Fifth Baylor Student Wins Fulbright

June 19, 2007
News Photo 4165Joy McCullough

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media relations, (254) 710-6275

Baylor University has added another Fulbright Scholar to its growing number of students who have received the prestigious honor.

Joy McCullough, a recent University Scholar graduate from Los Alamos, N.M., will study aquatic toxicology in Finland for a year beginning this fall on a Fulbright Scholarship. The highly competitive scholarship covers all expenses, including tuition, books, travel, room and board.

"The Fulbright is a perfect opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture while performing the research I enjoy," said McCullough, whose interdisciplinary studies at Baylor focused on environmental chemistry.

McCullough is the fifth Baylor student this spring to be selected for the Fulbright Scholarship - the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government - bringing the total number of Baylor Fulbright Scholars to 12 since 2001.

"Joy has proven herself to be an outstanding student in science at Baylor, and this opportunity to do innovative research in her field with Finnish experts will lay a strong foundation for her future doctoral studies," said Elizabeth Vardaman, associate dean for special programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. "Joy will also be an exemplary ambassador for the United States in Finland and will maximize this fabulous opportunity, learning about the Finnish culture and peoples, as well as about the science in her field. In the years to come, thanks to this Fulbright grant and Joy's commitment to excellence, she will become a valued member of an eco-toxicology team and focus her career on helping restore and maintain a beautiful America."

McCullough said she became interested in studying in Finland after her thesis advisor mentioned one of his colleagues, Dr. Jussi Kukkonen, a leading scientist in the field of aquatic toxicology, conducted research at a top laboratory at University of Joensuu. McCullough's key mentors at Baylor are Dr. Jason Belden and Dr. Bryan Brooks, both assistant professors in environmental studies.

"Finland is uniquely positioned for aquatic studies, since it's about 10 percent water," she said. "So, with a world-class scientist, a good lab and a unique environment in Finland, I could hardly apply anywhere else."

McCullough will analyze sediment in Finland and how the composition of soil influences the availability of chemicals to damage ecosystems.

She joins three Baylor students and another recent graduate, who will study overseas during the next academic year. The other Fulbright Scholars from Baylor are:

• Ana Thomson, a Woodway resident who graduated from Baylor in 2006 with her bachelor's degree in international studies and Spanish. Thomson will teach English in Uruguay, where she was born before moving to the United States at age 4. She will begin the program in 2008.

• Brittany May, a senior University Scholar from Dallas. May will teach English in South Korea, beginning in July.

• Meghan Merchant, a senior international studies/journalism major from Plano. Merchant was selected for the prominent Alistair Cooke Award in Journalism and will study international communications at the University of Leeds in England, beginning in September.

• Ashley Peterson, a senior applied music major from Wichita, Kan. She will teach English in France, beginning in October.

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, was established by the U.S. Congress to "enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries."

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is now the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide. The U.S. Student Program currently awards approximately 1,300 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.

Since the establishment of the Program, more than 45,000 students from the United States and 148,000 students from other countries have benefited from the Fulbright experience.

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