The Fulbright U.S. Student Program recently awarded Senior Emily Yedinak with the academic Fulbright Fellowship, which gives students the opportunity to travel to another country and study there for a year with travel and start-up costs covered along with a stipend. Yedinak, who will graduate with degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering, will go to Chile in 2014 to work on carbon nanotube/electroceramic composite materials, take classes in advanced inorganic chemistry, and expand her knowledge of the Spanish language and Chilean culture. According to Yedinak, she is very excited for the opportunity.
“It is still kind of surreal to me,” she said. “Because the date that I will be leaving is so far away, it hasn’t really quite hit me yet that I, some random person going to a very small private college in Indiana, would get to travel and study in an entirely different country.”The process to apply for the fellowship was lengthy. In addition to typical application requirements, Yedinak sought out three recommendations, wrote a personal statement, took a formal language assessment, and found an institution in Chile into which she could be accepted. She then had to find a program advisor to serve as her mentor with research that applied to her. Finally, she also composed a “Statement of Grant” with details about her proposed project and what she planned to do in Chile, which she also explained in an interview by a board of faculty members. Yedinak did all this by October with the hope of being able to travel abroad someday.“Unfortunately, coming to Rose I had already fulfilled most of my humanities requirements and, with taking on a second degree, studying abroad would have actually set me behind,” Yedinak said. “One of my sisters gave a presentation about options to do after graduating college during my sophomore year, and the Fulbright kind of stuck.”Students are only allowed to apply to study in one country for the Fulbright fellowship. Yedinak said that she always wanted to visit a Spanish-speaking country, but figured that South America would be more opportune than Spain. Chile was the first country to come to mind.“I have seen some pictures of Chile, and the mountains are beautiful,” Yedinak said. “Growing up in the Midwest, I have only ever known flat lands, so this experience will be very eye-opening.”Dr. Sam Martland, the Fulbright Program Adviser for Rose-Hulman, attributed her selection to the success of host project, research, career planning, and enthusiasm to studying abroad. Receiving the fellowship is a testament to her dedication to being a great student.“The Fulbright is an honor to her because selection panels in Chile and the US decided that sending her to Chile would help the US, Chile, and her and that she was the best candidate in a competitive field,” Dr. Martland said. “Rose should be able to produce Fulbright winners fairly often because many countries are looking specifically for science and engineering students, and we have a lot of them.”The deadline to enter for next year’s fellowship is Thursday, Oct. 3. Those who will be seniors next year and are interested should visit www.us.fulbrightonline.org.