Category: International Main

UA Named a Student Fulbright Top Producer

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama has been recognized as a Top Producing Institution for Fulbright U.S. Student Awards for the sixth time in eight years.

Fifteen UA students received Fulbright Award offers in the 2022-2023 cohort.

“The University of Alabama is proud to be honored as a Fulbright Top Producer yet again, a designation that speaks to the ambition and aptitude of our students and the caliber of our faculty,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “We’re grateful for the influence of the Capstone International Center and the leadership of Dr. Teresa Wise and her staff in preparing the next generation of global leaders.”

Fulbright is the most prestigious United States international exchange program, offering opportunities for students, scholars and professionals. The Fulbright Award of the U.S. Department of State offers one-year grants for independent study and research, and for English teaching assistantships overseas. The highly competitive program selects approximately 1,500 award recipients from more than 11,000 applicants each year.

“Our recognition as a Fulbright Top Producer for student programs is an honor for both UA and for our students,” said Dr. Teresa Wise, associate provost of international education and global outreach. “UA is educating top-quality students who develop both the passion and the skills to transform and impact communities in the U.S. and around the world. As they embark on the unique Fulbright opportunity to teach, learn, research, and grow both personally and professionally, we are enormously proud of each of them.”

The UA students who received Fulbright Award offers in this year’s national competition are: Judson Braly (Kenya), Mathew Cieśla (Poland), Andrew Deaton (Czech Republic), Ihuoma Ezebuihe (Nigeria), Nicholas Hayes (Germany), Sarah Homoky (Germany), Lauren L’Etang (Mexico), John “Jack” Lombardo (Germany), Tegan Murrell (Norway), Marie Neubrander (Taiwan), Wesley Clay Richmond (Germany), Channler Dakota Smith (Taiwan), Samuel Watson (South Korea), Bryan Winkler (Spain) and Leona Yeager (Mongolia).

In addition, Abigail Foes, Abbie Giunta and Anna Kate Manchester were awarded Fulbright Canada – MITACS Globalink Internships for summer 2022. The Fulbright-MITACS Globalink supports U.S. students who undertake advanced research projects in Canada.

Students with an interest in applying for next year’s Fulbright program can learn more at and UA Fulbright advisers Paige Booth, Dr. Matthew Feminella, Dr. Lucy Kaufman and Megan Legerski, can be reached at

Contact: Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications,, 205-348-8325

English Language Institute Celebrates 40th Anniversary

ELI Mural
A mural painted by ELI students in 1982, when the English Language Institute opened

This year, 2022, marks the 40th anniversary of the English Language Institute (ELI) at The University of Alabama!

The program began in 1982 and has since hosted over 7,000 students from over 100 countries.

“It is exciting to be a part of a program that changes students’ lives, helps their education and careers, and provides the opportunity to learn about and appreciate other cultures,” says the ELI’s Director, Amy Taylor.

It is common for former students from all over the world to come back and visit the program. For alumni and current students, the ELI is a home away from home.

With professional teachers and warm and supportive staff members, ELI students often talk about what they enjoy and why they are studying at the ELI:

Joseph from Cameroon – “I like the ELI because since I’ve been here, I have met people from many countries.”

Mareth from Colombia – “I like the ELI because here there are good teachers.”

Maria from Mexico – “I really love the university because it is very pretty, and I am knowing about new cultures.”

Fuka from Japan – “I want to improve my English to get a good job in an English-speaking country.”

Bora from Turkey – “I want to improve my English, and I want to study at The University of Alabama.”

On the 40th anniversary, the English Language Institute appreciates both its former and current students and looks forward to welcoming new students.

UA Selected for First Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama has received an award to implement the first ever Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, partnering with Alabama A&M University in the new program.

 The Gandhi King student and faculty participants in front of a University of Alabama sign
UA and Alabama A&M University are partnering to implement the first ever Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative

The Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative aims to inspire and develop a group of 20 aspiring young civic leaders from India and the United States to work together to advance civil rights, social justice and inclusion locally, nationally and internationally by exploring the histories and legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The program is part of the Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act, championed by the late Congressman John Lewis and passed by Congress in 2020.

“It is an honor for The University of Alabama to receive the inaugural Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative award,” said Dr. Joy Burnham, professor and director of the UA College of Education’s Office of International Programs. “We thank the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. The faculty bring a unique alignment of experts to train, encourage and enhance the 20 amazing, emerging leaders. This is a journey of learning, advocacy, impact, inspiration and working together to make a difference in the future.”

Participants will examine the themes of peace, nonviolence and conflict resolution while building a network of young leaders from the U.S. and India. The program employs an innovative, multipronged framework using social studies, art and counseling to discuss academic themes, process and reflect on program activities, and build participants’ leadership capacities.

“In a time of much political divisiveness, mistrust in leadership, civil disruptions and social tension, and polarity, I believe the Gandhi-King Exchange Initiative couldn’t have come at a more fitting time,” said Demitrius Barksdale, a UA doctoral student and program participant. “This program allows for each of us to grow in servant leadership, civic engagement and cultural exploration while engaging in curriculum, discussion and travel. The initiative is investing in the next generation of leaders through encouraging empathic advocacy and leadership.”

The exchange opened with a one-week virtual program and orientation followed by a two-week academic residency hosted at UA and Alabama A&M University this summer. In addition to classroom learning and discussion, participants visited civil rights sites in Montgomery; Selma; Birmingham; Memphis, Tennessee; and Atlanta. In January 2023, all the Indian and U.S. participants will reconvene in India for an experiential learning component focused on civic movements inspired by Gandhi.

“I have been most excited to learn how to lead with integrity, even when times are challenging,” said Barksdale. “Our world needs leaders who can remain composed, and those who can engage with others beyond their disagreements. There are no greater examples of this style of leadership than Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

Source: Dr. Joy Burnham, UA College of Education,

Contact: Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications,

UA Faculty Members Selected for Fulbright Awards

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Three University of Alabama faculty members were recently selected for Fulbright awards for educators.
A headshot of Cory Callahan
Dr. Cory Callahan

Dr. Cory Callahan, associate professor of secondary social studies education, received a Fulbright Specialist Award and recently completed a trip to Prishtinë, Kosovo, to collaborate on the development of a teacher education program that centers around civic education.

“This Fulbright Specialist Award is a fantastic honor that, in accepting it, I hope highlights the talented colleagues and students I work with each day at Alabama, and the supportive family I am blessed with, especially my wife Amy,” said Callahan. “This award recognizes all of our important work and sacrifices.”

Callahan worked with education faculty at the University of Prishtinë to develop a civic education program, crafted syllabi and curriculum materials for teacher education courses and designed professional development opportunities for the nation’s society and environment, or social studies, teachers.

A headshot of John Kim
Dr. Y. John Kim

Dr. Y. John Kim, associate professor in the department of chemical and biological engineering, was selected as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar. He will join more than 800 U.S. citizens who will conduct research and/or teach abroad through the program.

Kim will visit the Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica, or iBET, at NOVA University in Lisbon, Portugal. He will collaborate with Professor Paula Marques Alves, chief executive officer of iBET, on a joint project on advanced biomanufacturing of tumor organoids, which are miniaturized tissue-like three-dimensional structures that better recapitulate physiological features.

“I am thrilled and honored to receive this Fulbright Scholar Award and to represent our university and country,” said Kim. “The work we aim to accomplish has the potential to provide a more clinically relevant drug discovery platform that will help reduce the reliance on expensive animal models in the future. In addition, the award will help develop and strengthen the scientific and professional ties between our two institutions and countries.”

Through their research, Kim and Alves hope these organoids can serve as an improved platform for precision medicine and personalized drug development for patients with tumors.

“As an organic outcome of the relationships that will be built through the award, I dream of seeing talented Portuguese doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows come study and work at UA in the future,” said Kim. “I have high hopes that the award will be a catalyst for a long-term mutual benefit and help bolster both institutions’ global reputations.”

A headshot of George Daniels
Dr. George Daniels

Dr. George Daniels, associate professor in the department of journalism and creative media, will participate in the pilot cohort of the Global Challenges Teaching Award through the US-UK Fulbright Commission and American Council on Education. Unlike traditional Fulbright Scholar awards that involve travel abroad to live and work in another country, the program provides opportunities for universities in the U.S. and United Kingdom to partner in a virtual international exchange using the Collaborative Online International Learning, or COIL, method of teaching.

Daniels and Dr. Amal Abu-Bakare from the University of Liverpool in Liverpool, England, were selected to collaborate and connect their respective classes focused on racial justice. The goal of the virtual international exchange between UA and Liverpool is to share and compare knowledge across nations, widen students’ perspectives and build vitally important trans-Atlantic links that will help tackle global challenges such as racial injustice collectively.

“It is quite an honor to be the first winner of the Global Challenge Teaching Award for Racial Justice in the U.S.,” said Daniels. “I am looking forward to learning new ways to globalize learning for our students and expanding my own horizons in the area of international education. I believe what I learn about virtual exchanges and collaborative online international learning can benefit others here in The University of Alabama community.”

As part of the virtual exchange, both will not only connect their classes online but also travel to each other’s campuses during the fall semester to engage in person with students from the other campus. Daniels will focus on race, gender and media, while Abu-Bakare will teach about the politics of race and marginalization.

The UA Capstone International Center offers guidance to students and faculty on prestigious international awards. Students and faculty interested in such awards can visit the Capstone International Center website.


Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications,, 205-348-8325

Professor Honored by German Government with Friendship Award

Dr. Thomas C. Fox was honored with the prestigious German American Friendship Award by the German government Wednesday at The University of Alabama Student Center. It is one of the highest decorations bestowed by Germany on a non-citizen and recognizes career achievements and success in fostering German American relations. 

A man in a suit stands next to a woman holding a plaque to commemorate an honor at The University of Alabama.
Dr. Thomas C. Fox was awarded the German American Friendship Award April 13.

Fox is a professor in the department of modern languages and classics and is the director of UA’s German program. He previously served as the department’s chair for several years. 

“I am touched and honored by this unexpected award,” Fox said. “I am grateful to the German government that it is recognizing in this way my modest efforts to promote German American friendship.” 

The award was presented by Consul General Melanie Moltmann of Atlanta on behalf of Ambassador Emily Haber and the Federal Republic of Germany. The award is given semiannually. 

Fox has published several books and academic articles in esteemed journals. At the Capstone, Fox teaches courses on German literature, culture, language, the Holocaust and more. Fox also travels abroad with students throughout Germany and Austria. He has served nationally and internationally in a variety of professional and leadership capacities, including editor of the GDR Bulletin, board member of the Alabama Germany Partnership and president of the Alabama State Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German. 

Contact: Caroline Gazzara-McKenzie, UA Strategic Communications,

UA Junior Receives National Aerospace Fellowship

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – A University of Alabama junior majoring in aerospace engineering was one of 51 students in the nation to earn a Brooke Owens Fellowship, a nationally

Simran Dhoju, Winner of Brooke Owens Fellowship
Simran Dhoju, Winner of Brooke Owens Fellowship

acclaimed program that awards exceptional undergraduate women and gender minorities studying the field of aerospace.

Simran Dhoju, of Kathmandu, Nepal, will take part in the program that pairs each fellow with a summer internship at one of the leading aerospace companies, an executive-level mentor who are senior leaders in the aerospace industry and a peer-level mentor from the Brooke Owens Fellowship alumnae network. According to the organization, Dhoju will be part of the most diverse and competitive class to date.

“For me, receiving the Brooke Owens Fellowship has been the greatest honor of my life,” said Dhoju. “In a highly male-dominated aerospace industry, it is difficult to see representation. The Brooke Owens Fellowship will provide a lifelong network of women and gender minorities who are taking the industry by storm.”

Dhoju will work at Planet Labs as a systems engineering intern in the space systems division. Operating more than 200 earth observation satellites, Planet is the leading earth-imaging satellite company that uses satellite data for various humanitarian efforts in disaster management and response; tracking illegal activities; developing agricultural maps; and monitoring climate change.

“The mission at Planet is quite literally the reason why I pursued aerospace,” said Dhoju. “During the 2015 Nepal earthquake of 7.8 magnitude, I realized how the lack of Nepal’s own satellite caused delays in receiving satellite images to locate the victims. I always wondered how many more lives could have been saved if we had our own earth-imaging satellite.

“This experience introduced me to the aerospace industry, and I have not looked back ever since. One of my ultimate goals in life is to establish an earth-imaging satellite company in Nepal to help with disaster response and management. I think my time at Planet will be the steppingstone of my career.”

During her time at UA, Dhoju has been named an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Diversity Scholar and is currently a project manager with the Alabama Rocketry Association. As the leader of one of the group’s solid rocket teams, her team was selected to compete this summer in the Spaceport America Cup 2022, the largest intercollegiate rocketry competition in the world.

“I identify myself as a triple-minority: a woman in aerospace, an international student in aerospace and one of the few people from my country pursuing aerospace,” said Dhoju. “Receiving this fellowship means inspiring others who look like me to keep fighting and persevering for their dreams.

“It means being a role model that I wished I had growing up. This fellowship helps me celebrate my intersectionality and help others do the same.”

Contact: Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications,, 205-348-8325

UA Professor Honored with Prestigious International Research Award

Dr. Ravi Kumar
Dr. Ravi Kumar

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – An internationally recognized German foundation selected a professor at The University of Alabama for its well-regarded research award.

Dr. Ravi Kumar was chosen for the Humboldt Research Award, granted annually by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to no more than 100 internationally leading researchers of all disciplines outside of Germany in recognition of their academic record.

Kumar is a Distinguished University Research Professor in the College of Community Health Sciences with a joint appointment in the College of Arts and Science’s department of biological sciences and an adjunct appointment in the College of Engineering’s department of chemical and biological engineering. He is an internationally recognized leader in the fields of nanoscience and nanomedicine, which broadly aim to deliver drugs more effectively to the body using particles one-billionth the size of a meter.

Kumar came to the University in 2021 and is the director of the recently created Center for Convergent Bioscience and Medicine.

“The Humboldt Research Award is a great honor for an academic researcher, and we are thrilled one of our own is recognized,” said Dr. Russell J. Mumper, UA vice president for research and economic development. “Ravi’s work is deserving of this award, and we know there are many more innovations and discoveries to come as he and his team continue their focus here at The University of Alabama.”

Researchers nominated for the Humboldt Research Award must have fundamental discoveries, new theories, or findings with a lasting effect on their discipline beyond their immediate research area and are expected to continue producing outstanding research.

The award amount is €60,000, about $68,000, and winners are invited to conduct research they choose at an institution in Germany in cooperation with specialist colleagues.

“This international research award is an amazing accomplishment and a testament to Dr. Kumar and his team,” said Dr. Richard Friend, dean of CCHS. “We are so proud to have him as part of our CCHS team. We will continue to support his passion and desire to expand upon our knowledge of small molecules and oral drug discovery.”

Located in Bonn, Germany, the Humboldt Foundation encourages collaborative research among top scientists worldwide and German researchers.

Award recipients must be nominated by distinguished scientists/scholars employed by a university or research institution in Germany. Kumar was nominated for the award by Dr. Udo Bakowsky, professor at Philipps University of Marburg and managing director of the Institute for Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmacy.

“I am grateful for this recognition and support for our team through the award,” Kumar said. “We strive to improve drug delivery mechanisms so patients can achieve a better quality of life, and this external acknowledgment by esteemed colleagues will boost our efforts so we can seek more solutions to the challenges of finding effective disease treatments.”

Kumar works with basic and clinical scientists in establishing novel drug delivery mechanisms and their application to inflammatory, infectious and vascular disease conditions. His team currently leads more than $5 million in sponsored research projects, including four top-tier grants from the National Institutes of Health, one of which was recently awarded to study nanomedicine treatment for acute kidney injury.

As director of the UA Center for Convergent Bioscience and Medicine, Kumar oversees an integrated approach combining innovative drug delivery strategies with new drug discovery and drug repurposing.

He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, a Foreign Fellow with the European Academy of Sciences, Foreign Member of Academia Europaea, Fellow with the American Association of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and has received several other national and international awards.

Kumar was featured on The Medicine Maker’s 2021 Power List, which celebrates 60 great minds who have brought the world innovation in small molecules, biopharmaceuticals and advanced medicine. Kumar has been recognized for his contribution to the world of medicine as an academic leader.

Kumar joined UA from Texas A&M, where he’d been since 2013. Prior to that appointment, he served about five years as a professor at the University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdom. He was also an assistant professor at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research in India and a research fellow at Saarland University in Germany.

Kumar earned a doctorate in drug delivery from the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee in 2000, a master’s degree in applied chemistry from Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya and a bachelor’s degree in physical sciences from Nagarjuna University.

Kumar is the second UA faculty member honored with the Humboldt Research Award. Dr. Arunava Gupta, Distinguished University Research Professor, was selected for the award in 2010.

Contact: Adam Jones, UA communications, 205-348-4328,

Empowered by Doctorate, Graduate to Lead Road Research in Ghana

Some people travel across the country for the opportunity to earn a degree from The University of Alabama.

And others travel across the world for it.

William Agyemang standing in Shelby Quad

Two years ago, William Agyemang left everything he knew — his wife, his four children, his home in Ghana and his job as a researcher at the Building and Road Research Institute — to pursue a doctoral degree in civil engineering at the Capstone.

Though the journey has been difficult, on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. he’ll walk across Coleman Coliseum’s stage with his diploma in hand, mission accomplished.

“It had been my dream to continue on with my education to get my Ph.D.,” Agyemang said. “I went to a conference in Ghana where I met Dr. Steven Jones. I expressed my interest in furthering my education to him and it all came to fulfillment in 2019 with me arriving here and concluding in my graduation this December.

William Agyemang

“It has not been easy to be away from my family. I would have liked to bring them here, but I could not. I’ve been able to visit them twice, around December each year. My family is very excited about me coming home.”

Jones, a James R. Cudworth professor of civil engineering and the deputy director of the Alabama Transportation Institution, said Agyemang is a fabulous student and a standup guy whom he’s now glad to call colleague as Agyemang returns home to become the deputy director of Ghana’s Building and Road Research Institute.

“He’s 53 years old and decided to leave his family in Ghana and come here by himself for two and a half years and be in classes with twenty-something-year-olds,” Jones said. “That told me how committed he was, that he was serious and that it’s important to his career.

“I’m happy that I could help him and I’m proud of his work. I’m the deputy director of the Alabama Transportation Institute, which funded William’s research, and now my student is the deputy director of Ghana’s Building and Roads Research Institute. So, we have a UA graduate on the leadership team of the transportation institute of an entire country.”

Agyemang said he’s grateful that the knowledge and experience he acquired at UA helped him get the deputy director position. In his new role, he’ll use models to analyze vehicle crash data to gain a more detailed understanding of how crashes occur to ultimately help design safer roadways.

“My research and work will be made available to the national community, which I think will go a long way,” he said. “The hope is to use the data to analyze and cut down on crashes. I hope also to have a good relationship in the future with UA and partner with the University on some of this research.”

Some of Agyemang’s work is already scheduled to be presented to the national community. In mid-January, Jones will present some of Agyemang’s published research at the 101st Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in mid-January in Washington, D.C., which is a premier event in the transportation industry.

“My stay at The University of Alabama has been so interesting,” Agyemang said. “I learned a lot here. If you are focused, UA has the resources for you here and an environment for learning. In the future, I hope that more international students come to UA.”

Contact: Jamon Smith, UA Strategic Communications,

UA Professor Wins Fulbright Awards

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Dr. Andrew Raffo Dewar, professor of interdisciplinary arts with The University of Alabama’s New College and School of Music, was recently selected for two grants from

Dr. Andrew Raffo Dewar
Dr. Andrew Raffo Dewar

the prestigious Fulbright program to teach and research abroad.

Dewar received a Fulbright Specialist Award and was named the Fulbright Canada Research Chair at York University in Toronto.

“I’m very thankful to have been awarded these two Fulbrights and for the support they signify for my current research,” said Dewar. “Receiving both awards within a one-week period was incredibly surprising and overwhelming, in the best way.”

Through the Fulbright Specialist Program, Dewar received support to visit the Antonio Nariño University in Bogotá, Colombia in June. He gave two public seminars on experimental music and intermedia arts, discussing both the history of those art forms and his own creative research in those fields.

Dewar was also asked to help develop a template for an undergraduate curriculum in the field of ethnomusicology, the study of music and culture, and in collaboration with his counterpart at UAN, Professor Rodrigo Diaz, made audio field recordings and began work on a new research project that will result in a new piece of sound art.

As the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in spring 2022, Dewar will share his research and work with students at York University in Toronto. He will also work in York’s DisPerSion Lab, directed by York Associate Professor Dr. Doug Van Nort, on a new intermedia creative work of sound and light entitled “Volver” (“Return”).

“Volver” combines oral history recordings, archival imagery, spatial audio and generative video to relate the complex stories of the 1930s repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Mexican-Americans to Mexico during the Great Depression. The foundation for the piece is oral histories recorded by Dr. Christine Valenciana in the 1970s that are housed at the Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History at Cal State Fullerton.

“To receive this kind of support at this moment in my career simultaneously feels like an acknowledgement of the decades of work I have already completed, and an invitation to stretch my research into new directions with my future work,” said Dewar.

UA Receives Study Abroad Award to Study Water Access, Quality

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama is part of a collaboration to study water access

The grant supports the study of water quality, access, expansion and cultural diversity in Alabama and Barranquilla, Colombia.

and quality in Alabama and internationally while supporting study abroad exchange throughout the Americas.

UA, along with Tuskegee University and the Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia, will investigate water quality, access, expansion and cultural diversity in Alabama and Barranquilla, Colombia.

The collaboration was one of 10 that received funding through the 100K Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund competition sponsored by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and Colombian Institute of Educational Loans and Studies Abroad, or ICETEX.

“UA is honored to receive this prestigious grant from the U.S. Department of State that will help further strengthen our partnership between the Universidad del Norte and Tuskegee University,” said Dr. Carolina Robinson, director of Education Abroad at UA. “This grant will allow us to increase regional student mobility between the Americas and provide an innovative research program for our students.”

The universities’ proposal titled “Alabama-Colombia: Water, Access, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Partnership” seeks to prepare students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics, commonly referred to as STEM, to solve global water issues while working in diverse teams. These teams will develop resources to improve access to safe water and sanitation through the comparative study of ecosystems in Alabama’s Black Belt and Colombia’s Cienaga de Mallorquín region.

“Minoritized students are underrepresented and underserved not only in STEM, but also study abroad,” said Robinson. “This project will increase access to international programming through meaningful hands-on learning. Creating diverse student research teams adds value to projects through the development of innovative solutions.”

The 100K Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the dynamic public-private sector collaboration among the U.S. Department of State and Partners of the Americas working with companies, foundations and academic networks to champion the power of education to support innovative partnerships and training programs between the U.S. and the rest of the Western Hemisphere. The 100K Fund inspires U.S. universities and colleges to partner with higher education institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean to design and carry out new models of academic training and exchange programs throughout the Americas.

Contact: Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications,