FSU sets school record with nine Fulbright Scholars

Florida State congratulates Woody Kim, Patricia Villeneuve, Antonio Terracciano, David Johnson, Jessica Wendorf Muhamad, Lori Gooding, Marcia A. Mardis, Kurtis Johnson and Chris Hinnant for earning U.S. Fulbright Scholar awards for the 2020-2021 school year.

Nine Florida State University faculty members have been selected as U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program award recipients, setting a new FSU record for most Fulbright Scholars in one year.

These individuals plan to teach and conduct research as part of opportunities funded by the U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program during the 2020-2021 school year.

Marcia A. Mardis, professor and associate dean for research in the College of Communication and Information, received the Fulbright Research Chair in Education at the University of Alberta Faculty of Education — one of the top three faculties of education in Canada.

“My goal has always been to serve in this research chair position at this university,” Mardis said. “I was a Fulbright Specialist at the University of Alberta in 2008 and the experience was transformative. I love Edmonton and have wonderful colleagues among this faculty.”

Mardis will be working on a project related to career and technical education (CTE), looking at how CTE teachers are recruited and educated.

“This project aligns strongly with current National Science Foundation-funded research I conduct at FSU, which focuses on rural technical workforce issues,” Mardis said. “Because Alberta is a Canadian province with a lot of rural industry, it has a high need for technical workers willing to work in those areas, and it is an ideal comparative context for my research.”

Woody Kim, professor and the director of the International Center for Hospitality Research & Development in the Dedman School of Hospitality, received a Fulbright award for the ASEAN Research Program to work on the collaborative research project “Toward Creating Green Initiatives of Hospitality Business in ASEAN Region.” The purpose of the project is to explore the current practices of green initiatives of hotels in Thailand and Vietnam.

Kim will visit Vietnam National University (VNU) in Hanoi, Vietnam for two months beginning January 2021. He will spend an additional three months at the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) in Bangkok, Thailand beginning March 2021.

“Although it will be a challenging task, I am excited to serve as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. in the ASEAN region,” Kim said. “I look forward to collaborating with international research partners about enhancing sustainability practices and policy recommendations in the ASEAN region. It will also be a great opportunity to promote FSU globally.”

Antonio Terracciano, associate professor in the College of Medicine, received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to conduct research at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland starting January 2021.

Terracciano will study how personality is related to physical and cognitive function. His team will examine data from a Finnish clinical trial that tested the efficacy of physical and cognitive training programs to improve mobility and executive function among older adults. Terracciano also will teach a graduate class on personality and health across the lifespan and cultures.

“I am honored by the Fulbright award and excited by the opportunity to teach and conduct research in Finland,” Terracciano said. “I am eager to expand research on how to increase physical and cognitive resilience and hope to be able to apply what I learn in Finland to better help older adults in Florida.”

David Johnson, an English professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, received a U.S. Fulbright Scholar grant to study at the KU Leuven in Belgium for six months beginning January 2021.

Johnson plans to advance work on a monograph which seeks to answer several questions about 13th-century Flemish poet Jacob van Maerlant.

“Perhaps the most prolific Flemish writer of his age, Maerlant produced an astounding corpus of writings over the course of his career, among which are three that deal with the legend of King Arthur,” Johnson said.

King Arthur has meant many things to many authors over the centuries, and Johnson’s research focuses specifically on what the Matter of Britain meant to this poet over the course of his long and prolific career.

“I am honored to have received this fellowship, and hugely excited at the prospect of spending six months in Leuven next year,” Johnson said. “The KU Leuven has a world-class library, excellent research resources and the proximity to many of the manuscripts that are essential to my project is a huge advantage. Moreover, KU Leuven employs an academic community unparalleled in my field of study. They include colleagues in history, linguistics and Dutch literary studies. The exchange of ideas concerning Middle Dutch literature and its ancillary fields is simply not possible elsewhere.”

Jessica Wendorf Muhamad, assistant professor in the College of Communication and Information, received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to conduct research at the Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla in Colombia, beginning Spring 2021.

Muhamad’s research will focus on the multilevel forces that impact how people experience their surroundings and shape decision-making as well as the immediate and long-term effects that stem from these choices.

“Through a non-traditional, interactive, experientially based approach, my team and I will seek to reduce the stigmatization of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) victims and increase empathic feelings among community members,” she said.

Her project, “Participatory approach to prevention: Developing a game-based tool for the prevention of commercial sexual exploitation of children with communities in Colombia,” aims to develop a prevention tool ­with community members that address CSEC.

“Given CSEC’s complexity, this project moves away from traditional methodologies and offers an experientially based approach to reducing stigma and increasing identification and reporting of CSEC,” she said.

Patricia Villeneuve, professor and program director for Arts Administration in the College of Fine Arts, received a U.S. Fulbright Scholar grant to conduct collaborative research in Belgium starting Spring 2021.

She plans to work with colleagues from FARO, the Flemish cultural and heritage agency; KUL (Catholic University Leuven); Museum M (Leuven); SMAK, the City Museum of Contemporary Art (Ghent); and the Museum on the River (Amsterdam) on two upcoming books advocating paradigmatic change to visitor-centered museum practices.

“I’m very excited to be a Fulbright Scholar at this critical time for museums,” she said.

Lori Gooding, assistant professor in the College of Music, received a U.S. Fulbright Scholar grant to study at the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, tentatively starting January 2021.

Gooding will partner with colleagues to advance music therapy clinical and educational opportunities.

“Malaysia is a richly diverse country, and I believe the possibilities for music therapy practice there are tremendous,” Gooding said. “I am excited to collaborate with and learn from my international colleagues, and I am humbled by the opportunity to work with them to advance our profession.”

As Malaysia does not currently have any university training programs in music therapy, Gooding’s goal is to lay the groundwork for the future development of a music therapy academic program while continuing to grow clinical services in the community.

Kurtis Johnson, research faculty in the Department of Physics, received a U.S. Fulbright Scholar grant to conduct research with colleagues at the University of Bari, Italy. Johnson and his colleague from the University of Bari Nic de Filippis have been using machine learning (ML or AI) methods for particle physics analysis since 2007.

“Now that the particle physics community has embraced AI/ML, we will be focusing on methods to flag non-obvious errors made by AI/ML,” Johnson said. “To err is human, and AI’s make errors, too; after all, they’re supposed to think like humans.”

Johnson said AI/ML is not just for physics. A tsunami of AI/ML is overtaking our lives, for better or for worse.

“Hopefully, methods for estimating the uncertainty of AI/ML results for physics might be carried over to warn of mistakes in other applications,” he said. “If so, perhaps we can avoid drowning in the approaching wave.”

Both FSU and Bari are member institutions of the Compact Muon Solenoid detector located at the Large Hadron Collider (CERN, Geneva, Switzerland).

Chris Hinnant, associate professor and current chair of the doctoral program in the School of Information, received a U.S. Fulbright Scholar grant to work on a project at the Chinese University of Hong Kong beginning Spring 2021.

The project, “Information Policy and Smart Government,” will examine how the development of information policies influences the evolution of Smart City practices, such as the use of large-scale data assets, computerization and information-based administration.

“Hong Kong presents an interesting case to study the use of data-centric administrative practices,” Hinnant said. “The recent political challenges in Hong Kong provide an important context in which to study the social and technological factors that influence social change.”

Due to COVID-19, the Fulbright Program is examining the possibility to reassign Hinnant to another university in Asia to conduct a similar project focused on how the development of information policies influences the adoption of smart government data practices.

The Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) has administered the U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program for nearly 70 years on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. The program awards nearly 470 teaching and research opportunities in more than 125 countries to university scholars and other professionals, including artists, attorneys and scientists.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some plans have been changed or modified to reflect travel advisories.

The Fulbright Program Team continues to monitor the progression of COVID-19 in the U.S. and around the world. They are “working closely with partner governments, Fulbright Commissions, U.S. Embassies, Fulbright cooperating agencies and U.S. and foreign host institutions to provide guidance and information to exchange participants.”

For more information, visit the U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program or Fulbright Scholar Program Status Updates.