Five UIC students, new alumni awarded Fulbrights

Fulbright award winners L-R: Wenji Guo, Suzanne Oskouie, Rhea Phillips, Danielle Riebe and Michal Wilczewski (click on images for larger file size)


Five students and recent graduates of the University of Illinois at Chicago have received Fulbright grants to conduct research abroad beginning in the 2013-14 academic year.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries.

Recipients are selected for their academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Wenji Guo, a 2013 Honors College graduate in biological sciences, was awarded a three-year Fulbright-Oxford Clarendon Scholarship to pursue a Ph.D in cancer epidemiology at the University of Oxford in England. She will study the relationship between breast cancer risk and iron, zinc, cadmium and selenium.

As part of UIC’s Guaranteed Professional Program Admissions in medicine, Guo plans to return to UIC for medical school upon completion of the Fulbright-Oxford program. Her career goals include medical and public health research and practice.

Guo, a resident of Libertyville, Ill., received a national Goldwater Scholarship in 2012 and UIC’s Donald and Leah Riddle Prize for Outstanding Graduating Senior in 2013.

Suzanne Oskouie, a 2013 Honors College graduate, has been awarded a Fulbright research grant to study neural progenitor cell migration and differentiation at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Her fellowship will last one year, beginning in September.

After three years of undergraduate study as a member of UIC’s Guaranteed Professional Program Admissions in medicine, Oskouie graduated from UIC in May with bachelor’s degrees in neuroscience and French and francophone studies.

Oskouie, a resident of Hinsdale, Ill., plans to attend medical school at UIC following her studies in Switzerland.

Rhea Phillips, of Glen Ellen, Calif., was awarded an English teaching assistantship from the Fulbright Fellowship U.S. Student Program to teach in Brazil for 10 months beginning in February 2014. While her destination is yet to be determined, she will be instructing Brazilian university students studying to become English teachers.

Prior to receiving a master’s degree in linguistics from UIC last May, Phillips conducted sociolinguistics research focused on the effect of gender on speech. She plans to pursue a career in language education at the college level.

Phillips earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies, with a focus on Spanish and Portuguese, from University of California, Santa Cruz.

Danielle Riebe, a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology, will use her Fulbright research grant to examine the impact that interaction has on social and environmental boundaries between archaeologically defined groups of people, with a particular focus on cultures from Hungary.

Beginning in February 2014, she will spend six months conducting compositional and stylistic analyses of materials from multiple sites in the Great Hungarian Plain. Her research will be sponsored through affiliations with the Hungarian National Museum/National Heritage Protection Center in Budapest and the Munkácsy Mihály Museum in Békéscaba.

Riebe, who studies through the UIC-Field Museum Collaborative Program, is a resident of Spokane, Wash. She earned her B.A. in archaeology from the University of Evansville and an M.A. in anthropology from UIC.

Michal Wilczewski, a doctoral candidate in history, received a Fulbright grant for his dissertation research on the social conditions of rural Poland in the aftermath of World War I. His analysis of the everyday lives of Polish farmers looks at the dynamics of rural society, with a particular focus on family life, gender relations, migration patterns, and rural politics.

During Wilczewski’s nine months of research in Poland, he will travel to Warsaw, Krakow, Poznan and Bialystok. He will be affiliated with the Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History in the Polish Academy of the Sciences in Warsaw.

A native of Ridgewood, N.Y., Wilczewski earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from La Salle University and master’s degree in history from Michigan State University.

UIC ranks among the nation’s leading research universities and is Chicago’s largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state’s major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.

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