Each semester, the University of Georgia welcomes scholars from across the globe to promote collaborative research. The Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program awards merit-based grants to international academics who seek to further their education and participate in research projects at American universities. More than 800 international scholars come to universities in the U.S. annually, with visits ranging from three months to one year
UGA has a long history of hosting Fulbright students and scholars from around the world. The university hosted its first Fulbright Visiting Scholar in 1966 and has welcomed 233 to campus since then.
“Being awarded a Fulbright grant from the United States acknowledges the outstanding nature of the scholarship or research the person will be pursuing and confirms the top standing of the hosting or admitting department and UGA’s strong global reputation,” said Robin Catmur-Smith, director of immigration services in the Office of Global Education.
A scholar from Romania is researching digital communications
Visiting Scholar Nicolae Urs, a vice dean from Babes-Bolyai University in Romania, is researching the effects of digital communications on government and nonprofit organizations. He specializes in information policy and public administration.
His faculty research sponsor is Tudor Vlad, director of the Cox International Center and senior research scientist at Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Vlad is an alumnus of the UGA Senior Fulbright Scholar Program and was Urs’ first journalism professor as the head of the Journalism Department at Babes-Bolyai University. Urs interviews civic leaders and public servants across Georgian institutions to understand their relationship with technology and to learn best practices for utilizing digital tools.
Professor from Bangladesh is working on a vaccine for avian influenza
Dr. Rokshana Parvin is a professor at the University of Bangladesh and currently conducting research at the Center for Vaccines and Immunology. Parvin collaborates with Dr. Daniel Perez, a leading H5N1 researcher and Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator Professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Parvin’s team is engineering a reverse genetic vaccine for avian influenza viruses. Read recent findings about the avian flu outbreak from UGA College of Veterinary Medicine researchers.
Parvin became well acquainted with the UGA veterinary college and its researchers while attending global veterinary and agricultural conferences. After completing her postdoctoral research in Germany, Parvin set her sights on pursuing research at UGA.
Fulbrighter from Argentina will study entomology and ecology
Another Fulbrighter with previous ties to UGA is Luis Epele, an ecology researcher from Argentina National University of the Patagonia San Juan Bosco, specializing in the effects of climate change on wetlands and macroinvertebrates, primarily insects.
Epele has previously published a scientific article with his faculty sponsor, Darold Batzer. Epele arrives on campus in April and will begin his research by sampling various Georgian wetlands. He will then travel with Batzer to Colorado and North Dakota to expand the diversity of the data collected across America.
The Fulbright Scholar Program’s mission is to promote intercultural exchange and to advance research globally by encouraging collaboration between universities worldwide. These scholars have professionally transformative experiences while at UGA. Visiting Scholars return to their home universities after completing their research, but their Fulbright experience does not end when they leave Athens.
A continuing collaboration
Parvin will continue collaborating with UGA researchers on avian flu vaccines by sending samples collected in Bangladesh after she returns to her faculty position in Bangladesh. “I want to maintain this international cooperation so that my country can be developed with this, my laboratory can be developed, and my students can learn something from me,” she said.
Epele similarly said, “One of the main objectives is to learn the techniques of sampling and monitoring because here in Argentina, it is not common at all to monitor the wetlands,” Epele explained. “I mainly want to raise awareness. We do not have any robust data to show the effects of climate change here.”
Visiting Scholars do more than just research at UGA. “The teaching methods here are really impressive,” Scholar Balaji Sedithippa Janarthanan said. Janarthanan is analyzing the economics of Indian agriculture while taking classes in the the Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics. “Every student is given an opportunity to express themselves in each class,” he continued. His research will be presented to the Indian Ministry and inform planning for agricultural infrastructure across India.
These Fulbrighters join a lifetime network of International Exchange Alumni. “In a way, it’s like being a part of the same university,” Urs said, “You collaborate with them because it’s easier to relate to somebody who [has had] the same experience as you. I’m looking forward to seeing the opportunities this network will bring.”
This semester’s incoming Fulbright Scholars hail from seven countries and universities.
The complete list of spring 2023 Visiting Scholars includes name, country, research specialty and UGA school:
- Priyanka Priyadarsheni de Silva Wanigasingha Arachchilage, Sri Lanka, University of Peradeniya, entomology
- Luis Epele, Argentina, National University of the Patagonia San Juan Bosco, entomology, and ecology
- Balaji Sedithippa Janarthanan, India, National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, agricultural economics
- Marita Brcic Kuljis, Croatia, University of Split, political philosophy
- Rokshana Parvin, Bangladesh, Bangladesh Agricultural University, veterinary infectious diseases
- Saran Traore, Burkina Faso, forestry
- Nicolae Urs, Romania, Babes-Bolyai University, digital information policy
The Fulbright program, established in 1946, is one of academia’s most prestigious exchange programs. In addition to the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program, the Office of Global Engagement welcomes Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants and the Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
More information about the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program is available here and a full list of past Visiting Scholars at UGA is available here. For more information about incoming Fulbright Visiting Scholars, contact Immigration Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit is.uga.edu.