Texas Tech University

Graduate Student Earns Prestigious Fulbright Grant

Bailey Bales

May 9, 2018


Jennifer Hewitt is traveling to Germany to research aging in nematodes.

A Texas Tech University graduate student has been awarded a research grant through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, sponsored by the Department of State.

Jennifer Hewitt, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Chemical Engineering, will travel to Germany in August to work at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing (MPI-AGE). She will lend an engineer's perspective to the study of aging in nematodes, which have a similar biological structure to humans.

“I'm really looking forward to continuing the research I do at Texas Tech, but from a biology perspective,” Hewitt said. “Although I love my lab here, we approach the big, complex problems with an engineer's toolbox. Working together with MPI-AGE will, hopefully, yield some exciting results.”

Jennifer Hewitt
Jennifer Hewitt

Hewitt is one of more than 1,900 U.S. citizens awarded grants to study fields of research abroad. She hopes to gain knowledge from her time in Germany to help with her current study of Muscular Dystrophy and other muscle aging in the nematodes, also known as Caenorhabditis elegans, or C. elegans.

“We are very proud of Jen and all her hard work throughout the application process,” said Wendoli Flores, director of the Office of National and International Scholarships and Fellowships (NISF). “Jen's work will not only benefit her goals as a scholar here at Texas Tech, but it also will contribute to the ongoing research in Germany, which is exactly what Fulbright is all about, a mutual exchange between the U.S. and other countries.”

A total of 12 students from Texas Tech applied for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Monica Rivas, a graduate student in the Department of Public Administration, and Helena Williams, a graduate student in the Department of Hospitality & Retail Management, were both selected as semi-finalists. Duncan Knox, a graduate student in the Department of History, was selected as an alternate, meaning he will be awarded should additional funding be made available.

NISF and the Texas Tech Graduate School partnered Fulbright U.S. Student applicants with various faculty mentors who have received funding from the Fulbright Program in the past. Aside from working closely with her research mentor Siva Vanapalli, associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Hewitt also worked with Flores and Tim Dallas, associate dean of the Graduate School and professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. Throughout the application process, students receive feedback from various faculty members to strengthen their applications with the advice of former Fulbright participants.

For more information on applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student program through Texas Tech, visit the website.