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UA home to 8 of this year's Fulbright U.S. Scholars

UA ranked 3rd in producing scholars for 2018-2019
Posted at 5:03 PM, Feb 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-15 20:17:44-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — University of Arizona is a top producer of Fulbright Scholars for 2018-2019. The Fulbright U.S. Scholars Program is an international education exchange program, and UA is the third leading research institution that will send 8 of its scholars abroad to continue their studies.

"This is a great surprise. I'm only discovering what this means to me now," said Johann Rafelski, a physics professor.

"I think its a fascinating experience to be able to go somewhere else and share your research and expand your research collaborations. So I'm pretty fired up about it," said Heidi Brown, an assistant professor with the College of Public Health.

Johann Rafelski and Heidi Brown are two of the eight Fulbright Scholars coming from UA this year. Rafelski is off to Hungary to teach and conduct research about quantum physics.

"I'm a theoretical physicist in subatomic physics. So we are seeking to understand certain phenomena, which are already discovered, but which escape our comprehension," said Rafelski.

While Brown will be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil teaching, and researching mosquito borne illnesses.

"They have mosquitoes, we have mosquitoes but they get a different distribution of disease than we get, despite having the both of the same vectors. And so the idea would be to use what we understand about our diseases here and to translate it and look at what those differences are and why they get different diseases than we do," said Brown.

And while our UA scholars are headed out of the country, about 4,000 foreign Fulbright students and scholars come to the United States every year. Rafelski had a student of his own come from the program.

"One of the reasons that I applied for Fulbright is I have a Fulbright fellow who was working in my group. That gave me the idea of well if he's a Fulbright fellow, why not me?" said Rafelski.

Becoming a fellow is an opportunity to share ideas and contribute to solutions for shared international issues, something Rafelski and Brown are excited to experience.

"I think its really neat that we're using the models that we have here for Arizona and being able to expand them and compare them," said Brown.

Both are traveling to their respective countries at the beginning of this summer.