects on physiology, mental health and behavior.
“I want to find out how mental health professionals and society in general can help non-offending parents be more supportive of their maltreated children, in order to decrease negative outcomes in these kids. Iceland has many social supports in place to assist families, so it is an ideal place to conduct this research. If we can find out what parents need in order to adequately support their children, we could heal thousands of families through therapeutic intervention.”
The students are three of about 1,700 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2012-2013 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
The program offers fellowships for U.S. graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study abroad for one academic year and operates in more than 155 countries worldwide. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.
Tanja Karp, Fulbright program advisor and associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, said she was proud of this year’s winners.
“Obtaining three Fulbright U.S. Student Grants out of 10 applications from Texas Tech demonstrates the high quality of our students’ project proposals,” Karp said. “It shows that obtaining this prestigious scholarship is feasible, and it is my hope that this year’s success encourages more students to apply to the Fulbright program in the upcoming years.”
More information can be found at www.us.fulbrightonline.org.