CSUN Is a National Leader for Fulbright U.S. Scholars

CSUN was honored with the second-most number of Fulbright awards from among the nation’s master’s-level institutions for the 2018-2019 academic year. 

Three members of CSUN’s faculty and administration were recognized by the distinguished scholarship program, which offers university faculty and administrators, as well as independent scholars, teaching and research awards in more than 125 countries around the world.

CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison

CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison

CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison and two professors, Joanne Scillitoe and Mintesnot Woldeamanuel, were named U.S. Scholars to travel abroad and study in their respective areas of interest.

The award recipients traveled to various countries based on their specialties, conducting research in locations such as France, Spain and Ethiopia.

Harrison, who previously participated in the Fulbright-Hayes Seminars Abroad Program to Jordan and Oman, completed the Fulbright International Education Administrators Seminar in France. The seminars help U.S. higher education officials create empowering connections with the societal, cultural and higher education systems of other countries. Seminars include campus visits with a cross-section of universities and colleges; briefings with faculty and administrators, government officials, and leading educational experts; and tours of historical and cultural sites.

“CSUN is a global university, attracting students and scholars from all over the world, as well as those who hail from Southern California,” Harrison said. “As a university, we are strengthened by these global connections. The Fulbright International Education Administrators Seminar provided the invaluable opportunity to ensure that CSUN remains a leader in implementing the best practices in higher education from across the globe.”

Joanne Scillitoe poses with a colleague during lunch at a Spanish cafe.

Joanne Scillitoe poses with a colleague during lunch at a Spanish cafe. Photo courtesy of Joanne Scillitoe.

Joanne Scillitoe, professor of management, conducted research in Madrid, Spain, on the impact of socio-tech ventures and their technological innovations. These entrepreneurial ventures were created with a social mission at their core, but also utilize technology to meet the needs of their beneficiaries.

“This is a new area of both research and practice globally,” Scillitoe said. “Evidence suggests that running them as either a technology or social venture alone, using existing tools and knowledge, can result in significant problems. Similar to the U.S. and elsewhere, social enterprises are struggling to survive, and subsequently, struggling to provide the intended social impact.”

Madrid is a global hot-spot for socio-tech ventures, making it the perfect location to study for Scillitoe.

“Madrid has recently experienced momentum regarding entrepreneurship and is also currently experiencing a growing, lively tech startup scene including a Google for Startups Campus in the heart of Madrid,” Scillitoe said. “Being a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid is an honor. My hope is that my research in this area will provide valuable insights that will not only be publishable academic work, but also result in new pedagogical programs and practice.”

Mintesnot Woldeamanuel poses by a Fulbright banner.

Mintesnot Woldeamanuel.

In the heart of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, CSUN urban studies and planning professor Mintesnot Woldeamanuel is working to improve the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system’s function, as it has experienced higher level traffic than originally expected.

“I was born in Addis Ababa, so this gives me an opportunity to get back to my origin and give back,” Woldeamanuel said. “The LRT was opened in 2015 in order to meet the needs of the ever-increasing travel demand in the city. My students and I collected data from riders and the adjacent communities, and we also gathered air quality data at several stations. Through the analysis of the data, we hope to find out the challenges [of the rail system], and propose some solutions to the Rail Authority in order to better improve its function.”

Woldeamanuel also hopes to cultivate scholarly connections to the capital of his native country and CSUN.

“Ethiopian universities have unmet needs in quality teaching and research,” Woldeamanuel said. “This experience would open up opportunities for potential collaboration between Ethiopia and CSUN. I plan to involve graduate students in co-writing the manuscript for publications on academic journals.”

In addition to the three U.S. Scholars for the 2018-2019 academic year, CSUN is also attracting attention from the Fulbright program for 2019-2020. CSUN biology professor Jonathan Kelber received a Scholar Award from the Fulbright U.S.-United Kingdom Commission and Cancer Research UK to conduct cancer research this fall in the United Kingdom.

Jonathan Kelber works in his lab.

Jonathan Kelber.

At the University of Manchester and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Matrix Research, Kelber will collaborate with Martin Humphries’ laboratory, exploring how certain proteins that surround tumor cells serve to protect them from anti-cancer therapies.

“Cancer cells are inherently good at adapting to stressors within their local microenvironment,” Kelber said. “Clinically, this prevents cancer cells from responding to anti-cancer therapies and allows them to establish resistance in other tissues. This Fulbright-sponsored work has the potential to advance our understanding of how cancer cell adhesion signaling mechanisms function to support these stress-resistant mechanisms in cancer cells. Of course, the ultimate goal is to identify new treatment strategies that help patients.”

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