Four current and former graduate students at MIT have received Fulbright Scholarships to study abroad in 2012-13. The prestigious Fulbright Scholarship program, which enables American students to spend eight months pursuing research in a foreign country, was created in order to promote cross-cultural understanding and send young Americans as academic ambassadors abroad.
Praveen Subramani, an M.S. Student in MIT’s Media Arts and Sciences program, plans to study the possibilities surrounding shared and electric transportation in Santiago, Chile. While at MIT, Subramani worked in the “Changing Places” group, which explores design and engineering possibilities for green mobility systems, like electric cars. “There’s a booming economy in Chile and a lot of excitement about the power of entrepreneurship and the power of design and technology to change things,” he said.
Diana Jue, an M.S. student in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, plans to study public administration and land development in Bangalore, India. Her specific focus is the transformation of green space into urban land, which Jue will use as a platform for larger questions: “I want to study how local bodies make those decisions, and what is considered a successful decision making process,” she said. “How does one act as a successful civil servant? What goes into that?” Jue, who received her undergraduate degree from MIT, says her specific interest in India grew from her participation in the MISTI (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives) program, which gave her an opportunity to do research in India as an undergraduate. “I’m really excited to return to India and pursue research in an area that I care about, an area that impacts the lives of many people living here,” she said. “Change from the top is how change often happens in developing countries. We need to know more about that process.”
Daniel Jimenez, who graduated from MIT in 2011 with an M.S. degree in structural engineering, will travel to the Philippines to study cost-efficient building technologies. Jimenez says he became interested in larger the social issues connected to engineering while studying civil engineering as an undergraduate at MIT, when fieldwork abroad drew his attention to “the effect that the lack of infrastructure can have on the lives of people and their ability to progress socially, have access to healthcare, and so on—for instance, when difficulty traveling makes them isolated.” In the Philippines, he hopes to design affordable buildings that can better withstand the natural disasters that frequent the region. “There’s such a need there for my passion, which is using infrastructure to overcome natural disasters and overcome poverty,” he said. “I’m trying to use my engineering degree while having as large and impact as I can.”
Jeremy Ferwerda is a Ph.D. Student in the Department of Political Science at MIT. His research will focus on immigration and naturalization reform in Germany, asking how policy makers are motivated to legislate reforms in the face of broad opposition. Jeremy will graduate in 2014. His undergraduate degree is from Cornell.