2017 Fulbright Student Awardees

President Hargis and the 2017 Fulbright Student Awardees

Anaya to conduct research in Iceland

Christina Anaya, a doctoral student at Oklahoma State University, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright-National Science Foundation Arctic Research Award as part of the Fulbright U.S. Student Research Program to study parasites and their hosts in Iceland during the 2017-2018 academic year. The Fulbright program places U.S. students in schools around the world where they act as an ambassador for the United States, work with research advisers in the host country, and learn about its people and culture.

“I am thrilled with this opportunity to establish international collaborations that will strengthen my professional career, allow me to apply the skills I’ve developed as a field biologist, and maintain a strong connection to nature and conservation issues,” said Anaya. “This is made possible with the research knowledge I’ve gained in the Department of Integrative Biology and with the help of my adviser and mentor, Dr. Matt Bolek. I am truly excited and honored to represent the department and OSU in an international context.”

Anaya is a graduate of Fallbrook High School in Fallbrook, Calif. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s ¬degrees from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

During the rigorous Fulbright application period, Anaya developed and submitted a proposal to study parasites in Iceland, titled “Freshwater and Marine Snails as Parasite Biodiversity Indicators in Iceland.”

“Snails are the perfect organisms to gauge which parasites live in an area because many parasites use snails as a host. Snails are often collected for specific parasites, but no studies have used snails as field study indicators of all the parasites in an area, which is what I intend to do in Iceland,” explained Anaya.

She wrote her Fulbright proposal in response to the 2014 Arctic Biodiversity Assessment that urged baseline data be required for parasites in Arctic regions since the effect of climate change on parasite populations could negatively influence ecosystem health and may have consequences for the people in Arctic regions.

“Iceland is a unique area of study because its small size and location make it more susceptible to drastic temperature changes, compared to other northern landmasses,” said Anaya. “It is called the ‘land of fire and ice’ due to its unique geothermal activities, which create a variety of warm and cold habitats where parasites can colonize.”

Anaya’s research experience and course work at OSU emphasize invertebrate and parasite systems, equipping her with specific skills for this type of field work. She’s studied a diverse group of parasites that use snails as dead-end or intermediate hosts in the Bolek lab at OSU, including trematodes, nematodes, nematomorphs, and acanthocephalans. A portion of her dissertation also examines the distribution of hairworm stages in snail hosts by asking how species have co-evolved. Some of the data she collects in Iceland will be used in her dissertation to provide a comparative component.

If you’re interested in following Anaya’s progress, she will have a blog called An American Scientist in Iceland to share more information about her research project as well as thoughts about the people, their lifestyle, and the landscapes she encounters, starting in December 2017.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the country’s largest student exchange program, offering opportunities to students and young professionals for graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. More than 360,000 individuals from the United States and other countries have participated in the program since its inception in 1946. Funded by an annual congressional appropriation to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the program was initiated by Senator J. William Fulbright for the promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science.

Flynn awarded Fulbright for research in Ethiopia

Colton Flynn, a doctoral student at Oklahoma State University, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Award to conduct research in Ethiopia during the 2017-2018 academic year. The Fulbright program places U.S. students in countries around the world where they act as an ambassador for the United States, work with research advisers, and learn about the people and culture.

Flynn, a graduate of Farmington High School in Farmington, Arkansas, is working toward a doctorate in geography at OSU, where his research focuses on the development of remote sensing techniques to predict in-field nutrition levels of grains and grasses for livestock and other agricultural applications. He will be working with the Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute.

“I’ve always wanted to help others and what better way than by battling hunger and malnutrition in Ethiopia, a country currently struggling with these issues,” said Flynn. “The crop I’m studying is a staple in the Ethiopian diet, and I plan to use remote sensing methods to quickly identify iron, calcium and protein levels in the crop, during its growing periods, so action can be taken to increase these levels.”

Flynn currently serves as a graduate teaching assistant in the geography department at OSU and as a biological science aid at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in El Reno, Oklahoma. He earned his bachelor’s in Earth science, and master’s degree in geography from the University of Arkansas, where he developed and fostered an interest in agriculture and food geography. Flynn taught at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, before starting his work toward a doctorate. In his free time, he enjoys swimming, biking, and running in preparation for collegiate-level triathlons.

In addition to the Fulbright award, Flynn is the recipient of the OSU Distinguished Graduate Fellowship, and the Robert and Lucy Fite Scholarship for Outstanding First Year Doctoral Student.

Square awarded Fulbright to teach in Israel

Candace Square, a graduate student at Oklahoma State University, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Award that will take her to Israel for the 2017-2018 academic year. The program places recent American graduates in schools around the world where they act as an ambassador for the United States, help improve foreign students’ English language abilities, and learn about the country’s people and culture.

Square, a graduate of Broken Arrow High School, is scheduled to graduate from Oklahoma State University in May with a master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders. She received her bachelor’s degree in health and exercise sciences with a minor in psychology from the University of Oklahoma.

“I am very grateful to be selected for a Fulbright award, and truly blessed to have the opportunity to teach English in Israel,” Square said. “I am committed to bridging the gap between American and Israeli cultures, and I certainly expect to gain many insights from this experience, which I will cherish and share throughout my life."

Square, who will be teaching at a college in Tel Aviv, explains she was inspired to visit Israel early in life.

“I grew up going to an event at my church called A Night to Honor Israel. The first time I attended, it sparked my curiosity, which grew into a fascination for Israeli culture and history. There’s no better way to learn more about the culture than to be immersed in the country.”

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the country’s largest student exchange program, offering opportunities to students and young professionals for graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide.

Funded by an annual congressional appropriation to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the program was initiated by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 for the promotion of international goodwill through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science.

Stewart awarded Fulbright for research in Germany

Sydney Stewart, an undergraduate student at Oklahoma State University, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Award to conduct research in Germany during the 2017-2018 academic year. The Fulbright program places U.S. students in countries around the world where they act as an ambassador for the United States, work with research advisers, and learn about the people and culture.

Stewart, a graduate of Life School Red Oak Secondary School in Red Oak, Texas, is scheduled to graduate from OSU in May with a bachelor’s degree in animal science (pre-veterinary option) and a minor in microbiology.

She will join a team of researchers from the Institute of Animal Sciences, in Bonn, Germany, to evaluate pig health and biosecurity measures on commercial swine farms in the rural northwestern part of the country.

“We will use bacterial samples taken from the animals, as well as animal health and performance data, to determine if pigs are more susceptible to particular pathogens (infection or disease-causing agents) at specific points in the pork production chain, and whether certain biosecurity measures are more effective than others at preventing the spread of pathogens among pig herds,” said Stewart.

She was attracted to Germany because livestock producers there have already gained a reputation for quickly adapting to strict regulations for antibiotic use in food animals, without sacrificing animal welfare and animal production performance.

“Germany is now the world's third-largest producer of pigs and pork products, and is one of Europe's top livestock producing members,” said Stewart. “By studying modern antibiotic-free disease control and prevention systems on commercial German farms, and identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each system, we may be able to develop viable, cost-effective, practical models for implementation on U.S. farms.”

Stewart, whose family is heavily involved in the U.S. agriculture industry, said she never imagined she’d have the opportunity take part in cutting-edge, internationally-significant research abroad while representing her country and the ag industry.

“To actually have that chance now is an incredible honor and a privilege, and I'm very grateful for my mentors in the Departments of Animal Science and Foreign Languages who encouraged me and supported me throughout the application process,” said Stewart. “I am inspired by Fulbright's mission to promote a 'cultural exchange' between people all over the world, and I strongly believe that my experiences in a diverse, innovative country like Germany will further my development as both a scientist and an effective advocate for agriculture.”

In addition to the Fulbright award, Stewart is a recipient of a General Honors Award and will graduate with the Departmental Honors Award and an OSU Honors College Degree. She is a three-year participant in the Animal Science Undergraduate Research Program, recipient of the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station Undergraduate Research Scholars Grant, and two-time recipient of the Lew Wentz Undergraduate Research Grant.

Stewart’s hobbies include cooking, photography, soccer, and horseback (trail) riding. She was a member of the 2015 OSU Intercollegiate Meats Judging Team and OSU German Club.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the country’s largest student exchange program, offering opportunities to students and young professionals for graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide.

Funded by an annual congressional appropriation to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the program was initiated by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 for the promotion of international goodwill through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science.

HINCH AWARDED FULBRIGHT FOR RESEARCH IN ESTONIA

Jaryd Hinch, a geography major at Oklahoma State University, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Award to conduct research in Estonia during the 2017-2018 academic year. The Fulbright program places U.S. students in countries around the world where they act as an ambassador for the United States, work with research advisers, and learn about the people and culture.

Hinch, a graduate of Ponca City High School, expects to graduate with a degree in geography and minors in art history and microbiology in May and is currently on track to finish college with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. He is the son of Neil and Lisa Hinch of Ponca City.

“I chose Estonia because the duality of their culture is astounding, on one hand, they are a society deeply connected with their traditional roots in nature, on the other hand, they are the world's most digital and technologically-advanced country,” said Hinch. “Upon returning to the U.S., I expect to share what I’ve learned about this synergy of technology and nature in hopes of bringing these apparent polar-opposite concepts together in my own society.”

Hinch was recently honored as Outstanding Senior in the geography department at OSU. He is president of the Geography Club and currently serves as a remote sensing research assistant for Drs. Amy Frazier and Peter Kedron. Hinch also tutors at OSU’s Writing Center, teaches violin lessons, and is the principal violinist for the Ponca City String Quartet.

“In my spare time, I enjoy seeking new knowledge, whether it be independent art history research (chiefly 19th Century European art), perfecting new violin solos, or hiking and seeing new corners of Oklahoma’s physical landscape,” said Hinch.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the country’s largest student exchange program, offering opportunities to students and young professionals for graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide.

Funded by an annual congressional appropriation to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the program was initiated by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 for the promotion of international goodwill through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science.