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Four ODU Professors Win Fulbright Awards

By Amy Matzke-Fawcett

Four Old Dominion University faculty members have been accepted into the Fulbright Program to research and teach abroad over the next year.

Sachin Shetty, associate professor at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC); Jesse Richman, associate professor of political science and international studies; C. Ariel Pinto, associate professor in engineering management and systems engineering; and Jay Walker, assistant professor of economics, will participate in the program.

"Fulbright awards bring unique teaching and research opportunities to faculty, and help build partnerships overseas," said Karen Eck, assistant vice president of research. "Faculty may go abroad for a semester or a year, but the long-term benefits continue in the form of new experiences, data, teaching methods and internationalization of the curriculum at ODU."

The collaborations are part of what helped Pinto decide to apply for the award; his host is a former Fulbrighter whom he met during the researcher's time in the United States two years ago. Pinto will travel to Swansea University in Wales in 2020 for collaborative research on artificial intelligence as a way to regulate and identify terrorism via social media.

"There are few awards that combine travel, teaching and research while giving you the opportunity to go and have experiences firsthand," Pinto said.

The appeal of working and teaching across countries is a major selling point, Richman said. He'll travel to Budapest, Hungary, to teach two classes at the National University of Public Service from September to December and study the rise of right-wing populism there.

"You really learn something when you teach abroad and, I think, learn to teach in a new way," Richman said. He added that teaching American politics to a non-American audience will likely give him a new perspective that he can bring back to the classroom at ODU.

Research and teaching opportunities can be U.S.-centric, said Shetty, who is teaching and researching cybersecurity at the University of Iceland, broadening horizons in a subject as universal as cybersecurity and developing frameworks for machine-learning based analysis. While on a shorter Fulbright award (he started March 1 and will return April 19), the benefits remain the same, Shetty said.

Though each Fulbright experience is different, the information can be adapted and inform study in the United States, Walker said. In spring 2020, he will teach and research at the Universidad Catolica del Norte in Antofasgasta, Chile, with specific focus on the gender wage gaps in mining communities.

"I anticipate this project to greatly broaden my research horizons," Walker said. He notes that as a first-generation student, he often tries to travel outside the country to not only expand his work, but to better understand the viewpoints of his students, ultimately becoming "the professor I wanted, or perhaps needed, when I was a student."

To read about the experiences of current ODU Fulbright awardees, visit the ODU Research and Fulbright Experience blog.

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