Seven Fulbright-Hays fellows named

This year, the government shutdown delayed the start dates for the grants.

By Sarah Manhardt

UChicago again led the nation this year in dollar value of prestigious Fulbright-Hays Fellowships for Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad grants. Of the 80 total fellows affiliated with 34 institutions, seven are graduate students at UChicago. The UChicago students received $281,325 combined worth of grant money out of the $3,036,237 million awarded in total. Other institutions with large grants include the University of Wisconsin, Madison with $265,123 and Cornell University with $215,058.

UChicago’s fellows are Zebulon Dingley, Chris Dunlap, Carlos Grenier, Eric Hirsch, José Pérez Meléndez, Antje Postema, and Joshua Solomon.

Over the past few years the grant program’s future has been uncertain due to funding concerns, according to Jessica Smith, Assistant Director of Fellowships in Graduate Student Affairs. This year, fellows were announced in September, and the grant money was disbursed shortly before the government shutdown in October. However, the shutdown still created complications.

“Luckily, before the shutdown came, we received our grant award so we knew, OK, the money’s there. There definitely has been about a month delay on when fellows could start their grants because the Department of Education was shut down for several weeks, so everything’s still a little backed up,” Smith said.

The Fulbright-Hays Fellowships for Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad is part of the Fulbright-Hays Program, named after the late Senator J. William Fulbright, who sponsored legislation to increase America’s understanding of the rest of the world. Fellows must study in areas of the world not typically taught in U.S. curriculums. They cannot study in America or Western Europe.

“Pretty much anyone in non-western history wants to get this grant, and we all write proposals for it and just hope for the best,” said Christopher Dunlap, a fifth year Ph.D. student in the history department, who received a grant for his project, “Scientific Communities, Nuclear Energy, and the State in Brazil and Argentina.”

“I was happy to receive the grant, but to be honest, I wasn’t terribly surprised. However, that’s a testament not to the quality of my research project, but to the quality of the information provided by the University’s Office of Graduate Student Affairs,” Travis Warner, a seventh year Ph.D. student in the political science department, wrote in an e-mail. Warner won the grant last year for his project “The Electoral Connection in the Chinese Countryside: Top-Down Accountability and Rural Governance.”