Sarah Geegan

UK Faculty Named Fulbright Recipients

Published: Jun 4, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 4, 2013) — Several University of Kentucky faculty members have been selected as recipients of prestigious Fulbright program scholarships.


Sponsored by the United States Department of State and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program, which provides funding for professionals, teachers, students and scholars to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. Operating in more than 155 countries worldwide, the program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.


Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.


The UK faculty members awarded Fulbright grants are:


· Alan Fryar, a professor of earth and environmental sciences in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, who will do research in Fez, Morocco.


· Michael Samers, a professor of geography, in the College of Arts and Sciences, who will do research in Lille, France.


· Paul Vincelli, a professor of plant pathology, in the UK College of Agriculture, who will do research in Montevideo, Uruguay and Nicaragua.


· Matthew Zook, a professor of geography, in the College of Arts and Sciences, who will do research in Tartu, Estonia.



Alan Fryar will be based at the Faculty of Sciences and Techniques in Fez, Morocco, examining how the flow of springs in the Middle Atlas mountains may respond to climate change. Fryar said he is elated to receive the Fulbright; this is something he has been building toward for over a decade.


Michael Samers will be based at CERAPS (Centre d'Études et de Recherches Administratives, Politiques et Sociales) at the Université de Lille II in Lille, France, with fieldwork in the nearby city of Roubaix. He will study the alternative economic projects of young adult immigrants in the face of high and widespread unemployment.


Samers said he is delighted to receive this Fulbright award, which will allow him to undertake complex and difficult research with disadvantaged young adults, and to contribute to a discussion of either public policy or 'bottom-up' responses to the seemingly intractable problem of work for many immigrants in France.


Paul Vincelli spent three weeks in Montevideo, Uruguay, in May under a Fulbright Specialist in Agriculture award.  His primary purpose there was to offer a graduate course in fungicide resistance.  Spinoffs from that experience will include more advanced extension agent trainings on fungicide resistance, based on the materials he prepared for the graduate course.


Vincelli will also spend six months on sabbatical with a Fulbright Scholarship in Nicaragua, beginning Jan. 20.  In addition to helping advance their molecular diagnostics programs, he will study agro ecology as well as their agricultural adaptation to climate change. Vincelli said that this is all part of the ongoing journey to find the best path forward for Kentucky agriculture.  As a former Peace Corps Volunteer, he said he loves the mission of the Fulbright program and believes deeply in the “cultural ambassador” dimension. He has received a total of three Fulbright Awards in his career.

Matthew Zook will be working on “Using Geoweb Big Data to Explore the Spatial Patterns of Economic and Social Behavior” in Tartu, Estonia. Geoweb data is represented by the postings made via a range of social media services (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc.) that provide a socio-spatial record that can be readily collected by researchers. 


The rise of the geoweb has produced an ever increasingly amount of "big data" available to researchers to better understand the spatial patterns of daily life.  Zook said that the the geoweb represents an important and exciting research area within human geography and GIScience, and that he is happy and honored to have received the award.




MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365;

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