News for the Campus Community
SCU grad wins Fulbright
With her grant, she plans to work with the World Wildlife Foundation, Peru, to gauge that efficacy “by conducting on-site evaluations as I interview park rangers, local non-governmental organization employees, and members of the communities bordering the reserves.” The comprehensive report she plans on compiling with her findings will be a good contribution to the scant pool of knowledge surrounding the conservation impact of these transactions.
The project builds on a paper she wrote in her senior year for Gray’s Global Environmental Politics class, which led to a combined effort between professor and student on a paper for publication on debt-for-nature swaps. Although Gray certainly encouraged Kilbane’s efforts and admits to being the driving force behind her student’s pursuit of a Fulbright, “I don’t want the credit to go to me at all,” Gray insists. “She had the idea for this project. What I saw in her student paper was somebody who was an incredible go-getter, who was incredibly enthused by this project.”
That recognition on the part of faculty is critical for student success, notes Richard H. Osberg, professor of English language and literature, and director of both the University Honors Program and the Office of Student Fellowships. “All successful fellowship applications have behind them a strong student-faculty relationship,” he says. “To be competitive at this level for these kinds of grants, a student has to have a fairly well-articulated program of independent research.”
But even just the name Fulbright can be intimidating to students, he admits, so you also “need the faculty member there persuading the student that they are indeed competitive at this level.”
Kilbane contends that the boost in confidence garnered by faculty support was just what she needed. “Dr. Gray commented that if she knew how easy it was to push a student to go through with applying for a Fulbright, then she’d start pushing more students,” Kilbane says.
That might need to wait until Gray returns from working on her own Fulbright project researching cotton, poverty, and the environment in West Africa. She leaves for Burkina Faso in January.