Two science students have been selected for the 2019-20 Fulbright U.S. Student Program by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Honors biochemistry and biophysics senior Delaney Smith (’19) and integrative biology Ph.D. student Andrea Burton are among four Oregon State University students awarded the Fulbright Scholarship this year. Engineering graduate students Maggie Exton and Omar Sheikh are the other Fulbright recipients.
Additionally, biology alumna Mamo Waianuhea (’18) is an alternate for the Fulbright award and may still be promoted.
A Fulbright scholarship is one of the most prestigious national awards a student or alumnus can receive. Approximately 1,900 U.S. citizens are selected this year to study, conduct research and teach abroad. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.
Awards for structural biology research and English teaching in natural landscapes
Smith (pictured above) will be a Fulbright Fellow at Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium. She will conduct research in the laboratory of professor of structural biology Savvas Savvides, which focuses on the structures and mechanisms of proteins and their role in inflammation, autoimmune disorders and cancer. Smith will advance her understanding and training in structural biology and disease mechanisms, while chiefly investigating the pro-inflammatory receptor complex mediated by a signaling protein called Interleukin-31.
Smith will also begin her research-focused master’s program in OSU and Ghent, undertaking specialized graduate courses in proteomics, bioethics, biostatistics and experimental structural biology. Smith plans to have a career with one foot in research and the other foot in medicine. She will apply and enroll in a M.D.-Ph.D. program after completing her Fulbright project in Belgium.
“I was drawn to structural biology and the insights it provides on the mechanistic mysteries of the human body ever since I learned about this field in a capstone biophysics class that my advisors allowed me to take a year early,” said Smith.
An outstanding undergraduate student, Smith has won virtually all the top university and national accolades in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines. In 2018, she won the Goldwater scholarship, the top undergraduate award in the country for juniors and seniors in STEM programs, making her the only recipient from an Oregon institution that year.
Smith has garnered multiple prestigious honors in 2019. Besides the Fulbright grant, Smith won the highly coveted National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to support her doctoral studies in the future. She was also selected as a finalist for the highly competitive Gates Cambridge scholarship.
“I was drawn to structural biology and the insights it provides on the mechanistic mysteries of the human body ever since I learned about this field in a capstone biophysics class that my advisors allowed me to take a year early.”
She has won several awards at OSU, including the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) grant from the College of Science and the DeLoach Work Scholarship from the Honors College. Smith was selected for an internship at the University of Michigan Clinical Outcomes Research and Reporting Program where she analyzed and modeled data for surgical risk for aortic dissection patients.
Thanks to her extensive research experiences at OSU and Oregon Health and Sciences University where she studied circadian rhythms and addiction neurobiology among other things in biochemistry, botany and neuroscience labs, Smith notched up four research publications. The latter is an exceptional feat for any undergraduate student.
Burton will be a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Romania. The third-year biology doctoral student has traveled extensively. As a member of the Peace Corps, Burton lived in Kenya and worked as a science and mathematics teacher at a secondary school for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Along with her Kenyan colleagues, Burton developed a universal dictionary of science and math vocabulary for Kenyan Sign Language.
Burton conducts research in the marine invertebrates laboratory of assistant professor Eli Meyer. She studies invertebrates that have washed up in the 2011 Japanese tsunami debris and investigates the phenomenon of multiple paternity in shrimp and oysters. Burton hopes to specialize in marine diseases in invertebrates.
“As a biologist, I can provide some insight into the importance of nature and why we need to conserve it. Through this, students will broaden their English vocabulary and practice in a fun and engaging environment.”
After graduating with a degree in marine biology from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, Burton went on to obtain a master’s degree in marine biology at Northeastern University in Boston.
Passionate about teaching, Burton recently completed a graduate certificate in the college and university teaching program at OSU. Burton is excited about combining her love for teaching and the outdoors as an English teacher in the beautiful natural settings of Romania. She plans to lead expeditions and explore the national parks and mountains in Romania with her students as a way of expanding their English vocabulary concerning science and nature.
“As a biologist, I can provide some insight into the importance of nature and why we need to conserve it. Through this, students will broaden their English vocabulary and practice in a fun and engaging environment,” said Burton.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered at Oregon State University through LeAnn Adam, OSU Prestigious Scholarships Coordinator. For more information about applying for Fulbright or other national and international scholarships and fellowships, please contact LeAnn at email@example.com and visit: http://topscholars.oregonstate.edu.