Carnegie Mellon University
May 12, 2017

Six Students Receive Fulbright Awards To Study Abroad

By Julianne Mattera

Image of the 2017 Fulbright awardees
Six graduating seniors have been named 2017 Fulbright Award winners. From left to right, they are: Kayla Lee, Melanie Diaz, Philip Nantawisarakul, Timothy Gao, Rudina Morina and Emily Joyce.

Carnegie Mellon University's six Fulbright award winners for 2017 will teach and conduct research in Spain, Taiwan, Mexico, Ecuador, Switzerland and Germany.

"This year's Fulbright awardees personify the ideals of the Carnegie Mellon undergraduate experience," said Joanna Dickert, assistant director of undergraduate research in CMU's Fellowships and Scholarships Office. "They are committed scholars and citizens who have crafted distinctive paths for intellectual exploration that embraced experiential learning via undergraduate research, study abroad and service learning. We have every confidence that they will continue to learn, create, discover and inspire in their respective host countries as ambassadors for Carnegie Mellon and the United States."

The Fellowships and Scholars Office provides support to students who are interested in applying for nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships.

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsors the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries."

This year's Fulbright winners are:

Melanie Diaz, Class of 2017, Bachelor of Arts in English and Global Studies, with a minor in Politics and Public Policy

Diaz, of East Los Angeles, is the recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship award. In a position co-sponsored by the Government of La Rioja, Spain, Diaz will spend her summer teaching up to 16, 50-minute class periods a week in La Rioja. She will assist in English language classes and other subjects taught in English at an elementary or secondary school. She also hopes to volunteer with an organization focused on refugee assistance.

Timothy Gao, Class of 2017, Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences

Gao, of New York City, is headed to Yilan and Taipei, Taiwan, after being awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. Primarily, he will teach English and science in the rural elementary schools of Yilan County. He also plans to work with grassroots non-governmental organizations on mental health awareness, an issue that Gao said "remains stigmatized" in East Asia.

Emily Joyce, Class of 2017, Bachelor of Science in International Relations and Politics; and a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Studies

Joyce, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, will travel to Mexico City, for the Fulbright-García Robles Binational Business Internship Program. In addition to an internship through the program, Joyce will take classes in economics.

Kayla Lee, Class of 2017, Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies and Hispanic Studies, with a minor in Politics and Public Policy

Lee, of Seattle, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. She will work in Ecuador at a public university or English training program where her responsibilities could include presentations on topics related to the United States and its culture, preparing classroom activities and encouraging students' communication in English. She also plans to volunteer with local non-governmental organizations.

Rudina Morina, Class of 2017, Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Morina, of Kosovo, will spend the next year in Zurich, Switzerland, after being awarded a Fulbright Study/Research Grant. She will conduct research at the Institute of Neuroinformatics, a joint institute of the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Morina's research will focus on using computational techniques to study the neural computations underlying cognitive processes like decision-making and attention.

Philip Nantawisarakul, Class of 2017, Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences/Neuroscience Track

Nantawisarakul, of Ellicott City, Maryland, is the recipient of a Fulbright Study/Research Grant. He will be traveling to Munich, to work at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry and study at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich. His research will revolve around attempting to find biomarkers of stress-inflicted mood disorders through clinical fMRI studies.