CPP’s Recognition for Producing top Fulbright Scholars

By Nicholas Lira, March 26, 2024

Cal Poly Pomona is being recognized as a 2023-2024 Fulbright scholar top producing institution within the STEM fields among master’s-granting universities as it had the highest number of United States scholars this year.

Fulbright U.S. scholar program sends educators to nearly 130 countries where they can teach or submit a project to do academic research in a host country. The program’s focus is set on cross-cultural dialogue learning, living and working with the people from their host country.

CPP currently has four professors in the U.S. Fulbright Scholars: Yong Xue Gan in Canada at University of Regina, Mohamed Gomaa at Egypt University of Science and Technology, Ioana Mihaila at Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta in Indonesia, and Mohamed Bin Zayed at the University of Artificial Intelligence at United Arab Emirates.

Every recipient of the Fulbright U.S. Grantees is chosen to contribute expertise and gain new insights by collaborating with other schools worldwide.

Gan, a CPP mechanical engineering professor working with Fulbright on research in Canada at the University of Regina, is assisting the university with his expertise in energy and environmental sustainability as they are looking to convert biomass to clean energy.

“The challenge is viewed as an opportunity,” said Gan. “Challenges create knowledge and community.”

According to Gan, for professors to be successful with Fulbright, their research requires preparation, commitment and maintaining good health. To be selected, a good research question must be developed for review by the board.

Then once recipients are in the host country, Gan said it’s important to balance teaching, working to learn about the surrounding communities as well as not to forget the main goal of the research.

Lastly, to ensure the time spent in the host country is less stressful, staying in good health helps work effectively being so far away from home.

Gan is proud to have an impact on students elevating them as well as building the image of CPP world-wide.

“Influencing students to share experiences and build connections with those outside their circle is fulfilling,” said Gan.

Richard Navarro, a professor in the College of Education and Integrative Studies and former representative for Fulbright, was sent to Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives from 2010 to 2011.

“Fulbright is seeking scholars who are good ambassadors to represent the U.S. in their host country,” said Navarro.

Navarro had previous experience in the Maldives, so adjusting to the culture was not difficult.

Navarro explained CPP’s recognition was earned with professors from the past planting seeds for professors currently participating in Fulbright as well as future ambassadors.

“Cal Poly Pomona has rich international faculty,” said Navarro. “Having such rich international faculty helps Cal Poly standout with Fulbright.”

Navarro suggest those thinking about applying to represent CPP start early with Fulbright. He also said to make professional connections with their preferred host country as they will assist representatives in being selected by the host countries committees.

For Kristen Conway-Gómez, professor of geography at CPP, Fulbright was not only fulfilling by spending time with the community of Chile, but it also expanded her knowledge outside of tropical climate areas since was also exposed to the different Mediterranean environment of Chile. Gómez researched in Latin America specifically to see how farmers in Chile are adapting to Climate Change.

Gómez said building bridges with collogues across international borders makes her proud to be selected to represent CPP with Fulbright.

“It granted me an opportunity to enhance and grow professional relationships, which is a big part of the Fulbright program,” said Gómez.

Feature image courtesy of Bryan Doan

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