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Three Eberly College of Science alumni earn Fulbright awards for 2017-18

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Recipients will travel the globe supporting the teaching of English or studying and conducting research at foreign universities

The Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State, has selected three alumni of Penn State's Eberly College of Science as award recipients for the 2017-2018 academic year.

These Penn Staters will travel the globe, living with and learning from the people of their host countries while conducting research, teaching English to local students, and carrying out projects in support of the community.

All will serve as cultural ambassadors of Penn State and the U.S., engaging in the community, gaining an appreciation of others’ viewpoints and beliefs, and promoting cultural exchange and mutual understanding.

“The Fulbright program requires students to take a step back and consider a larger picture,” said Caitlin Ting, interim director of the University Fellowships Office, the unit at Penn State that helps students identify and apply for competitive national and international fellowships. “Students need to draw a connection between their academic program and what they envision for themselves, both personally and professionally, and think about how international goodwill and cultural exchange will help them in making the connection.”

“These Fulbright recipients highlight the quality of students here at Penn State,” she continued. “We are thrilled that they have received national recognition from the Fulbright Program and wish them continued success as they embark on their international experience. We hope that their accomplishments motivate more students to consider this opportunity in the future.”

Penn State consistently ranks among the top-producing research institutions in the country for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, with 12 students receiving awards in 2016-17.

The following Eberly College of Science alumni have been named Fulbright recipients for 2017-18:

Nabeel Ahmad

Nabeel Ahmad
Nabeel Ahmad

Ahmad, from Houston, Texas, is a 2015 Penn State graduate, earning a degree in science from the Eberly College of Science and a minor in health policy and administration from the College of Health and Human Development. Ahmad will travel to Indonesia on an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Award. Currently a high school chemistry teacher in Houston through Teach for America, he hopes to learn the Bahasa Indonesian language during his time abroad, while also learning to better empathize with the perspective of new language learners. He also plans to create a percussion club and learn how to play the kendang, an Indonesian instrument used during celebrations. Through the percussion club, he hopes to showcase and share how percussion is used in American hip-hop and pop genres.

Sylvia Biscoveanu

Sylvia Biscoveanu
Sylvia Biscoveanu

Biscoveanu will travel to Melbourne, Australia, this summer on a Study/Research Award, where she will perform research at Monash University with data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), working on parameter estimation for compact binary coalescences. Having previously conducted research at Monash, Biscoveanu looks forward to returning and organizing outreach activities through a Women in Physics group in addition to her research activities.

Biscoveanu is from Yardley, Pennsylvania, and earned a degree in physics from the Eberly College of Science, as well as a degree in Spanish from the College of the Liberal Arts, in May 2017. Biscoveanu also completed minors in mathematics and music performance.

Laura Kastner

Laura Kastner
Laura Kastner

Kastner graduated from Penn State in May 2017 with a degree in statistics from the Eberly College of Science as well as a degree in communication arts and sciences from the College of the Liberal Arts. Next year, she will travel to Malaysia on an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Award to help teach English to high school students, including hosting “English camp” activities to bond with students and allow them time to practice the language outside of the classroom. Kastner most looks forward to forming genuine connections with the people of Malaysia, and is eager to see how her perspective on the world changes after her time there.

Kastner is from Niantic, Connecticut.

Fulbright at Penn State

At Penn State, the Fulbright competition is administered through the University Fellowships Office, a resource for undergraduates, graduate students and Penn State alumni seeking information and guidance regarding scholarships and fellowships funded by sources outside of Penn State. For more information on available fellowship opportunities, visit ufo.psu.edu, or visit the office in 321 Boucke Building.

The University Fellowships Office is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at undergrad.psu.edu.

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