UIC students, alumna offered Fulbrights for research, teaching abroad

Luxembourg, Germany and Poland are the destinations for a graduating senior, a doctoral candidate and a former graduate student from the University of Illinois at Chicago who have been offered prestigious Fulbright grants for the 2019-2020 academic year.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and those of other countries.

More than 10,000 applications were received in this cycle for the approximately 2,100 available grants offered to U.S. citizens who will conduct research, study, or teach English abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Finalists are selected for their academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their respective fields.

“The Fulbright program is a stellar opportunity for our students and alumni to pursue meaningful cross-cultural exchange, and UIC students in all fields are excellent candidates for this program,” said Kim Germain, director of UIC’s Office of External Fellowships and one of UIC’s two Fulbright Program Advisors.

Since 1949, more than 140 UIC students and alumni have received Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants.

Learn more about UIC’s latest Fulbright finalists via the links below:

Melissa Hendrickson applied for the Fulbright through UIC, where she earned a master’s degree in museum and exhibition studies in 2017. The Fulbright grant will allow her to pursue a master’s degree in learning and communication in multilingual and multicultural contexts at the University of Luxembourg in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.

She is currently a Kress Interpretive Fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., where she has created visitor-centered interpretations for exhibitions, developed and hosted an upcoming web series titled “Re:Frame,” and conducted museum visitor research.

She came to UIC after several years as a social worker, specifically working with women and children fleeing domestic violence. Her work at the Smithsonian, and throughout her studies at UIC, has focused on audience engagement and museum practices to create more inclusive public programs.

Hendrickson, who grew up in Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood and later graduated from Crown Point High School, earned bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and English from Indiana University.

Zuka’a Joudeh, who will graduate in May with summa cum laude distinction and bachelor’s degrees in political science and Germanic studies, was offered a Fulbright English teaching assistantship to teach in Germany for 10 months beginning in September. She’ll head to the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, but the exact city and institution are yet to be determined.

With the support of UIC study abroad scholarships, she spent the past two summers studying the German language at Humboldt University and volunteering with Arab refugees in Berlin.

While at UIC, she has been a three-time recipient of the Chancellor’s Student Leadership Award for her work on campus as director of the UIC Undergraduate Student Government’s sustainability and infrastructure committee, as an ambassador for Students for the Advancement of Freedom, Equality and Human Rights, and as a member of Students for Justice in Palestine.

Joudeh, of Palos Hills, is a 2015 graduate of Stagg High School.

Frankee Lyons, a UIC doctoral candidate in history, will travel to Poland to continue historical research on Polish-Jewish life and migration in the 1950s. Based in Warsaw for nine months starting in September, she will be affiliated with the Institute of Political Studies at the Polish Academy of Sciences and have a secondary affiliation with the Centre of Migration Research at the University of Warsaw.

Lyons, whose areas of research include Central and Eastern Europe and modern Jewish history, has twice earned support for her Polish language and culture work through fellowships under the U.S. Department of State’s Title VIII Program for Research and Training in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. In 2018, she was an Auschwitz Jewish Center Fellow through the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City and the Auschwitz Jewish Center in Oświęcim, Poland.

In 2016 she was named a recipient of a UIC University Fellowship, a competitive award for high-achieving incoming students nominated by their program for funding that provides four years of both stipend and cost of education support at the doctoral level.

Upon the conclusion of her Fulbright-backed research, she will return to UIC to complete her dissertation. Lyons, a native of Mount Airy, Maryland, received a master’s in history at UIC in 2018 and a bachelor’s in history from George Washington University in 2015.

Fulbright advising at UIC is split between the Office of External Fellowships, or OEF, and the Graduate College, which provides comprehensive assistance to students and alumni of the Graduate College who seek both UIC and outside fellowships and awards. OEF provides advising and assistance to current undergraduate and professional school students in finding and applying for a range of nationally and internationally competitive fellowships, scholarships, and grants.

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