November 29, 2022

UMW Biology Professor Receives Fulbright Grant

Dianne Baker, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Mary Washington, has been selected to receive a 2014-2015 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant. Baker will conduct research at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Oslo, Norway beginning in January 2015.

Professor Dianne Baker

Professor Dianne Baker

The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program.

Baker is an animal physiologist who joined UMW’s biology department in 2006. As part of her Fulbright grant, Baker will employ molecular techniques to study the roles of neurohormones in brain development, using the Japanese rice fish. She will work alongside graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other visiting scientists from around the world. During her research period, Baker hopes to learn cutting edge techniques in physiological research that she can bring back to UMW.

While in Norway, Baker also will guest lecture on animal physiology at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science. She also plans to attend the ninth annual European Zebrafish Meeting, hosted at Finn-Arne Weltzien’s lab in Oslo in 2015.

Baker received a bachelor’s degree from Evergreen State College and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Washington.

UMW Named Top Producer of Fulbright Scholars

The University of Mary Washington is one of the top producers of U.S. Fulbright scholars, according to a recent list in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

(from left): UMW graduates Peter Hawes, Michaela Sands and Aubrey Elliott  received Fulbright grants for 2013-2014.

(from left): UMW graduates Peter Hawes, Michaela Sands and Aubrey Elliott received Fulbright grants for 2013-2014.

UMW is recognized among master’s institutions for its three 2013 grants, awarded to Aubrey Elliott ’12, Peter Hawes ’12 and Michaela Sands ’12. In all categories, UMW is one of only two four-year public Virginia institutions to make the list, including the College of William & Mary in the research institutions category. Thirteen UMW students have received the prestigious grants in the university’s history.

“It is gratifying to see this recognition for these recent graduates, and for the University of Mary Washington’s outstanding international programs,” said Provost Jonathan Levin.  “These awards confirm that UMW continues to excel at preparing students for the new global realities of the 21st century.”

UMW is listed among the top producers of Fulbright scholars, according to‐producing‐institutions.

UMW is listed among the top producers of Fulbright scholars, according to‐producing‐institutions.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.

UMW Graduates Continue Prestigious Fulbright Tradition

For three recent University of Mary Washington alumni, the next year will be one of travel, teaching, and learning a new culture. Aubrey Elliott, Peter Hawes and Michaela Sands, all 2012 graduates, are the 11th, 12th and 13th students, respectively, to receive prestigious U.S. Fulbright grants in the university’s history. The scholarships continue a tradition of Fulbright awards over the past six years.

(from left): UMW graduates Peter Hawes, Michaela Sands and Aubrey Elliott have received Fulbright grants for 2013-2014.

“This is our best showing ever, providing further evidence that UMW’s students are among the best in the nation,” said Nabil Al-Tikriti, associate professor of history. “We also should congratulate the campus Fulbright committee of Patricia Reynolds, Melina Patterson, Rosemary Jesionowski and Dianne Baker for their hard work in advising Aubrey, Michaela and Peter in the application process.”

Aubrey Elliott

Aubrey Elliott

Through the Fulbright, Elliott will spend eight months in Turkey as an English teaching assistant.

“I’m really looking forward to learning a new language, teaching others and experiencing life in another country,” the Culpeper native said.

Elliott graduated from Mary Washington in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in history followed by a master’s degree in secondary education in 2013. He played on the UMW rugby team throughout his time at Mary Washington, including one year as the team’s senior representative. As a senior, Elliott became a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, and Phi Beta Kappa.


Peter Hawes

Peter Hawes

As a Fulbright scholar, Hawes will work for one year as an English teaching assistant in Nepal. In addition to providing classroom instruction, he will assist the Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association (NELTA). Hawes will leave for his placement at a rural school in July.

“I am expecting it to be pretty challenging in a lot of ways,” he said. “For me personally, I feel there is a lot I can learn from people who live in traditional communities like that.”

Hawes, a native of Centreville, received a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in creative writing in 2012. While at Mary Washington, he was a member of several campus organizations and was a co-founding officer of the Outdoors Club. He spent his summers and vacations at small-scale, sustainable farms in Virginia and Vermont and at local agricultural conferences. Hawes received departmental honors in English and became a member of Phi Beta Kappa.


Michaela Sands

The Fulbright scholarship will enable Sands, a native of Burke, to spend one year as an English teaching assistant at a school in Thailand. She will leave for her placement in September.

Michaela Sands

“I love traveling and exploring, so this is a great opportunity for me to explore the sociological and anthropological aspects of another culture,” Sands said. “This will be a great journey, both personally and professionally.”

Sands graduated from Mary Washington in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology followed by a master of science in elementary education degree in 2013. While an undergraduate, she volunteered with several campus organizations and was a member of the varsity cross country team. She received the Barbara Bishop Mann ’66 Virginia Educator Award in 2013.

UMW Professor Receives Prestigious Fulbright Grant

University of Mary Washington faculty member Mukesh Srivastava has been selected to receive a Fulbright Specialist grant for 2011-12. Srivastava, associate dean of the College of Business and associate professor of management information systems, will spend the month of October in Tunisia to develop a graduate program in management and information technology for the Tunis Business School at Tunis University. He is the first faculty member of the College of Business to receive a Fulbright award.

As a recipient of the Fulbright Specialist grant, Srivastava will work with Tunis Business School faculty to refine and implement a new master’s program in information technology. His work at Tunis University will strengthen connections between Tunisia and the United States, allowing for future collaborations including student exchanges, abroad programs and visiting faculty.

Read the full news release.