Fulbright Scholars Study Variety of Fields Abroad

Associate News Editor
(September 9, 2004

In 1946, immediately after World War II, Senator J. William
Fulbright, set out to build international cooperation by sending
scholars overseas to study a variety of fields.

With the help of the Constitution, he created the Fulbright
Program, which, according to the Institute of International
Education (IIE) website, “aims to increase mental
understanding between the people of the United States and other
countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge and

Since then, the program has sent over 255,000 students abroad,
“with the opportunity to observe each others’
political, economic and cultural institutions, exchange ideas and
embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of
the world’s inhabitants.”

Similar to Oxford University’s Rhodes Scholarship, the
Fulbright program asks each student to illustrate, in detail, his
or her project proposal if honored with the award.

This fall, two Mustangs will join the growing list of those who
have benefited from the Fulbright experience.

Dena Pritchett, a current International Studies major, and
Jonathan Yim, a 2004 graduate from the Meadows School of the
Arts’ Division of Music, will depart this semester to
continue their fields of study in Asia and Europe,

“[Pritchett] is going to the Middle East to study
women’s roles,” said anthropology professor Michael
Adler, who currently serves as SMU’s Fulbright Program

“She wants to study globalization and women’s status
in a part of the world where it has been traditionally

Pritchett is no stranger to foreign soil, however, as her
parents’ involvement in different international organizations
while growing up allowed her to live in countries such as Congo,
Ethiopia, Kenya, Italy, Switzerland and Tanzania.

Recognized on the Honor Roll with High Distinction during his
time at SMU, Yim (B.A., ’04) will take his musical talents to
Austria this fall.

“[Jonathan] wants to study a certain composer and the
works he left behind in Vienna,” Adler explained.

Yim, a Crowley, Texas native, will enter the Musikwissenschaft
program at Wiener Universität this semester.

Pritchett and Yim endured a diligent process before being
selected to receive the endowment. After submitting an online
application, those contending for the scholarship were interviewed
by three faculty members, including Adler.

“In the interview,” he said, “we look over
their proposal and make suggestions. Based on that, we send our
[selections] to the Fulbright folks in New York.”

In addition, applicants must submit three letters of
recommendation from university faculty or staff members.

“It also helps to have a letter from the institution to
which you’re applying,” Adler revealed.

This year’s winners, Pritchett and Yim, were chosen from a
pool of seven SMU candidates.

According to a May press release, “The U.S. Student
Program awards approximately 1,000 grants annually and currently
operates in over 140 countries worldwide.”

These 1,000 grants are distributed among a rising number of
hopefuls from across the nation.

“Last year, the Fulbright Program received 5,295
applications,” Adler explained. He went on to point out that
less than 20 percent of all candidates were actually endowed with
the award.

The competitive nature of the scholarship stems from the
precious benefits it offers; “full grants generally provide
funding for round-trip travel, maintenance for one academic year,
health and accident insurance and full or partial tuition,”
the press release said.

Those chosen to study abroad with the program are able to do so
thanks to a set of generous donors, primarily the United States

Fulbright scholars also tend to exhibit some of the same
professional characteristics.

“A very clear research statement,” is the principal
quality that bonds the aspirants, Adler said. “Again, we look
for students to be highly accomplished in their classes, especially
in their field of study.”

But the fellowship has not been limited to students.

“Faculty members and teachers can go if they have a good
enough reason and credentials,” Adler said.

Whoever it may be, Adler hopes for the number of SMU applicants
to continue its current trend of growth.

“Associate Provost [for Educational Programs] Tom Tunks
has really stepped up the program in terms of getting more faculty
advisers and students better informed,” he said.

Fulbright scholarship applications, due no later than Oct. 1,
are available online at www.iie.org.

According to the press release, “Applicants to the
… program must be U.S. citizens at the time of application
and hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent by the beginning
of the grant.”

Adler urged candidates to apply as soon as possible.

“Start right now!” he said.

Any questions regarding the Fulbright Program should be directed
to Michael Adler at (214) 768-2940.

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