2019-20 British Fulbright Scholar Award grantees

As part of the Fulbright Visiting Scholar programme, our Scholar Award grantees for 2019-20 come from academia and a range of other professions.

Biyi Bandele

Biyi Bandele

All Disciplines Award, New York University - Film Production

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Biyi Bandele

Biyi Bandele

All Disciplines Award, New York University - Film Production

I am a novelist, playwright, and filmmaker. I wrote and directed the films Half of a Yellow Sun (2013) starring Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, John Boyega, and Anika Noni Rose, and Fifty (2015). My TV work includes Not Even God is Wise Enough, directed by Danny Boyle (1994) and two seasons of the MTV series Shuga (2013 & 2015). My plays include Rain, Death Catches the Hunter, Marching for Fausa, and Resurrections. Amongst his theatre adaptations are Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1997), Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko (1999) and Federico Garcia Lorca’s Senora Carrar’s Rifles (2007). I have written several books, from my first novel The Man Who Came in from The Back of Beyond (Heinemann, 1991), to Burma Boy (Jonathan Cape, 2007), which has been translated into French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Hebrew, Polish and Swedish. I am an artist by-fellow at Churchill College at the University of Cambridge. I am currently working on a feature documentary on the human rights activist and creator of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti.

I look forward to living in New York and inside the vibrant community of great filmmakers there. I also look forward to taking the occasional long distance trip across the US by Amtrak.

Aisha Bismillah

Aisha Bismillah

All Disciplines Award, Dartmouth College - Organic Chemistry

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Aisha Bismillah

Aisha Bismillah

All Disciplines Award, Dartmouth College - Organic Chemistry

I am recent PhD graduate from the Department of Chemistry at Durham University. During my PhD, I conducted research on fluxional carbon cages and their “shapeshifting” properties, which have the potential to meet some of the longstanding challenges in chemical sciences such as drug discovery and I have accrued several awards, grants and scholarships while making a positive contribution to the community through outreach events, tutoring and volunteering. My ambition is to use chemical science to tackle the longstanding challenges we face as a society while having academic knowledge which can be applied to the up-and-coming generation of scientists. 

During my Fulbright project and working with Prof. Ivan Aprahamian, I hope to investigate and create artificial chemical negative loops which have the several applications such as lowering blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. I am excited to work alongside the talented scientists at Dartmouth while creating outreach events for children and young people who are interested in STEM. In my time outside the laboratory, I plan to hike the great American outdoors while immersing myself in the New Hampshire way of life.

Catherine Bovill

Catherine Bovill

Elon University Award, Elon University - Education

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Catherine Bovill

Catherine Bovill

Elon University Award, Elon University - Education

I am a Senior Lecturer in Student Engagement at the Institute for Academic Development, University of Edinburgh, and Visiting Fellow at the University of Winchester. I am a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Member of the UK Teaching Excellence Awards Advisory Panel and an Editorial Board member for Teaching in Higher Education. I co-authored a book with colleagues from Bryn Mawr College and Elon University: Engaging students as partners: a guide for faculty.

I will be based in the School of Education at Elon University, where I will conduct research into the nature of student-faculty relationships inside and outside the classroom and examine the influence of positive relationships on student engagement. I will be involved in teaching two courses on the MA in Higher Education and contributing to Elon's strategic planning and leadership. I am excited to spend time with students, faculty and staff at Elon, which has an excellent reputation for high quality learning and teaching. Having performed my first Edinburgh Festival Fringe Show in 2018, I plan to perform another show in 2020 based on my Fulbright experience.

Colin Chu

Colin Chu

Fight for Sight Research Award, National Institutes of Health - Opthamology

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Colin Chu

Colin Chu

Fight for Sight Research Award, National Institutes of Health - Opthamology

I am an ophthalmologist and honorary senior research fellow at the University of Bristol. It is increasingly clear that the immune system plays a critical role in almost every aspect of health and disease from ageing to heart disease and cancer. Similarly, my research has focussed on studying immune responses that can lead to blindness. This Fulbright scholarship has given me the opportunity to work with Dr Ron Germain - a world-leading immunologist – to apply his pioneering techniques to the eye for the first time. By using Histocytometry, immune cells within the intact 3D architecture of the eye can be classified to an unprecedented degree in different experimental models of disease. By increasing our fundamental understanding of immune processes, we can improve the diagnosis, monitoring and development of new treatments for patients suffering with vision loss. As part of Fulbright I hope to be a strong advocate for vision research. I’m also looking forward to living near Washington DC and learning about American culture, visiting the historical monuments and getting lost in the many Smithsonian museums!

Kieran Connell

Kieran Connell

All Disciplines Scholar Award, New York University - Modern History

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Kieran Connell

Kieran Connell

All Disciplines Scholar Award, New York University - Modern History

I am a Lecturer in Contemporary British History at Queen’s University Belfast who looks at issues such as race, immigration and sexuality. I previously worked at the University of Birmingham and the Open University and have curated three major public exhibitions of artwork and photography. While writing my first book, Black Handsworth: race in 1980s Britain, I became interested in the way in which debates around ‘race relations’ in the United States influenced academics, politicians and activists in Britain, in the context of growing immigration from its colonies and former colonies. My Fulbright project therefore examines more fully the role that American researchers and funding bodies played in shaping British attitudes towards ‘race relations’ in the years after the Second World War. From my base at New York University, I will examine archival records held by institutions across East Coast – both from individual researchers who made trips to Britain in the 1950s and 60s, as well as those of the American funding bodies that often sponsored them. I also am interested in sport, music and literature. In my free time am looking forward to retracing the road trips that inspired some of my favourite novelists and musicians, as well as – just maybe – getting my head around baseball.

Freya George

Freya George

Lloyd’s Scholar Award, Johns Hopkins University - Geochemistry and Petrology

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Freya George

Freya George

Lloyd’s Scholar Award, Johns Hopkins University - Geochemistry and Petrology

I am a recent PhD graduate of Carleton University, Canada. As a geologist with a passion for the outdoors, I interrogate the metamorphic rock record both in the field and in the laboratory to try to elucidate processes that occur deep within the Earth. During my Fulbright, I will be applying spatially-resolved microanalysis to rocks from the Dominican Republic to investigate the mechanism by which fluids are transferred from the surface of our planet into its interior. Results of my research aim to provide insight into the vital influence of plate tectonics on the volatile cycle, and has implications both for the development and evolution of Earth’s atmosphere and habitability, and our understanding of subduction zone earthquakes along regions such as the western seaboard of the Americas. My Fulbright will serve as an unparalleled opportunity for me to progress my academic and professional development with collaborators both at Johns Hopkins and Pennsylvania State University and I hope to use it as a means of positively promoting the role of women in STEM research. I am also looking forward to exploring the eastern USA, sampling the crab-centric Maryland cuisine, and to playing in the Baltimore city soccer leagues.

 

Michelle Griffin

Michelle Griffin

Royal College of Surgeons Scholar Award, Stanford University - Regenerative Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery

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Michelle Griffin

Michelle Griffin

Royal College of Surgeons Scholar Award, Stanford University - Regenerative Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery

I am an Academic Plastic Surgery Registrar at University College London, holding an NIHR Clinical Fellowship under Professor Peter Butler. Through two masters and a PhD I strive to combine regenerative medicine research and reconstructive surgery to improve the outcomes of children with congenital facial deformities. With Medical Research Council, Royal College of Surgeons and Action Medical Research fellowships I completed my UCL doctorate and created cartilage facial implants using 3D-printing and children’s own stem cells. As a Fulbright scholar, I will continue my postdoctoral work with Professor Michael Longaker’s group at Stanford University to develop my 3D-printed facial implants with a novel type of stem cells isolated from skeletal tissues. As Prof. Longaker’s laboratory first identified the skeletal stem cell I’m excited to learn from world renown stem cell leaders. I hope that the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of Stanford will enable me to create a novel pioneering platform for manufacturing facial engineered cartilage for treating birth defects that can make a clinical impact soon. I will balance my spare time between my passion for surfing and the outdoors in California’s coastal waters with keyboard playing and enjoying San-Francisco Bay area’s vibrant jazz scene.

 

Ingi Iusmen

Ingi Iusmen

Schuman Award, Harvard University - Politics

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Ingi Iusmen

Ingi Iusmen

Schuman Award, Harvard University - Politics

Originally from Romania, I’m a lecturer at the University of Southampton (Politics) where I teach (undergrads and postgrads) and research topics linked to EU politics, public policy and the protection of children’s rights.

At Harvard University I will be working with some of the world’s top experts, such as Professor Jacqueline Bhabha, to understand how ‘durable solutions’ for unaccompanied migrant children are reached and what helps children’s resilience during the asylum process. The overarching aim of this timely and original research project is to generate policy recommendations conducive to durable solutions for child refugees and responsive to their views. I strongly believe that excellent academic research should help make a difference to the lives of vulnerable groups, such as refugee children. As a Fulbright-Schuman scholar I will have the opportunity of using my US experience to benefit, on my return, the protection of child refugees in the EU. I believe that my time in the US will have a profound personal and professional impact on me and my career, as well as providing evidence that could improve the plight of child refugees across the world.

Karen McCarthey Woolf

Karen McCarthey Woolf

All Disciplines Scholar Award, University of California, Los Angeles - Creative Writing

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Karen McCarthey Woolf

Karen McCarthey Woolf

All Disciplines Scholar Award, University of California, Los Angeles - Creative Writing

Born in London to English and Jamaican parents, I write poetry, criticism and drama. My collection An Aviary of Small Birds was described as an ‘extraordinarily moving and technically flawless’ (The Poetry Review), ‘pitch perfect debut’ (Guardian) and was shortlisted for the Forward Felix Dennis and Fenton Aldeburgh prizes. I make radio features and drama for BBC radios 3 and 4, and I have presented my work across the world or in different sites online like the andersfogh blog or many other sites along with other media from the Americas and Europe to South East Asia.

Elisa Palomino

Elisa Palomino

All Disciplines Scholar Award, Smithsonian Institute - Fashion Design

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Elisa Palomino

Elisa Palomino

All Disciplines Scholar Award, Smithsonian Institute - Fashion Design

In the UK I am the Fashion Print Pathway leader at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London. I am a fashion designer, researcher and fashion educator. My Fulbright project will examine Indigenous Arctic Fish skin clothing: Cultural and ecological impacts on Fashion Higher Education, and the learning strategies that are most beneficial for promoting these skills in university students.

I will carry out my research with leading academics in the field of Arctic anthropology under the mentoring of William Fitzhugh, Director at the Arctic Studies Center at the Smithsonian Institute. This research will build connections between anthropology, ethnography and environmental protection taking in consideration global issues of fashion’s sustainability and the impact that our fashion practices are having on the planet. The research looks at how can we learn from fish skin, a new raw material and from local knowledge applied to fashion through case studies working with fashion HE students and fish skin artisans using participatory practices.

Rashmi Patel

Rashmi Patel

All Disciplines Scholar Award, Harvard University - Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis

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Rashmi Patel

Rashmi Patel

All Disciplines Scholar Award, Harvard University - Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis

I am an academic psychiatrist based at King’s College London. I specialise in psychotic disorder research using digital healthcare data. Psychotic disorders cause enormous suffering for affected individuals and a key challenge is preventing relapse.

As a Fulbright scholar I will visit the Division of Digital Psychiatry at Harvard University to develop more accurate methods to predict relapse by analysing smartphone and electronic health record data using machine learning.

Psychosis is a serious mental disorder which affects up to 3% of people worldwide. I hope that my research will contribute towards more effective relapse prediction and better treatment outcomes and that my experience as a Fulbright Scholar will help to foster increased collaboration between the US and UK in mental health research.

I sang as a tenor choral scholar while studying Medicine and in my spare time I look forward to joining a choir to learn about US choral music.

Michael Preedy

Michael Preedy

British Heart Foundation Award, Yale University - Cardiovascular Science

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Michael Preedy

Michael Preedy

British Heart Foundation Award, Yale University - Cardiovascular Science

I was born and raised in North East London where my enthusiasm for biology began in local state schools. I read Biomedicine at the University of East Anglia and graduated in 2015. I moved to the William Harvey Research Institute at Queen Mary University of London for my postgraduate training with Prof. Adrian Hobbs.

As a cardiovascular scientist, I am interested in the physiology and pathology of the heart and blood vessels. At Yale, I will study how vascular cells process lipids, and investigate whether lipid uptake and metabolism contribute to cardiovascular disease. I hope that, in addition to improving our knowledge of cardiovascular biology, my Fulbright project will identify novel pharmacological targets and encourage therapeutic innovation that will ultimately benefit patients with cardiovascular disease. I am delighted that Fulbright partners with the BHF, and I am excited to work with Prof. William Sessa and the outstanding scientists at Yale. Outside of the lab, I am looking forward to exploring Yale’s libraries, museums, and galleries, and indulging in the food, drink, and music that New Haven has to offer.

Kasim Rafiq

Kasim Rafiq

All Disciplines Scholar Award, University of California, Santa Cruz - Conservative Biology

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Kasim Rafiq

Kasim Rafiq

All Disciplines Scholar Award, University of California, Santa Cruz - Conservative Biology

I am a wildlife researcher whose interests mainly centre around large carnivore ecology and conservation. My journey into large carnivore research was unpredicted. I followed up my undergraduate thesis on sperm competition in bean beetles by taking consecutive research assistant positions in Africa.  Here, I worked on a range of species, from large carnivores in northern Botswana to chacma baboons in the mountains of South Africa.  I went on to complete my Master’s research on leopard ecology at Durham University, and then spent two years in the Botswanan bush collecting my doctoral data, graduating from Liverpool John Moores University in 2019. It was during my recent time in Africa that I began to appreciate the scale and the depth of the data being collected everyday by wildlife tourists, and I went on to pilot a program to survey wildlife densities using tourist photographs.

My fellowship at UC Santa Cruz will build upon this work and by focusing on the intersections between conservation and technology will look to scale the project across other regions.  Along the way, I hope to bring the research skills and lessons learnt from African carnivores to American wildlife.

 

Kendra Reynolds

Kendra Reynolds

Fulbright Scholar in Residence, University of Tulsa and Tulsa Community College - Literature

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Kendra Reynolds

Kendra Reynolds

Fulbright Scholar in Residence, University of Tulsa and Tulsa Community College - Literature

I completed my PhD at Ulster University in Northern Ireland. Having published on the political challenges posed by twentieth and twenty-first century writers to limited mindsets, I am passionate about literature that opens us up to the possibility of new ways of thinking and being in the world. I am also Chairwoman of Women Aloud NI and have begun publishing my own poetry. During my Fulbright, my project will be ‘Teaching & Learning at Public and Private U.S. Institutions – an Irish Emphasis’. I aim to offer an Irish perspective on contemporary literatures for U.S. students and establish, for both them and I, links between issues of racial, gender, religious, and economic divides in our respective communities. My aim is to create a meaningful cross-cultural dialogue that expands both my mindset as a scholar, and the mindsets of the students I will meet. Having also been given the opportunity to teach creative writing in poetry, the project offers a rare opportunity for me to combine both my academic and creative passions. As an animal lover and equestrian, I plan on finding ranches to visit in Oklahoma and dream of seeing some wild mustangs.

Joe Ryan-Hume

Joe Ryan-Hume

Royal Society of Edinburgh Scholar Award, Boston University - US History

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Joe Ryan-Hume

Joe Ryan-Hume

Royal Society of Edinburgh Scholar Award, Boston University - US History

I am a senior researcher at the Scottish Parliament and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Glasgow, where I completed my doctorate in 2017. My scholarship explores the relationship between political ideologies and institutions in twentieth-century US, focusing principally on the intersections of race, gender and post-war liberalism. My thesis "Standing in Reagan’s Shadow: Liberal Strategies in a Conservative Age" explored these aspects, questioning the notion of conservative ascendancy and the so-called "Reagan Revolution" in the 80s by reinterpreting the impact of liberalism at the time. During my PhD, I also secured a prestigious international fellowship, the Tom Lantos Congressional Fellowship and worked as a fellow in the US Congress for six months. My first day was also Donald Trump’s first day, which to be an "interesting" time at the heart of US politics. During my Fulbright I will take up residence at Boston University to work with an esteemed professor in my field, Bruce Schulman, and turn my PhD into a monograph. I will also explore the historic Scots-Irish cultural connections in the city (mainly through pubs!) and will attempt to play American Football (and likely fail!).

Jack Seddon

Jack Seddon

Lloyd’s Scholar Award, Georgetown University - Global Reinsurance Markets

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Jack Seddon

Jack Seddon

Lloyd’s Scholar Award, Georgetown University - Global Reinsurance Markets

I am Associate Professor of International Political Economy at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. I am originally from Bath in the United Kingdom. I work at the intersection between international political economy and economic history. While at Georgetown, I will pursue research into global reinsurance markets, focusing on the impact of new technologies and actors. I have worked at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy and Queen’s University Belfast. I have also held visiting positions at the University of Pennsylvania, the Graduate Institute in Geneva and Exeter University. I received my M.Phil. and my Ph.D. from the University of Oxford. Before beginning my graduate studies, I worked as a capital markets lawyer in London and Brussels. In my free time, I love to play golf, read, and exercise. I look forward to traveling and learning from people across the US during my fellowship.

Tom Stonier

Tom Stonier

The Urology Foundation Scholar Award, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center -Prostate Cancer Research

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Tom Stonier

Tom Stonier

The Urology Foundation Scholar Award, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center -Prostate Cancer Research

I'm a full time Urology trainee on the South London Urology Registrar rotation. With the support of the Fulbright-TUF Scholar award I will be spending three months at the world famous MSKCC to further my research into salvage prostatectomy (prostate surgery after failed radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer) under the guidance of Dr James Eastham. The aim is to collect data on patients who have undergone this procedure across multiple centres to determine how effective it is in the modern era of robotic surgery. On returning to the UK I will further promote collaboration on this topic, as well as new research areas, between MSKCC and my host research institution Guy’s Hospital in London. I am passionate about laparoscopic/robotic cancer surgery, as well as research in this field, and this will provide an invaluable experience for me. Outside of work I am interested in exercise and food and will use the opportunity to explore everything New York has to offer.

Karlyn Sutherland

Karlyn Sutherland

All Disciplines Scholar Award, Corning Museum of Glass - Architecture

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Karlyn Sutherland

Karlyn Sutherland

All Disciplines Scholar Award, Corning Museum of Glass - Architecture

Originally from Lybster, in Caithness, Scotland, I graduated with a PhD in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh. I was a 2016 Endeavour Research Fellow within the Australian National University, the recipient of the 32nd Rakow Commission from Corning Museum of Glass in 2017, and the winner of the 2019 Craft Scotland Prize for Design and Craftsmanship. Central to my work is a long-standing interest in the bond between people and place. My practice-based research explores this dialogue through glass and architecture, with a focus on how characteristics and qualities of space can shape our experience, memories and sense of attachment to our surroundings. During my time at Corning Museum of Glass, I will develop and explore an experimental creative strategy capable of aiding the appreciation, understanding and creation of atmospheres of place within architecture. A series of site-specific and place-responsive works in glass will support my theoretical research hypothesis, forming an integral part of this research. This scholarship will allow me to advance my research agenda and to push my work forward into a more global arena, providing me with the geographic distance and dedicated time, facilities and expertise necessary to rigorously explore the next phase of my place-based research.

Goran Tomic

Goran Tomic

Cancer Research UK Scholar Award, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory - Oncology and Cancer Biology

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Goran Tomic

Goran Tomic

Cancer Research UK Scholar Award, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory - Oncology and Cancer Biology

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Francis Crick Institute in London. Following a PhD in oncology at the University of Cambridge, I wanted to immerse myself further into cancer research, focussing on the areas where more investigation and novel therapies are much needed.

My grant will take place at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory that is an institution renowned for its scientific impact and hosts leading researchers in pancreatic cancer field. Becoming acquainted with new techniques and establishing strong collaboration with colleagues in the US will be of great importance moving forward.

Being passionate about science, I am excited to share the knowledge and ideas that will bring us closer to our common goal. I hope that my findings will make a contribution to the field, open new areas to explore and ultimately help deliver improvement in treatment for patients.

Fulbright-CRUK award will empower me to pursue ambitious goals while inspiring others, as well as enable me to be at the forefront of the efforts to tackle critical health challenges. Besides great science, I intend to explore local history and culture, and would like to visit New England in autumn.

Derick Wilson

Derick Wilson

Fulbright Scholar in Residence, St. Philip’s College - Restorative Practices

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Derick Wilson

Derick Wilson

Fulbright Scholar in Residence, St. Philip’s College - Restorative Practices

Currently I am Reader Emeritus in Education with Restorative Practices (Ulster), having been involved in practical reconciliation work in Northern Ireland since 1965 with: the Corrymeela reconciliation community; as a detached youth-worker; a parent establishing an integrated school and an engaged academic. This scholarship strengthens relationships between St Philip’s, a unique Historically Black and Hispanic Serving College, and Corrymeela. St Philip’s College wishes to challenge their students more, through offering international experiences while supporting them be at ease in study, work and service within diverse local communities. From my post-doctoral research and experience as an Equality Commissioner, I believe that reconciliation in contested and secure societies is best promoted when the inter-connected principles of equity, diversity and interdependence underpin learning relationships, organisational cultures and public policy. St Philip’s and its local partners wish to draw on my restorative practice in community relations, mediation, conflict studies, political dialogue, educational and criminal justice practices. Restorative practices and restorative learning cultures can potentially embed hope, and lasting change, in our personal lives and in the cultures of civic institutions.