Four COSSPP Students Win Fulbrights
by Jenny Ralph and Camille Shattler, University Communications, and COSSPP Communications staff
Four students with at least one major in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy are among the nine Florida State University graduate students and recent alumni who will conduct research or have the opportunity to teach English abroad during the 2020-2021 academic year as a part of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
Since 1945, the program has provided students and young scholars opportunities to develop research, study and teach all over the world. The scholarship is overseen and funded by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is the largest U.S. exchange program in the nation with partnerships in 140 countries.
“Every year, students from the college are nationally recognized by the Fulbright program as worthy of support for their research and study,” said Tim Chapin dean of the college. “The four students selected this year, along with the five from other colleges within FSU, are outstanding examples of hard work, dedication and scholarship. We are proud they will go forth and represent the college and the university so well throughout the world.”
The COSSPP recipients of the 2020 Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships are:
Jacob Mason of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, is a recent FSU graduate with a dual bachelor’s degree in international affairs and economics and an additional major in Chinese language and culture. He was also the director of the college’s World Affairs Program, leading his organization to impressive wins in Model UN and Crisis Simulation competitions throughout the country. During his Fulbright trip, Mason will be teaching English in Changhua County, Taiwan. After completing his Fulbright, he plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career as an economic officer in the U.S. Foreign Service.
“I am very excited and honored to have the opportunity to teach in Taiwan through Fulbright,” Mason said. “I look forward to serving as an American cultural ambassador, learning more about my host country’s culture and deepening my own Chinese language study.”
Sebastian Mejia of Naples, Florida, graduated in May with a dual bachelor’s degree in Latin American/Caribbean studies and international affairs. He was a member of the 2019-2020 cohort of the Social Science Scholars program. He will conduct research through Fulbright in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and plans to attend a doctoral program afterward.
“This experience will sharpen my qualitative research skills, which will be useful in my future career as a researcher,” Mejia said.
Eli Myron of Saint Johns, Florida, graduated from FSU in May with a bachelor’s in environment & society and biological science. His research project will be based in the Philippines and will focus on using 3D reconstruction to further understand the role of giant clam restocking programs on degraded reefs in the northwest of the archipelago. Myron will be working with various non-governmental organizations, as well as the University of the Philippines, to conduct this project and engage with coastal communities to further understand how they interact with coastal ecosystems. After his Fulbright, he hopes to pursue a doctoral program in marine biology to continue understanding and implementing methods for coastal resilience.
“I am deeply honored by this opportunity and hope to use this experience to generate understanding for truly meaningful, bottom-up approaches to coastal sustainability,” Myron said. “Among many of my incredible mentors, this project would not have been possible without the dedicated guidance of my research mentor Dr. Sandra Brooke, the unwavering support of my adviser with the FSU Office of National Fellowships, Jesse Wieland, and the belief and trust of my Philippine affiliates.”
Charlotte Puopolo of Jacksonville, Florida, graduated from FSU in May with a bachelor’s in international affairs and Spanish, along with minors in French and philosophy & law. She will teach English in the Canary Islands, Spain. Post-Fulbright, she plans to attend law school or get a master’s in public policy.
“This Fulbright grant will allow me to better understand public policy from an international perspective, especially in terms of education and immigration,” Puopolo said.
In light of COVID-19, the Fulbright program has delayed the beginning of all international experiences to the spring, unless the grantee has been accepted to pursue a graduate degree at a university hosting in-person classes or the U.S. Travel Warning for the host country is below a Level 3.