Two Colorado State University graduates have recently been recognized by the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
Graduates Alexis Haskins (’17) and Renee Ormond (’14) each received scholarships for the 2019-20 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. The highly competitive program provides students the opportunity to conduct research or teach English overseas.
Haskins, who earned her bachelor’s degree from the Warner College of Natural Resources, will spend 10 months at the University of Helsinki in Finland, studying nature-based solutions for immune diseases that are thought to be caused by environmental factors.
Ormond will be traveling to the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, for a year to enroll in a master’s program to study international development. She earned her bachelor’s degree in international studies from the College of Liberal Arts.
“We are extremely proud of Alexis, Renee and Scott,” said Mary Swanson, associate director of the Office for Scholarship and Fellowship Advising and the Office for Undergraduate Research and Artistry. “To receive a Fulbright is a tremendous accomplishment, and I know they will be excellent representatives of both Colorado State University and the United States while they serve as cultural ambassadors in their respective countries.”
Haskins’ interest in nature-based solutions for immune diseases grew as a student in CSU’s Department of Environmental & Radiological Health Sciences labs, where she focused on DNA damage and repair after environmental stress.
In addition, she examined soil carbon sequestration in bioenergy crops with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. She also studied in Iceland, learning how Icelanders use nature to mitigate the energy crisis through renewable energies.
Haskins, who majored in ecosystem science and sustainability with a minor in conservation biology, said she spent more than a year preparing her application for the Fulbright Program, adding that the hard work paid off.
“When I won it, I was speechless,” said Haskins, who is from Grand Rapids, Michigan. “It’s such a crazy experience, and I’m really excited to go. I know it’s going to do great things for me in the future.”
Currently working at a nonprofit analyzing global threats from climate change, Haskins said she plans to attend graduate school following the Fulbright.
Ormond was figuratively and literally on top of a mountain when she got word that she was a Fulbright recipient. She was doing housing development and public health work in the mountains along the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti for a nonprofit.
“It was a really cool moment because I was overlooking the community that we work in, and I thought to myself, ‘Yes, this is amazing,’” said Ormond, who is originally from Tempe, Arizona.
At CSU, Ormond majored in international studies, with minors in Latin American and Caribbean Studies as well as Spanish. She said CSU provided her with the flexibility to tailor her degree and explore interests that best fit her career goals.
Ormond plans to spend the year in England learning about international development theories and strategies in her master’s program.
After her Fulbright, Ormond said she wants to pursue a career of creating sustainable and impactful development projects that focus on the economic empowerment of women.
Folkman’s Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award is a nine-month grant, and the research group that he will be working for has agreed to fund him an additional three months so he can work for a full year beginning in October.
While abroad, he’ll be working for J.R. Galán-Mascarós at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ) in Tarragona, Spain. Last summer he published a research article with Galán-Mascarós in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, his final publication in graduate school.
Folkman’s research involves electrocatalytic water splitting to produce hydrogen as a carbon-neutral fuel. Current hydrogen production methods from renewable resources are too expensive to compete with fossil fuels, so his research aims to reduce the cost of renewable hydrogen production by increasing the overall efficiency of the reaction and lifetime of the catalysts. Galán-Mascarós has recently published two articles in sub journals of Nature for novel electrodes/catalysts using a hydrophobic substrate and with the introduction of a magnetic field. Folkman’s research with him will involve exploring highly active and long-lived electrodes/catalysts for industrial-scale water splitting.
Fulbright U.S. Student Program
Established in 1946 by legislation created by the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the United States, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Since its inception, more than 380,000 people have participated in the program, with approximately 8,000 grants annually awarded. CSU has had 14 participants in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program since 2015.
Graduating seniors, alumni and graduate students interested in applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program should contact Mary Swanson at firstname.lastname@example.org.