Troy University professor earns Fulbright fellowship

Posted: Thursday, 21 May 2009

TROY – Troy University professor of environmental science Dr. Michael Stewart has been awarded a Fulbright Senior Specialist Fellowship that will send him to Peru and the Amazon basin this summer.

Dr. Stewart, the ALFA Eminent Scholar in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, will present a workshop on aquatic biomonitoring at the Instituto del Aqua y Medio Ambiente, then lecture at the Cayetano Heredia University in conservation biology, sustainable development and environmental toxicology. After his stint in Lima, he will collaborate with the Peruvian Amazon Research Institute near Iquitos, Peru.

The Fulbright award, one of the highest awards a scholar can be awarded, will allow a chance for TROY to expand international collaboration, Dr. Stewart said.

“What I teach down there isn’t important – it’s something those students can learn from any other expert in the field – but the idea of someone from another country is what it’s about. The (Peruvian) students get to work through language and cultural differences and see if they’re ready to come to the United States for study,” he said. “With TROY’s emphasis on globalization, I’ll get to meet a lot of people and those contacts may translate into student opportunities for our students at TROY.”

Dr. Stewart, who plans to lead a student team to Peru next summer, said the opportunity to study the Amazon first-hand is a worthwhile pursuit.

“I’ve never come up with a research project sitting at my desk. You have to go to a site and see, for example, a large erosion problem, before a solution can be researched and implemented. This gives me the opportunity to see things first-hand,” he said.

The Fulbright Specialists Program (FSP) promotes linkages between U.S. academics and professionals and their counterparts at universities abroad. The program is designed to award grants to qualified U.S. faculty and professionals, in select disciplines, to engage in short-term collaborative 2 to 6 week projects at higher education institutions in over 100 countries worldwide. International travel costs and an honorarium are funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating host universities cover grantee in-country expenses or provide in-kind services.

Dr. Stewart