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Students and Faculty Earn Fulbright Scholarships

by University Relations

Joining the ranks of the world’s brightest scholars, two APU students and two faculty will contribute to the academy this fall as prestigious Fulbright Scholars.

Matthew Gonzalez ’10, a political science major who served as president of the Latin American Student Association (LASA) and was an East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU) Scholar, plans to use his scholarship to teach English in Cantabria, Spain, while researching contemporary Spanish identity. “My decision to apply for a Fulbright fellowship in Spain was directly influenced by my work with LASA, my amazing APU professors, and the support of Vice Provost Diane Guido,” said Gonzalez.

Fellow political science major Margarita Ramirez ’12, a Trustee Scholar, member of the Student Government Association, Honors Program participant, Alpha Chi Region VII national student representative, and recipient of the Gerald Wilson Scholarship, will spend seven months conducting research in the Azores, a Portugese island chain in the Atlantic. There she will research American identity, family members who have immigrated to the U.S., and how Azoreans view America. “My time at APU inspired my research proposal, my world-class faculty prepared me for the work, and my mentors gave me the courage to take this big step,” said Ramirez. “This scholarship is a testament to the great education I’ve received at APU.”

Faculty recipient Michael Smith, MFA, Ed.D., professor in the Department of Theater, Film, and Television, will teach cinematic visual design at the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts (RSICA) in Amman, Jordan, and review RSICA curriculum. “This award represents a significant opportunity for crosscultural learning and exchange. It allows me to share my expertise in the area of cinematic arts production, especially visual design, with a region of the world that is very interested in building a world-class cinema industry,” said Smith. “In addition, this experience will enhance my teaching and creativity at APU.”

Mary Wong, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Global Studies, Sociology, and TESOL, will conduct research on the collaboration between local and native English teachers in Hong Kong for four and a half months beginning in September. Working with Icy Lee, Ph.D., of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Andy Gao, Ph.D., of the University of Hong Kong, Wong will visit primary and secondary English-language classrooms where she will observe, conduct interviews, and analyze data to identify what fosters and inhibits collaboration between the two groups. The findings will impact language classrooms and teacher education in Hong Kong and around the world. “My Fulbright scholarship allows me to work with Christian colleges at two of the leading universities in Hong Kong,” said Wong. “Conducting international research as a Fulbright Scholar represents a lifelong goal, and I will use it to make a difference.”

“These Fulbright awards represent success in a challenging national competition, and demonstrate Azusa Pacific University’s commitment to scholarship at the highest levels,” said Provost Mark Stanton, Ph.D., ABPP. “The remarkable opportunities these Fulbright recipients engage in abroad not only enhance their research and life experiences, but also contribute to the internationalization of the APU community upon their return. We celebrate their successes and we are proud of their accomplishments.”

Originally published in the Fall '12 issue of APU Life.