For the second time in the college’s history, Geneseo has been named a Top Producer of Fulbright US Scholar award recipients for the 2022–23 national competition, as announced by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education in its annual article. Geneseo was also named a Top Producer of Fulbright US Student awards, becoming the first dedicated SUNY institution to be named to both lists in the same year. Geneseo was one of only 18 colleges or universities nationwide to be recognized as a Top Producer for both students and scholars.
Receiving Fulbright Scholar awards for 2022–23 were D. Jeffrey Over, professor of geological sciences, (Czech Republic) and Scott Giorgis, professor and chair of geological sciences (Colombia). Jennifer Apple, associate professor of biology, was named an alternate to the Czech Republic.
“The success the College continues to have with the US Scholar program is an indicator of the important cutting-edge research our faculty members are undertaking,” says Geneseo President Denise A. Battles. “This year’s dual Top Producer recognition with both the Fulbright Scholar and Student programs is also a testament to the dedication and mentoring of the many faculty and staff who support our applicants through writing letters of recommendation and participating in the on-campus interview process.”
The 2022–23 grants bring to 10 the number of Fulbright or Fulbright-Hays awards Geneseo faculty members have received in the past ten years. Geneseo was the first four-year SUNY school with the University at Buffalo to be named a Top Producer of Scholar awards.
Giorgis has now won two Scholar awards and is spending Spring 2023 in Barranquilla, Colombia, at the Universidad del Norte on a project titled “Characterizing fault movement and building a collaboration between Barranquilla (Colombia) and Geneseo (USA).” Giorgis previously spent Fall 2014 as a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at Universidad de Concepción in Concepción, Chile.
Colombia is of special geological interest for Giorgis as it lies at the junction between three tectonic plates: the Nazca, the Caribbean, and the South American. He will collect rock samples for paleomagnetic analysis to increase understanding of the tectonic history of northern Colombia. He will also conduct field classes, co-teach a seminar on Colombian tectonics and paleomagnetism, and hopefully create a geology study abroad trip for SUNY Geneseo students to engage with the geology, landscape, and culture of Colombia.
The Fulbright awards have provided opportunities for Giorgis to study rocks and landscapes with Chilean and Colombian experts who “share a lifetime’s worth of knowledge and allow me to see that geology with the eyes of a local.” The experiences directly impact his teaching by introducing new ideas, samples, maps, and photographs to his classes.
D. Jeffrey Over
Over spent Fall 2022 at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, on a project titled “Collaborative Studies and Teaching in Geological Sciences: Event Stratigraphy, Cyclostratigraphy, and Astrochronology, and Research Investigation of Environmental Changes During the Late Devonian Global Crisis.”
Over joined a research group at Masaryk University to study fundamental changes in Earth ecosystems. Using geochemical and stratigraphic techniques, the team examined Devonian-Carboniferous strata and microbialites (sedimentary rocks formed by bacteria and other microbes) that have relevance to modern global climate change.
“I was able to experience the deep geologic and cultural history, as well as the social impact of being in a country that, while ethnically distinct, is really only 30 years old. There is a profoundly different view of the world if your country has been invaded and subjugated by Nazis and Soviet communists,” says Over. “My time at Masaryk allowed me to work with a colleague from a research-intensive institute who shares my interests, teach a graduate class, use instrumentation not available at Geneseo, and dedicate significant time every day to scholarship.”
Apple accompanied Over to Masaryk and collaborated with zoologists examining the mechanisms ant-mimicking spiders use to avoid predation through an evolutionary phenomenon called Batesian mimicry. Both found their time in Brno meaningful: “We had discussions with graduate students and faculty at a different level, owing to greater expertise and understanding of topics—the Scholar experience was like being at an academic conference every day.”
Fulbrights at Geneseo
The Fulbright Program annually offers 400+ Scholar awards in more than 130 countries for college and university faculty, artists, and professionals from a wide range of fields to teach, conduct research, and carry out professional projects around the world.
The Fulbright US Scholar competition is open to faculty members and other professionals. For more information, contact Sue Rubright, Office of Sponsored Research, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 585-245-5086.
The Fulbright US Student program is open to graduating seniors and recent alumni. For more information, contact Michael Mills, Director of National Fellowships and Scholarships, at email@example.com and 585-245-6002.