Project Statement Samples VIII


I anticipate that after my research in [host country], I will be in a strong position to begin writing a monograph that focuses on women’s education and their scholarly networks in medieval Syria, which is the ultimate goal of my research. Such a publication will be of interest not only to scholars of medieval Islam and women’s studies but also to those who are interested in understanding the historical contexts of Muslim educational systems. Further, I expect that this study can contribute to future work in the field of comparative religions as there are a number of intriguing parallels between medieval Muslim female scholars and their Christian counterparts in Western Europe. Finally, this research will enhance my teaching at Lafayette College. I have found that my passion for my scholarship is best communicated to my students through concrete examples from research that I have personally undertaken. Thus I hope to enliven my teaching and encourage my students to explore worlds beyond those readily accessible through our library collections.

As a Fulbright Research Fellow, I aim not only to contribute to the fields of gender studies and Muslim social history, but also to demonstrate the tremendous potential of archival research on women in countries such as Syria. Research and publications that highlight the accomplishments of medieval Muslims, especially women, in Syria are also likely to generate positive interest and draw greater attention to the rich and diverse history of this region.

Results from this study could be useful for policymakers, educators, and teacher educators as they work to construct programs and policies for preparing and maintaining a high quality teaching force in any country. Having a clearer understanding of how teachers perceive themselves and their work, within a national context, may help us reconsider the ways in which we prepare teachers; it may also help us reconsider what we want public schooling to do and be in the 21st century. Given recent reforms of the teacher training system in [host country], and ongoing dialogue about further reform, this project may help shed light on teacher (and teachers in training) responses to these. It may also provide insight into what these reforms mean to teachers and what impact they may have in the classroom. While of interest to [host country], the project also holds potential more broadly for those interested in teacher preparation and in education. Given that European borders are becoming more transparent and the work force more mobile, this project could be of interest to many European Union countries. In addition, universities and states in the U.S. (along with the federal government) continue to grapple with how best to prepare teachers who can meet the changing demographic and employment needs of the country. At the [home institution], we consistently work to review how best to prepare our teachers and attempt to align our program accordingly. Given that several major universities in [home state] recently failed their review by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), we need to consider whether our current programs accomplish their goals. Having a better understanding of the landscape of teacher identity could help us as we reconsider our own system of teacher preparation. Within the field of sociology, this project will help situate the work on teacher identity within a more globalized context. The project also moves my own work on identity forward, and allows me to work with a new population, teachers, since most of my previous work was with students. I believe engaging in this project will enrich my teaching as well as my research, providing me with greater insight into teacher beliefs and identities, which will help me connect to current and future teachers in new ways.

I expect that my work in [host country] under the Fulbright award will benefit both me and [host], our academic institutions, and society in general.  The Fulbright award will provide me and [host] the opportunity to learn new techniques and share information, to publish research findings, and to build new professional relationships in [host country] and other parts of Europe. For me personally, I will enjoy the benefits of a sabbatical which include time to reflect on my career and the direction of my work, physical and mental renewal, and exposure to a different culture. I feel that I am at the right stage of my career for this experience.  Our academic institutions will benefit from increased faculty performance and satisfaction, enhanced reputation due to the prestige associated with the Fulbright award, and potentially increased grant funding.  Society will benefit from the discovery of new methods for treating and preventing bacterial infections.

Staphylococcus epidermidis is the primary cause of infections of indwelling medical devices such as intravascular catheters, cerebrospinal fluid shunts, peritoneal dialysis catheters, aortofemoral grafts, intraocular lenses, prosthetic cardiac valves, cardiac pacemakers, and prosthetic joints (Huebner & Goldman, 1999). S. epidermidis is a numerically important member of the human skin and mucous membrane microflora which can be transmitted to the surfaces of these devices when they are implanted or manipulated (Mermel, 2000). S. epidermidis grows on medical devices as an adherent biofilm consisting of cells enmeshed in a sticky, extracellular slime that is firmly attached to the underlying surface (Christensen et al., 1982). The slime matrix makes S. epidermidis biofilms highly resistant to antibiotics and host defenses and nearly impossible to eradicate (Costerton et al., 1995). Chronic infection of an indwelling device by S. epidermidis acts as a septic focus that can lead to osteomyelitis, acute sepsis, and death, particularly in immunocompromised patients. S. epidermidis is the leading cause of hospital-acquired bloodstream, cardiovascular, eye, ear, nose and throat infections (Vuong & Otto, 2002), and a major pathogen in catheterized AIDS patients (Tacconelli et al., 1997) and premature newborns (Ohlsson & Vearncombe, 1987). Understanding the mechanisms by which S. epidermidis biofilm cells increase their resistance to killing by antimicrobial agents can lead to the development of novel methods for treating and preventing S. epidermidis infections.

The adhesive forces acting between fibers within native and engineered polymer matrices are fundamental to the mechanical behavior of the materials. Data from tests on model electrospun systems will provide insight into the physics underlying the observed mechanical properties of fibrous scaffolds. Our results will allow for the creation and validation of multi-scale mathematical models of scaffolds15,32 and thus facilitate the custom design of scaffolds for particular applications requiring specific macroscopic mechanical behavior. Further, the methods developed may also be used for probing the interaction between fibrils and fibers in native tissues such as heart valves to better understand the etiology of their mechanical behavior.

I particularly look forward to the new challenges that I will face in [host country] as an outsider confronting my own limited knowledge of [host country language] and culture. My new environment will force me to question, further refine, and gain new insights into time-worn learning activities and teaching habits. I look forward to offering [local] students a unique perspective; at the same time, I realize that my students would teach me so much. In every course, I teach in a collaborative, student-centered setting where we strive to discover broad global perspectives through the lens of literature and wisdom of experience. I want my students to transcend their time and place by thinking critically, analyzing creatively, and reflecting carefully from various perspectives. I look forward to working with my students and colleagues to forge a new teaching and learning environment that draws from the best of both our cultures to foster honest dialogue.

As a Fulbright lecturer in [host country], I would seek to promote cultural sensitivity and understanding in myself and others. I would seek out socially appropriate and constructive strategies for challenging myself and my students to move beyond the fixed boundaries of ours lives and to open our hearts and souls to diverse people, cultures, and ideas. I would cherish the opportunity to continue to move beyond the rigid boundaries of my own upbringing and, most importantly, to help my students to do the same. I would savor this opportunity to study systematically in a collaborative setting with diverse students, to develop a broader and more scholarly theoretical and historical base for my teaching and research, and to share my expertise and my own first-hand accounts of life in the South with students and colleagues. I have been preparing all my life for this opportunity to enrich my own teaching and scholarship as well as the lives of others at home and abroad.

During my time in [host country], I will offer seminars and lectures of interest to the students and faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences at the [host institution]. These will focus on identity and its relationship to modern life and on education and its relationship to broader historical, social, political, and economic forces and structures. I will also offer workshops on qualitative research methods for the social sciences. I believe my expertise in qualitative methods, and in the use of software for qualitative methods, will be especially useful for faculty and students. In addition to offering specific seminars, lectures, and workshops, I will serve as a teacher and/or research mentor for students interested in pursuing research on identity and/or education or for students who would like to further their knowledge of qualitative research methods.

Prof. [Name], as part of an existing funded five-year research program, is heading an effort to develop a Masters program in biomaterials. He is interested in incorporating the pedagogy of challenge-based learning throughout this program. In collaboration, we propose to develop and teach interdisciplinary biomaterials laboratory modules. We will use an existing inquiry-based biomechanics lab course that I teach at [home institution] as a template and the electrospinning process as a flexible platform to teach fundamental concepts of biomaterials processing and characterization. Further, I will take this series of lab modules back to my home institution as we currently have no laboratories in the area of biomaterials. Based on our educational efforts including those proposed herein, Prof. [Name] and I will co-edit a textbook on biomechanics, biomaterials, and tissue engineering laboratories – a practical guide to challenge-based labs. Over ten colleagues have offered to write chapters describing their teaching laboratories, and the publishers we have contacted expressed serious interest in producing this text.

The impact of a Fulbright award for my home institution would be significant. If granted, it would be the first Fulbright awarded to a faculty member (home institution). We are a growing teaching and research institution (1900 student FTE; 90 full time faculty) that has undergone significant change over the last twenty-five years. A Fulbright award will benefit our campus generally by illustrating, to faculty and students, the feasibility and rewards of working abroad. It is for this reason that I will make a concerted effort to bring my Fulbright experience to the campus and community by giving presentations based upon my lectures at the [host institution] and research collaborations I intend to pursue while in [host country]. I will also encourage my peers to pursue lecturing and research opportunities in other countries and will reach out to students interested in studying abroad. And, because our campus does not currently have staff dedicated to International Programs, will use my experience to inform our efforts to build such a program. More specifically, I intend to forge a formal relationship between the [host institution] Program in Global and American Studies and [home institution] Program in Public Affairs through faculty and student exchange opportunities. This will help [home institution] achieve its stated goal of internationalizing its curricula and encouraging global studies.

Socrates famously said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” I believe that if I never take chances and expand my horizons and opportunities, I will not grow as an academic, teacher and scholar. A Fulbright experience would impact my teaching, my scholarship, and my personal relationships. I plan to bring back to my courses in the US experiences I have in [host country], and my teaching will be enhanced by my new experiences and knowledge gained in [host country]. I intend to structure my future courses in the US to reflect and incorporate my … experience. As a social scientist I am quite inquisitive about the world around me. I have a passion for West European Politics, and living in [host country] for four months would be an honor and a privilege. Thus, my scholarship would be enhanced by this experience. Living in [host country] would likely allow me to bring in [host country] as a case in my research projects. I would be able to build professional relationships with other academics as well as social movement leaders which would be useful in structuring future interviews and research projects. Knowledge of German is necessary for some of my research, and [the Fulbright] experience would allow me to build upon and enhance my spoken and written German abilities. I have every expectation that my personal relationships will grow in [host country] as well. I would expect to not just make professional relationships, but build long lasting and personal ties with my colleagues and students in [host country]. I regularly keep in touch with people I have met in different countries throughout my travels and fieldwork as well as with students I encountered in Spain and in different parts of the United States. I fully expect that I would build these ties in [host country] as well and hope to foster future exchanges between [home institution] and the [host institution] with faculty and students. I believe that my time as a visiting professor in [host country] will enhance me personally and professionally and will enrich the [host] university and my home university as well.