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Adelphi celebrated three Fulbright Scholars last year from our undergraduate, graduate and doctoral classes. This year, three Adelphi faculty have earned Fulbright honors—and one will become a prestigious Fulbright Program Adviser through the Fulbright Development Initiative.

“This isn’t your mother’s Fulbright anymore,” said Nicole Rudolph, PhD, associate dean for student engagement at Adelphi and director of the office of prestigious awards and fellowships, noting the increasingly robust and diverse international exchange opportunities for graduating seniors, graduate students and recent graduates.

Adelphi will now be doing more to help students take advantage of these life-changing opportunities, as it has been chosen as one of only 20 U.S. colleges and universities to take part in this year’s Fulbright Program Adviser (FPA) Development Initiative. Dr. Rudolph will serve as the University’s adviser, attending workshops to learn about the full range of fellowships and ways to nurture a ”Fulbright culture” at Adelphi.

You could say that culture has already taken root at the University. In a first for Adelphi, three students won Fulbrights in 2022. And this spring, two faculty members were honored with awards: Wahiba Abu-Ras, PhD, professor of social work, who received a Fulbright Teaching/Research Award for her project on telemental health care in Qatar; and Katie Laatikainen, PhD, professor of political science, selected as a Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Policy Law and Governance. The two professors are only the latest in a long line of faculty members who have conducted research abroad with the help of Fulbrights.

The growing list of Fulbright recipients at Adelphi tells a powerful story about the University’s distinctive academics. It also demonstrates our rising reputation with the Fulbright program and ongoing commitment to global learning.

Improving access to mental health resources in Qatar

Wahiba Abu-Ras, PhD, Professor of Social Work

In April 2023, Dr. Abu-Ras was granted the Fulbright Teaching/Research Award for her project, “Telemental Health Care (TMHC): Reducing Barriers and Overcoming Stigma to Access Mental Health Care in Qatar.” She’d previously received a Fulbright fellowship to study public administration at Harvard University.

“The topic of TMHC is important to me and the field of Muslim mental health because it addresses the significant barriers individuals face in accessing mental health care, particularly in Muslim-majority countries like Qatar,” Dr. Abu-Ras said. “The project aims to explore the barriers the target population faces, including stigma in seeking mental health care.”

Dr. Abu-Ras will conduct her research on the ground in Qatar with the support of the Fulbright program and collaborating institutions in the country.

“I will have the necessary resources to collect qualitative data through face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions with the target population and mental health providers,” she said. “Additionally, I will be able to implement and evaluate the TMHC intervention during a six-month period involving a sample of 50 adults in Qatar.”

Upon returning to Adelphi, Dr. Abu-Ras plans to share her findings with students and incorporate the research into her classes.

“The TMHC research project enhances Adelphi University’s ongoing commitment to international research and social justice,” she said. ”I aim to educate students about the challenges and perspectives of Arab and immigrant communities, fostering a deeper understanding of cross-cultural experiences and promoting respect for diversity.”

Studying international diplomacy in Canada

Katie Laatikainen, PhD, Professor of Political Science

Dr. Laatikainen, an expert on the United Nations and international diplomacy, was accepted as a Fulbright Scholar to conduct research at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Ontario. Fulbright Scholars are offered opportunities to research and lecture abroad, and play a critical role in public diplomacy. Dr. Laatikainen was previously awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 2010 to teach European politics at the University of Macao.

For this project, Dr. Laatikainen will study the role of Canada, Australia and New Zealand (sometimes known as the ”CANZ” countries) in global governance. She’ll build on the research shared in her 2020 book, Group Politics in UN Multilateralism, written with Karen Smith, PhD, of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

“I’m interested to look at how these Western middle powers are involved in the defense of the liberal international order in a world where that order is being contested,” said Dr. Laatikainen, who also serves as the academic director of the Levermore Global Scholars program at Adelphi. “This is a group that hasn’t really been studied in U.N. multilateralism before.”

For example, Dr. Laatikainen will research how these countries support other middle powers like Brazil, India and Turkey in navigating concepts like democracy, market liberalization and human rights.

“I’m really excited to have the time and space to engage in research with colleagues,” Dr. Laatikainen said. “Most of us became professors because we have a real love for doing research and writing. And a Fulbright—especially a research Fulbright—is a perfect opportunity to engage in that thing that stokes our passion for learning.”

Increasing Fulbright program opportunities for students

Nicole Rudolph, PhD, Associate Dean for Student Engagement

Before applying for the FPA Development Initiative, Dr. Rudolph had already created a dedicated office for Prestigious Awards and Fellowships at Adelphi, which aims to help students apply for nationally competitive awards. She had her own Fulbright experience as a research scholar working on her doctoral dissertation in France.

“I tell students that even going through an application process for something like Fulbright gets you thinking about your goals and the actions that you’re taking to achieve those goals,” Dr. Rudolph said. ”We want students to think strategically about how these opportunities might fit into their intellectual and professional trajectories.”

Toward that end, Dr. Rudolph will receive in-depth training on Fulbright programming and outreach strategies for students through the FPA program.

“We really get to understand how the application process works and what the committees are looking for to help Fulbright reach untapped pools of students—particularly those from underserved communities,” Dr. Rudolph said.

She’ll also learn about new opportunities available through essential Fulbright programs like the Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship program, which helps students access teaching opportunities in more than 35 languages at hundreds of U.S. institutions. And she’ll meet with advisers and colleagues from the other participating schools.

“I’m already in touch with three program advisers that I met from colleges around the country and we’ve been exchanging ideas,” Dr. Rudolph said. “So I think it’s really working in the way that Fulbright hoped it would.”

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