Michael Davis of Feeding Hills awarded Fulbright Scholarship to Brazil


One of a record-setting 9 Fulbrights at Fairfield University

Image: Michael DavisMichael Davis of Feeding Hills, Mass., has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, the most prestigious international scholarship awarded by the U.S. government, to conduct research on the social and environmental impact of ethanol production in Brazil. Michael is one of nine recent Fairfield University graduates selected for the Fulbright, setting a record that nearly doubles the previous record of five. Before this stellar class, the university already held the most Fulbrights among master's granting universities across the country for two of the last three years.

Michael, who spent six months in Brazil in a study abroad program during his junior year said, "By leaving your country and taking part in another person's culture, you're disrupting stereotypes and seeing people as they are, which really encompasses the mission of the Fulbright."

It was while he was living in Rio that he started learning about the sugar-ethanol industry and decided he wanted to learn more. He said Dr. Edward Dew, professor of politics who has conducted extensive field research in Surinam in South America and recently returned from Brazil where he conducted research on land reform, was "fantastic" and provided encouragement "that this project was both feasible and important."

Michael will be departing in March for Sao Paulo, the largest sugar-cane producing region in the country, where he will be at the University of Sao Paulo at the Luis de Queiroz College of Agriculture. "One of the most admirable qualities of Brazilians," he says, "is they are very open and friendly. I look forward to hearing their stories and learning as much as I can from everybody I meet."

Michael will return to the states at the end of December, 2009, to begin his law school studies, after which he wants to commit his efforts to working on a solution to the energy problem.

The other Fairfield graduates awarded Fulbrights this year are:

Kathleen Bakarich, of Clifton, N.J., an accounting major, who will conduct research and take classes in international accounting and European Union business in Frankfurt, Germany;

Ceylan Conger, from Kensington, Md., a politics major and art history minor, who will do research in Turkey on The Role of Women in the Modern Art Movement;

Michael Meehan, from Holland, Pa., an economics major, who will research The Finance of Small Enterprises in Germany;

André Moraes, of Monroe, Conn., a finance major, who has an English Teaching Assistantship in Germany;

Courtney Pelletier, of Westminster, Mass., an art history major, who has an English Teaching Assistantship in Indonesia;

Matthew Ryder, of Hamden, Conn., a philosophy and individually designed major, who will be in China conducting research on "A Population's Chance for Assimilation Found within the Education of its Children";

Daniel Turco, from Upper Saddle River, N.J., an international studies/modern language (German) major, who has an English Teaching Assistantship in Germany; and

Alice Zapf, of Freehold, N.J., an international studies/German major, who will combine research into Austria's Role in International Politics with an English Teaching Assistantship.

Dr. Orin Grossman, academic vice president, said he couldn't be prouder of the students who set their goals high and then worked hard to achieve them. "These are very bright, inquisitive students who like a challenge. They are certainly a credit to our university." He also commended the faculty who so generously gave of their time and expertise as the students went through the demanding process and Associate Dean Miriam Gogol, who oversaw the Fulbright process on behalf of the University.

Fairfield University students have been awarded a total of 53 Fulbright Scholarships in the last 16 years.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on July 28, 2008

Vol. 41, No. 8

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