Fulbright Update from South Korea

Matt in labEarlier this week, the Fellowships Office called up Matt D’Arcy to find out how he’s doing as a Fulbright Student Scholar in South Korea. Prior to starting the Fulbright grant, Matt had spent a few months there as a Critical Language Scholar (CLS). And a good thing too: with his prior preparation plus the few months of immersion, he is able to get around easily, although he is continuing to learn and expand his vocabulary.

Currently, Matt is living in Seoul, where he shares an apartment with a housemate. It takes him about 10 minutes by train or walking to get to the Fulbright offices, popular nightlife areas, as well as the Space Systems Research Laboratory of Korea Aerospace University where he is conducting his Fulbright project. “The public transportation system is extremely efficient throughout the country,” he says, noting that Korea has designed smart phone apps specifically to sync with public transit activity, which is further aided by fast Wifi on-board (and dotted all over the country) that comes with monthly cell phone plans. This makes for a very technologically savvy population.

Matt with vista behind him“You can literally press a button on your home screen and know exactly how long you have before the bus comes, which is great when it’s raining because you won’t have to wait around and get wet.” Due to the reliability of transportation, Matt has traveled quite a bit. Recently, he went on a farming trip to help some members of the Korean Peasants Association harvest their crops, and attended a conference in Jeju Island which he describes as, “Mountains, volcanoes, beautiful forests, and black-rock formations all over.”

These excursions provide welcome reprieves from the demanding, but exciting work, at the lab. Over the past few months, Matt’s been hunkering down and learning a lot of new things, for instance, “software for satellite simulations and math analysis, computer programming, and micro-controllers.” He was also part of the lab team that went to a facility at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) to test the behavior of a satellite when it is subjected to different vibrations, as would happen during a rocket launch.

Matt traditional clothesMatt admits that, even as a Drexel alum, he struggled at first to adjust to the work culture at the lab. “Most of my colleagues live in the lab during the week, and the graduate students there often put in 18 hour days. I put my mattress pad there and if I stay late for a lab dinner, soccer, or crunch time for a project, I will stay put,” he tells us. Not surprisingly, it has been very important for him to establish a good balance between work and personal/social life – after all, he is also there as a cultural ambassador! Many colleagues have now become friends, and while lab work continues to be demanding, he stays on his gym routine, sets aside time to travel and explore, and hangs out with his Fulbright community regularly.

Fulbright offices vary widely from country to country, but the one in South Korea seems especially proactive about making sure the Scholars feel connected. A couple of weeks ago, they organized what Matt calls “a legit Thanksgiving” – turkey and all, which we imagined must have made him homesick. But Matt is loving it in Korea. He feels safe there, where people seem to look out for each other, and is especially enthusiastic about the food. Meals are quite inexpensive and healthy at his university, averaging about $1.50-$3.00 per meal, not to mention, “I’ve gotten so used to rice, if I don’t have rice in the morning it doesn’t feel right. These days, a meal without rice is a day without sunshine,” he grins.
Korean food Matt with fruit

So is there anything he does miss in the US? “Aside from family and friends of course,” a huge grin, “Reese’s peanut butter cups.”

 

Whitaker International Program Information Session

WhitakerThursday December 4th , 12 noon (light lunch provided)

Graduate Student Lounge, Main Building, Room 001A (31st and Chestnut Streets)

In collaboration with Dr. Adrian Shieh, BME faculty, Whitaker Fellow to Switzerland and Alex Valiga, BME student, Whitaker Undergraduate Scholar to Switzerland

The Whitaker International Program sends U.S. biomedical engineering (or bioengineering) students and graduates overseas to undertake a self-designed project that will enhance their careers within the field.  Along with supporting grant projects in an academic setting, the Whitaker International Program encourages grantees to engage in policy work and propose projects in an industry setting.

The goal of the program is to assist the development of professional leaders who are not only superb scientists, but who also will advance the profession through an international outlook.

Deadlines

Eligibility                                                                                                                                           

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Be in biomedical engineering/bioengineering or a closely-related field (ie, Chemical, Mechanical or Electrical Engineering with substantive interest and background in Biomedicine).
  • Graduating seniors, recent alums, or graduate students at any level. (Must be no more than 3 years from the receipt of your most recent degree, or be currently enrolled.)
  • Have language ability to carry out the proposed project in the host country at the time of departure.

 

For more information, please contact Rona in the Drexel Fellowships Office (RBuchalter@drexel.edu) or visit the Whitaker website.

Whitaker International Program Information Session

WhitakerMonday November 24th, 4:30pm

Disque 109 (32nd and Chestnut Streets)

 

In collaboration with Dr. Kara Spiller, biomedical research in Portugal (Fulbright), China (NSF), and Australia; advisor to several Whitaker Scholars and Alex Sevit, BME student, Whitaker Undergraduate Scholar to Denmark.

The Whitaker International Program sends U.S. biomedical engineering (or bioengineering) students and graduates overseas to undertake a self-designed project that will enhance their careers within the field.  Along with supporting grant projects in an academic setting, the Whitaker International Program encourages grantees to engage in policy work and propose projects in an industry setting.

The goal of the program is to assist the development of professional leaders who are not only superb scientists, but who also will advance the profession through an international outlook.

Deadlines

Eligibility                                                                                                                                           

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Be in biomedical engineering/bioengineering or a closely-related field (ie, Chemical, Mechanical or Electrical Engineering with substantive interest and background in Biomedicine).
  • Graduating seniors, recent alums, or graduate students at any level. (Must be no more than 3 years from the receipt of your most recent degree, or be currently enrolled.)
  • Have language ability to carry out the proposed project in the host country at the time of departure.

 

For more information, please contact Rona in the Drexel Fellowships Office (RBuchalter@drexel.edu) or visit the Whitaker website.

Udall Scholarship Information Session

Udall Foundation logoWednesday, Nov 19, 5:30 PM
Webinar: Click to join

The Udall Scholarship is open to college sophomores or (pre-)juniors who have demonstrated commitment to careers related to the environment (or to tribal health policy). The award offers up to $5,000 plus extensive networking opportunities. The Udall Foundation seeks future leaders across a wide spectrum of environmental fields, including policy, engineering, science, education, urban planning and renewal, business, health, justice, and economics. Udall Scholars typically have a track record of promoting environmental issues, a desire for problem-solving or consensus-building, leadership potential and a vision for how they’re going to make a difference.

The Udall Scholarship requires university nomination, and the campus deadline is Jan 15, 2015. The national deadline for this scholarship is Mar 4, 2015.

Learn more about the Udall Scholarship by visiting the Udall Website or attending one of the info sessions hosted by the Fellowships Office. For more information, please visit our website.

Boren Awards for International Study

boren1Monday, November 17th, 6-7 pm
Disque 109

Boren Awards provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Boren Scholars and Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena.

Undergraduate Boren Scholars usually study and/or co-op abroad while Boren Graduate Fellows usually study and/or research abroad. In exchange for funding, Boren awardees commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

A student must be nominated by their home university to apply for the Boren Award. The campus deadline for the internal application is January 6th, 2015. Visit our website for more details.

Fulbright Panel

Fulbright Panel flyer

Boren Awards Info Session

Boren-Info-Session-Flyer1

Udall Scholarship Information Session

Udall Foundation logoThursday, Nov 13, 3:00 PM
109 Disque Hall

The Udall Scholarship is open to college sophomores or (pre-)juniors who have demonstrated commitment to careers related to the environment (or to tribal health policy). The award offers up to $5,000 plus extensive networking opportunities. The Udall Foundation seeks future leaders across a wide spectrum of environmental fields, including policy, engineering, science, education, urban planning and renewal, business, health, justice, and economics. Udall Scholars typically have a track record of promoting environmental issues, a desire for problem-solving or consensus-building, leadership potential and a vision for how they’re going to make a difference.

The Udall Scholarship requires university nomination, and the campus deadline is Jan 15, 2015. The national deadline for this scholarship is Mar 4, 2015.

Learn more about the Udall Scholarship by visiting the Udall Website or attending one of the info sessions hosted by the Fellowships Office. For more information, please visit our website.

Udall Scholarship Information Session

Udall Foundation logoFriday, Nov 7, 12:00 PM
109 Disque Hall

The Udall Scholarship is open to college sophomores or (pre-)juniors who have demonstrated commitment to careers related to the environment (or to tribal health policy). The award offers up to $5,000 plus extensive networking opportunities. The Udall Foundation seeks future leaders across a wide spectrum of environmental fields, including policy, engineering, science, education, urban planning and renewal, business, health, justice, and economics. Udall Scholars typically have a track record of promoting environmental issues, a desire for problem-solving or consensus-building, leadership potential and a vision for how they’re going to make a difference.

The Udall Scholarship requires university nomination, and the campus deadline is Jan 15, 2015. The national deadline for this scholarship is Mar 4, 2015.

Learn more about the Udall Scholarship by visiting the Udall Website or attending one of the info sessions hosted by the Fellowships Office. For more information, please visit our website.

The Perfect Marriage of Politics and Economics: An Interview with Carnegie Junior Fellow, Nevena Bosnic

Nevena Bosnic resizedNevena Bosnic (Economics with minors in Political Science and International Area Studies, BS ’12, Honors) is the first Drexel student to be selected for the Carnegie Junior Fellows Program, a highly-competitive award that enables recent graduates to work for a year with a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Recently, we caught up with her to find out what the fellowship experience was like, and what she’s been up to since.


DFO: What motivated you to apply for the Carnegie?
N:
I recognized early at my time at Drexel that no matter the issue at hand, I was most interested in analysis from an international perspective and through a global lens. When I learned about Carnegie – the institution itself, its reputation, the senior fellows, as well as the weight it carries in both public and private sectors– I knew I wanted to work there. At the time, I had just completed a coop with the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece, and I was enthralled by the Euro-zone crisis. However, I also wanted to expand my horizons and be exposed to topics that I had little or no understanding of, and the JF program offered just that. Moreover, being in Washington, D.C. made the most sense for me given the high concentration of public policy work as well as my interests.

DFO: What was the research you ended up working on as a Fellow?
N:
I continued to work on the Euro-zone, but I also worked on emerging market economies, global inequality, the rise of the global middle class and its implications on governmental systems, manufacturing employment, and international trade agreements. These were all topics I was interested in but never had the opportunity to explore and delve into. One of the more unique projects I got to work on was focused on the geopolitical implications of climate change, specifically how climate change in the Arctic Circle was leading to a subsequent shift in the rapports of countries with interests in access to natural resources as well as new shipping routes.

Carnegie was the perfect marriage of economics and politics, the two topics I am most passionate about.

DFO: What was a typical day like as a Carnegie Junior Fellow?
N:
There wasn’t one! You could be doing research all day, or writing, or working on an event, going to meetings…it was the kind of atmosphere where you wake up every day not knowing what you’ll do, or who you’ll meet, which was very motivating for me. There was a time when I was sitting in my office and General Petraeus casually strolled by, and when the senior fellow I was working with invited me to a meeting with former finance minister, Penny Wong.

I had a lot autonomy working on the portfolio of two senior associates. As a result, my work was very diverse—everything from manufacturing to outer space, and any area that might have geopolitical and economic implications. Although there was lots of reading involved, it was similar, though opposite, of my time at school. In college, you’re paying to study, learn, and take exams, but at Carnegie they were paying me to study, learn, and work with the most sophisticated professionals. It was exhilarating.

DFO: Do you have a favorite memorable moment from Carnegie?
N:
I helped organize an event on the political and economic dimensions of Middle Eastern economies in transition, like Libya and Egypt, which were also experiencing widespread revolutions. It was a wonderful opportunity to organize the event, and have some of the most established and esteemed professionals in the community join in the discussions. As the experts, it may have been intimidating at times to speak with them about topics. However, you really have to go into it knowing that you’re about 20 years their minor, and that it’s ok not to know everything. You’re still young, growing, and figuring out what your passions are.

DFO: In what ways did the fellowship experience meet your expectations, and in what ways in did it surprise you?
N:
It exceeded all of my expectations. I was exposed to many topics and areas in which politics and economics intersected in the most unique ways.

The people I worked with extraordinarily accomplished in their careers, but were also genuinely interested in my professional and personal development. They helped me think about what I wanted to do and what I would have to do get there.

For example, it was fascinating to learn about the ingenious ways a very distinguished and highly-esteemed female senior associate in the South Asia program conducted research in Afghanistan during the early 2000s, such as dressing as a man to have access to high level officials and groundbreaking information. From her and other associates, I realized that to be a catalyst in influencing public policy, there are infinite tracks to success. Some started out in journalism or government, while others were in banking or consulting. However, they all wound up in the non-profit, think tank industry. What surprised me was a function of my own naive perception of think tanks. I learned that though the goal of a think tank is to influence policy, it is very difficult—perhaps impossible—to quantify and measure the true impact of your work. The purpose isn’t only to influence the direction of policy, but also to inform policymakers and the public.

DFO: Looking back, how did Carnegie fit into your long-term goals? Did it help clarify (or change) your vision for the future?
N: I completed the fellowship in August 2013, and decided to stay in DC. Carnegie opened my eyes to a world that I had previously only known through books or reports, and it helped facilitate a stronger understanding of the role of think tanks in impacting policy discourse. It helped me realize that at this stage of my life, I’d like to have exposure to other work environments and experiences. Since I had never worked in the private sector, I decided to pursue that route. I am now working in the research and analysis department of a global commercial real estate firm. Though I can more directly quantify the impact of my work, I wonder whether this is most important. Carnegie really helped to steer me in the right direction in terms of questioning my personal and professional goals, as well as my values.

DFO: Do you have any advice for students who are thinking about applying?
N:
It’s intimidating to put yourself in a position where you are sacrificing a lot of time and energy for a challenging application with no certainty as to its fate. But if you are really passionate about a topic or a region, and if you know what makes you tick, you should absolutely go for it.

I believe Drexel’s coop program was a beneficial part of my application because it showed that I hadn’t only graduated college, but that I had tested the waters and learned more about my professional interests. My three coops all helped me gauge whether a particular industry or career was right for me– and this is a huge advantage for Drexel students.

You graduate Drexel as a more competitive candidate than your counterparts at other universities because you have the 18 months of full-time work experience under your belt.

Thank you for the interview, Nevena!

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