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The College congratulates its Fulbright scholars

CLASS faculty, student and alumna awarded prestigious grants

Rebecca Lee

The College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences has claimed all of the Fulbright-affiliated grants awarded to University of Houston faculty and staff for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Adding to the Fulbright Scholar award to Rebecca Lee, associate professor of nutrition in the Department of Health and Human Performance previously announced in February are three more grants:

  • Fulbright Research Grant to John Reed, professor of sculpture and director of the School of Art
  • Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship for to Glenn "Boomer" Trujillo, master's candidate in the Department of Philosophy
  • Fulbright Research Grant to Donna Huanca, 2004 bachelor's of fine arts graduate of the School of Art.

Both the graduate student and alumna sought out the advice and guidance of the UH Campus Fulbright Review Committee.

"I am very proud of Glenn and Donna," said Veronique Tran, Fulbright program adviser. "Their selection from a nationally-competitive applicant pool is a testament to the caliber of training and support that a Tier One university provides to our students."

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright program was established in 1946 to "enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries."

Professor Reed will be on a faculty development leave this fall while living and working as a Fulbright Scholar in Spain. His residency is being hosted by the Universidad Miguel Hernandez Facultad de Bella Atres de Altea in xxx, an academic program created from the ground up as a cross-disciplinary visual arts collaboration.

During his five-year term as director of the School of Art, which ends August 31, Reed cultivated the creation of two new graduate programs, an interdisciplinary minor and a cross-disciplinary curriculum in a creative research center.

"After five years of reworking the School internally, I would like to expand the School outwards and forger ties with other schools and with other artists working internationally on the same fronts," Reed said.

He will also spend his semester in Spain building and, eventually, exhibiting "meta-instruments" that use digital interfaces and interactive media to explore sound and the relationship of time and space.

Dr. Lee is working with researchers at the Instituto de Ciencias Aplicada a la Actividad y al Deporte in Guadalajara during her nine-month stint in Mexico as a Fulbright scholar.

Lee, director of the Texas Obesity Research Center housed in her department, and her international colleagues are developing education and training protocols for healthcare practitioners and researchers that allow them to better define and document obesity and the environmental factors that contribute to excessive weight gain.

"Recent data suggest that the problem of obesity has emerged in Mexico, particularly among you," Lee said. "Mexico has been cited as having the second highest obesity prevalence after the United States in the world."

Alumna, artist and clothing designer Huanca will also be in Mexico for nine months, but she will be studying the Mexican Muralist movement and indigenous textiles in Mexico City.

"This will be me first time working extensively in any Latin American country, so I look forward to the context of my surroundings influencing my work greatly in this stage of my development," she said.

As a designer of high-fashion wearable art, Huanca's work has been featured in British Vogue. Her art work has been exhibited and performed in Dallas; New York; San Francisco; Berlin, Bonn and Frankfurt, Germany, as well as in Poland and Korea.

Unlike his fellow Fulbright recipients, graduate student Trujillo's primary focus for his time abroad is to export knowledge rather than incorporate new cultural influences into his research.

He will teach English in Germany by screening films and leading philosophical discussions on art and morality in American popular culture. One film the West Texan from Dumas plans to show the German middle- or high-school students he will teach is "Remember the Titans," starring Denzel Washington.

"The movie discusses the cultural phenomenon of American football, which is especially true in Texas," he said, "but it also conveys racial tensions that happened mid-20th century in America."

Current UH students and alumni interested in applying for the 2012-2013 Fulbright program should begin their applications this summer. Contact Veronique V. Tran, UH Fulbright Program Adviser at discovery@uh.edu.

- Shannon Buggs and Marisa Ramirez

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