December 2008

Five Colonials Named Fulbright Scholars

James Arthur Miller is one of this year's Fulbright scholarship recipients.

By Julia Parmley

GW’s newest Fulbright scholars are teaching and conducting research in chemistry, regulatory policy, gender studies, and black culture in places ranging from Wales to China.

Associate Professor of Chemistry Christopher L. Cahill’s Fulbright is enabling him to further his research on lanthanides—a series of 15 elements with atomic numbers 57 through 71—at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. Dr. Cahill chose Cardiff to work with lanthanide expert Dr. Simon Pope and to “broaden his horizons” about the materials’ luminescent properties, which can be used in medical imaging and gas sensors.

“It has been quite interesting to see some of the challenges faced by my UK colleagues, as well as the things UK universities do better than we do,” says Dr. Cahill. “Interacting with fellow ‘Fulbrighters’ has been quite rewarding, and comparing notes with other Americans while abroad is an education in and of itself.” Dr. Cahill says he looks forward to bringing different perspectives back to his work at GW.

Steven Balla, associate professor of political science, is at Peking University in Beijing, where he is lecturing on regulatory policy in China and the United States. He became interested in Chinese policy while teaching a course at GW on U.S. regulatory policies, a subject he has researched for the last decade. Dr. Balla’s wife and two children joined him abroad, and they maintain a blog, www. an-american-family.blogspot. com, to keep in touch with family and friends. He calls their experience so far “fantastic.”

“China’s regulatory system has an impact on the United States, and it affects the health and safety of the world’s most populous country,” says Dr. Balla. “Being here allows me to be more aware of regulations in development and to begin the process of researching these regulations. It has been very exciting.”

In January, James Arthur Miller, chair of GW’s Department of American Studies and professor of English and American studies, will leave for University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he will collaborate with a colleague on a course on black Atlantic literature. Dr. Miller explains the subject involves exploring the ways black writers and “expressive culture,” such as film, music, and the visual arts, and its themes have traveled around the world.

“I anticipate that my research and teaching at the University of Witwatersrand will lead me in new directions when I return to GW, and it will certainly shape my cur¬rent work,” says Dr. Miller.

Assistant Professor of Global Health Sarah Orndorff will also head overseas in January—to the University of Tirana in Albania, where she will research gender, law, and transition. Last spring at GW, a visiting Fulbright scholar from Albania worked with Dr. Orndorff and encouraged her to pursue her research interests on emerging democracies and gender studies in Albania. She will be joined by two GW master’s students and says she is very excited for the opportunity to pursue a research project with practical global health applications.

“Albania is experiencing a lot of transition including economic, political, legal, and social. Everything is affected, even gender roles,” says Dr. Orndorff. “One bright spot is that the country recently passed a new law addressing family violence, an unusually progressive law given the context, and Albania may become a model for domestic violence prevention in the region. This is one aspect of what I will be attempting to understand while I am there.”

Brian Rowe, assistant director of GW’s Career Center, got a fresh perspective on university career counseling in Berlin, where he attended the U.S.-Germany International Education Administrators Program seminar at the German-American Fulbright Commission. Rowe and other U.S. university staff traveled around the country to tour schools and meet with teachers and career service professionals. Rowe learned firsthand about the Bologna process, a series of reforms that will establish a uniform higher education system in the European Union, and spoke with German career service professionals about employability issues in Europe and the United States.

“It was interesting talking with German professionals on these new educational standards and how they might affect employability in the country and in the United States,” says Rowe. “At GW, I work with students on how to characterize study abroad experiences on their resumes or how to work abroad, and now I have established contacts in Germany I can consult. It was an experience of a lifetime.”

Ten visiting professors are teaching and conducting research at GW during the 2008-09 academic year through the Fulbright Scholar¬ship Program. The professors come from countries around the world, including India, Saudi Arabia, and Ukraine.

The brainchild of GW Law School alumnus and U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright, L.L.B. ’34, the Fulbright Scholarship Program provides funding for study and research abroad in a wide range of disciplines, including social sciences, business, performing arts, physical sciences, engineering, and education and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.


Send feedback to:


GW News Center


Cover GW Home Page Cover