AUSTIN, Texas — The U.S. Department of State and Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board have selected four members of the staff and faculty at The University of Texas at Austin to receive Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program awards for the 2023-2024 academic year.
Professors Tia Madkins and Hannah Williamson as well as head librarian Mary Rader and postdoctoral fellow Julia York will receive resources from the Fulbright Program to pursue research and/or teaching activities abroad in 2023-2024. Annually, more than 800 U.S. scholars, artists and professionals from all backgrounds teach or conduct research overseas with the program.
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
UT Austin has enjoyed a long relationship with the Fulbright Program, amassing a strong history of students, alumni, faculty members and staffers who receive Fulbright awards to work in a multitude of disciplines and attend specialized seminars across the globe. This opportunity expands the awardees’ professional networks, often leading to continued research collaborations and laying the groundwork for future partnerships between institutions.
2023-2024 UT Fulbright U.S. Scholars
Tia Madkins, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the College of Education, received a Fulbright Flex Grant to work with the REM-NE network at Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz in Brazil, examining how elementary and middle school mathematics teachers in Northeast Brazil develop and implement equity-focused math teaching practices. In July-September 2023 and November 2023-January 2024, Madkins will lecture and engage in discussions with college students and teachers while developing instructional activities and lesson plans.
“I am so excited to begin this award and learn with and from researchers, educators and local communities in Northeast Brazil! I am grateful for … the opportunity to expand our understanding of teaching and teacher education in global contexts,” Madkins said. “This award will have an incredible impact on [my research into] K-8 equity-focused STEM teaching and teacher education in Brazilian contexts and engaging in global conversations about race, racism and justice.”
Mary Rader, South Asia librarian and head of the Fine Arts, Humanities and Global Studies Engagement Team for UT Libraries, was presented a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award to travel in January-February 2024 to Delhi and Chennai, India, for the purpose of locating and documenting the content and condition of personal and private archives housed outside of academic and public domains.
“The study will form the groundwork for future discovery and preservation of these materials,” Rader said. “Beyond traditional deliverables (publications, grant proposals, bibliographic tools), this research will deepen networks for future and ongoing interinstitutional and international relationships between collectors, scholars and librarians of South Asia.”
Hannah Williamson, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences and the Department of Psychology, will work as a visiting scholar during September 2023-May 2024 at the Universidad de Granada in Granada, Spain. Her research focuses on the effects of stressors such as financial strain on couple and family relationships, with metascience research directed toward improving the study of family relationships of people who have been historically underrepresented in research.
“Close relationships are a central component of people’s lives around the world, and it is vitally important to scientifically study aspects of relationships,” Williamson said. “One goal of my research is to improve the scientific study of close relationships by expanding our focus to people who have been underrepresented in research, including those outside the U.S. and populations in the U.S. such as Spanish speakers.”
Julia York, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neuroscience, will travel to Chile to conduct research with the Universidad Austral de Chile in Valdivia, where she will study molecular temperature sensors from Antarctic fish. During the designated research period of November 2023-February 2024, she also will accompany the Chilean Antarctic Expedition hosted by the Instituto Antártico Chileno.
These Fulbright Scholar Award recipients join a network of thousands of esteemed scholars, many of whom are leaders in their fields. Notable Fulbright alumni include 62 Nobel Prize laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize recipients, 78 MacArthur fellows, and 41 who have served as a head of state or government. Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 400,000 participants from more than 160 countries — all chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to challenges facing our communities and our world.