Three Texas Tech Students Earn Fulbright Grants

Students earn the opportunity to conduct research in foreign countries.

Three Texas Tech students received grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. A fourth student was recognized as an alternate for the program.

Erin Grogan

Erin Grogan

Erin Grogan, a doctoral fine arts candidate in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, will travel to Ireland to conduct research studying Irish identity on stage. She is interested in both the turn of the 20th century, when nationalism was at the forefront of Irish culture as well as contemporary creations of identity.

“I’m really looking forward to the culture. Of course I’ll be there conducting archival research, but I’ll also get a chance to see Irish theatre and experience Irish lifestyles on a daily basis,” Grogan said. “My main goal is to come back with a very solid foundation for my dissertation. Outside of my research, I hope to immerse myself in Irish culture and create lasting memories and connections.”

Ivette Noriega, a doctoral candidate in the department of Human Development and Family Studies, will travel to Colombia to research the neurocognitive effects of posttraumatic stress disorder on children exposed to violence and trauma.

Ivette Noriega

Ivette Noriega

“I’ve never been to South America, so I am excited to learn more about Colombia. I’ve met students from Columbia at Texas Tech, and they have all been incredible and warm people,” Noriega said. “I also am looking forward to the professional relationships I will make with Colombian faculty and students there. I also will be volunteering for a nonprofit organization that uses art therapy for children affected by violence.”

Michelle Jones, a master’s student specializing in special education and visual impairment through the College of Education, will travel to India to research how vocational training impacts the social mobility of women who have disabilities. She will conduct her research at the Sharp Memorial School for the Blind, informed by her work as a teacher at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. 

“I’m really looking forward to collaborating with the teachers at the school for the blind,” said Jones. “Since we teach in really similar settings, but in a different culture, it will be interesting to see the differences in techniques of teaching students and how we advocate for students in the community.”

Michelle Jones

Michelle Jones

Gretchen Williams, a doctoral candidate in the Department of History, was chosen as an alternate for the program. She has the possibility of being awarded should additional funding become available. If awarded, she will travel to Spain to research the history of the Calé people in 16th Century Spain. Williams’ father, Jeffrey Williams, a professor in the department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, also received a Fulbright Specialist Award this year. 

“I’m very excited about the project I am doing,” Williams said. “I am working on a dissertation about a group of people who have not yet been incorporated in this period of Spain’s history. I’m really excited to be able to contribute something new to the field that could also help us to better understand this community.”

Texas Tech had a total of 10 students apply for the Fulbright Program. Five students advanced to the semifinalist stage, including undergraduate nursing student, Rebecca Metzler.

Gretchen Williams

Gretchen Williams

“I am so proud of the hard work and dedication each of our Fulbright applicants put into the process. They truly exemplify the top scholars at Texas Tech,” said Wendoli Flores, the director of National and International Scholarships and Fellowships. “Although many of us work diligently to support our students with these award processes, it is the work and talents of the student that earns prestigious awards.”

This year, the Graduate School partnered with NISF to develop a mentoring program. Each Fulbright candidate was given a Fulbright Scholar or faculty mentor to assist with the application process. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is a branch of the Fulbright Program that awards professionals with research or teaching opportunities around the world.

Grogan worked with Andrew Gibb and Paul Reinsch, both professors in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Noriega was mentored by Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo, associate professor in the department of Human Development and Family Studies, and Gary Elbow, a professor in the Honors College. Jones studied with Rona Pogrund and Nora Griffin-Shirley, both professors in the College of Education. Williams was mentored by Aliza Wong, associate dean of the Honors College.

For more information on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, visit the program website.


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