July 31, 2023

Purdue ties its Fulbright Scholar Awards record, eight faculty honored

Eight Purdue University faculty have been named 2023-24 Fulbright U.S. Scholars, tying the university’s record for the largest number of awardees in a single year, bolstering its national reputation as a Fulbright top-producing institution and illustrating its unparalleled commitment to excellence at scale.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the United States and other countries. This marks the third time eight Purdue faculty have received Fulbright Awards in a single year, a milestone achieved in 2019-20 and matched again in 2021-22. A top R1 research institution and a proud member of the Association of American Universities, Purdue has been recognized nationally as a Fulbright top-producing institution for three of the past four years.

Exploring how middle school students form STEM identities, using data science to expand sustainable building retrofitting, and developing systems to strengthen the management of coastal and marine areas are some of the projects being pursued by Purdue’s awardees, who will complete their research in educational institutes and facilities around the world.

Awardees, projects and destinations

Paul Asunda, associate professor in the Department of Technology Leadership and Innovation in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. Hosted by Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Asunda will live in Kenya while focusing on “Building Identities and Persistence in STEM Learning Through Engineering Design Practices.”

Douglass F. Jacobs, van Eck Chair of Forest Biology and professor in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, College of Agriculture. Jacobs will live in Sweden and work with faculty from his host institution, Swedish Agricultural University, to research “Forest Regeneration and Restoration to Support Ecosystem Function for the Future.”

Nina Mahmoudian, associate professor of mechanical engineering, College of Engineering. While living in Portugal, Mahmoudian will research “Enabling Real-Time Networked Marine Ecosystem Monitoring.” She will be hosted by the Atlantic International Research Center and aims to develop a network of autonomous maritime monitoring systems.

Bethany McGowan, associate professor in Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies. Based in Finland, McGowan will work with librarians and information studies scholars at Tampere University to focus on “Understanding How Regulatory and Ethical Principles Mitigate the Spread of Health Dis/Misinformation.”

Ming Qu, professor of civil engineering, College of Engineering. Qu will live in Japan and collaborate with research faculty at the University of Tokyo to examine “Advanced Data Science and Sustainable Buildings.” Her goal is to create a state-of-the-art curriculum in the field of sustainable buildings and produce data-driven approaches to building retrofitting.

Sarah Renkert, assistant professor of practice in the Department of Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts. Renkert’s project, titled “Food Aid and Kitchen Controversies: Cooking Together in the City of Hope,” will explore the social and economic importance of state-subsidized communal kitchens and the challenges they face in Lima, Peru.

Dharmendra Saraswat, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering, College of Engineering. While examining “Spatial Data Science and Artificial Intelligence for Indian Agriculture,” Saraswat will design knowledge-building activities and develop a framework for an early-warning rice-disease forecasting system. He will be hosted by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi, India.

Denny Yu, associate professor of industrial engineering, College of Engineering. Yu will examine sensor features’ effects on cognitive load while researching “Real-Time Human-Aware Systems for Enhancing User Performance and Decision-Making.” He will be hosted by Management Center Innsbruck in Austria.

Following the launch of several landmark partnerships with governments, universities and educational institutions around the globe, Purdue received international acclaim for its research excellence in June when the QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University rankings listed it as the No. 27-ranked university in the U.S. and No. 10 among public institutions.

Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has awarded more than 400,000 students, scholars, teachers and scientists the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

The Fulbright Program offers more than 400 teaching, research or combination teaching and research awards in over 135 countries each year. The deadline to apply for the 2024-25 Fulbright Program is Sept. 15. For more information about the program, visit the website or email Christopher Lukasik, provost fellow for Fulbright faculty awards, at clukasik@purdue.edu

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