Lifelong Learners

by Jody Godoy '05

Founded in 1945, the Fulbright Scholars Program was created to promote intercultural and international connection and communication. The program now offers opportunities to students and faculty in almost any area of study through more than 120 programs worldwide, and APU scholars are beginning to take greater advantage of the chance for challenging, intercultural study. Kimberly Battle-Walters, Ph.D., associate professor of social work, was accepted to the faculty program in 2002. After a term in South Africa, she returned to APU in spring 2003 and brought a wealth of intercultural experience back to her work at the university.

The focus of Battle-Walters' six-month stay in Johannesburg was teaching and research. The courses she taught at Rand Afrikaans University included topics such as social welfare policy, crime and delinquency, and cultural diversity. Her research involved case studies of women in various socio-economic situations for her study titled "Race, Class, and Gender in the New South Africa: A Woman's Perspective." In a presentation to the APU community upon her return to the United States, she described the South African women she met as very resilient and strong, with an amazing capacity for forgiveness.

Battle-Walters' work as a scholar was part of her larger role as an ambassador. While in South Africa, she represented the U.S. in exciting and unexpected ways. Her experiences included everything from visiting squatter camps to speaking at church youth groups to speaking at the World Summit on Sustainable Development to meeting Bishop Desmond Tutu to having tea with the Queen Mother of Lesotho.

Chair of the Department of Social Work, Sally Alonzo Bell, Ph.D., said Battle-Walters' experience is the kind in which APU hopes the rest of its faculty will engage. "We encourage our faculty to bring their interests to the world," she said. "As Christian scholars, we are also responsible for bringing Christ to the world."

Battle-Walters agreed such exposure is crucial, as it helps the scholar realize the importance of international relations and thinking beyond U.S. borders. The crux of her own experience was something she hopes each APU student will gain as well: a deeper understanding of the fact that "we're only who we are through each other."

"We encourage our faculty to bring their interests to the world...As Christian scholars, we are also responsible for bringing Christ to the world."

The completion of Battle-Walters' stay marks an increase in APU's involvement with the Fulbright program. Marianne Hattar, DNSc, professor in the School of Nursing, traveled to Jordan in February and will stay there until June as part of the Council for International Exchange of Scholar's (CIES) Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program. She functions as a U.S. ambassador to Jordan, utilizing her expertise and knowledge to forge educational links between the two countries and meeting Jordan's pressing educational needs. During her research, Hattar will work with Princess Muna Al Hussein, mother of Jordan's King Abdullah II. She also plans to conduct original research in the area of health among that country's immigrant women.

While Battle-Walters and Hattar represent the first APU faculty members to receive a Fulbright scholarship during their time at APU, the program is not unfamiliar to APU community members. Professor of English Carole Lambert, Ph.D., and Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Diane Guido, Ph.D., both held Fulbright scholarships in graduate school, and David McIntire, Ed.D., professor of college student development, is a two-time recipient of the Fulbright administrator's award. In the future, APU faculty and administration hope students will also participate in such high caliber scholastic endeavors.

This year, a handful of undergraduates applied to the program and two alumni were accepted. Robert Brigham ’01 and Annette McCabe ’03 are the first students in the university’s history to receive Fulbright Scholarships. Currently serving as APU’s director of marketing and concert administration for the School of Music, Brigham will spend 10 months in Romania, developing music education programs for children in orphanages. His study stems from his concern that the children at these orphanages leave at the age of 18 with underdeveloped social and professional skills. Brigham hopes that therapeutic music education will equip them with skills they can use throughout their lives. McCabe received the Islamic Civilization Grant, which aims to forward the civilization of Muslims worldwide and build bridges between the Arab culture and the United States. She will spend 10 months studying class and generational differences in how Tunisian women view themselves and their roles in society and the family.

Jody Godoy '05 is an editorial intern in the Office of University Marketing and Creative Media. gojogo@apu.edu