Campus Spotlight: Texas A&M University-Central Texas welcomes back its first Fulbright scholar

The Campus Spotlight series highlights the innovative ways in which institutions around the country are promoting the Fulbright Scholar Program and offers inspiration for campus representatives to implement new ideas with faculty and administrators.

This blog post originally appeared in the Killeen Daily Herald on September 6, 2013 and is republished here courtesy of the author, Chris McGuinness.

Texas A&M University-Central Texas welcomed back its first Fulbright scholar, who gave a presentation about his work in the Republic of Cameroon to students and staff Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a phenomenal honor,” said Russell Porter, the university’s associate provost for the graduate studies and research. Mathematics professor Christopher Thron was accepted into the prestigious exchange program run by the U.S. government after a lengthy and competitive application process. Being selected as a Fulbright scholar allowed Thron to travel to the French-speaking nation to teach graduate students at the Higher Institute of the Sahel in Maroua. “I really enjoyed my time there,” said Thron, who holds doctorates in mathematics and physics. “It was a blast.”
The trip marked the second time Thron was granted a Fulbright scholarship. He traveled to Chad in 2004. During his time in Cameroon, Thron taught courses in mathematical modeling, which uses math as a framework to solve real world problems in areas such as infrastructure, transportation and telecommunications. “I wanted to teach math that would be useful to them,” Thron said. “Math can help you manage the resources you have in the most efficient way possible.” Thron said he turned to his graduate students at A&M-Central Texas to help him develop curriculum for his Cameroon students. “I like to keep my (A&M-Central Texas) students involved,” Thron said. While Thorn traveled to Cameroon to teach, he also said those same students had much to teach him. “When you have an exchange between people of different backgrounds ... that’s when real change and progress takes place,” Thron said.