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Political Science Professor Marie Gottschalk and Associate Professor in Nutrition Science Charlene Compher recently received Fulbright scholarships for teaching and conducting research abroad in 2009-10.

Sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and managed by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, the Fulbright program aims to increase mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries. There were 125 Fulbright and Specialist scholarships awarded this year alone.

Gottschalk, who studies the welfare state and mass incarceration in the United States, received her grant to study in Japan and was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Nagoya American Studies Seminar this past summer.

The seminar is designed to bring together scholars all over Japan who study the United States as well as international scholars and graduate students in American studies, Gottschalk said.

In addition to speaking at the seminar, Gottschalk said her grant involved participating in workshops in other parts of Japan.

“It was great to meet international scholars and wonderful to see the interest overseas in American politics and American studies,” she said.

She added that she was particularly impressed by the overseas interest in mass incarcerations within the United States.

During her 11 days in Japan, Gottschalk also visited the Nagoya Prison, the third largest prison in Japan, which gave her the opportunity to compare Japanese prisons to American ones, she said.

Compher, a Fulbright Africa Scholar, will work in the African Regional Research Program at the University of Botswana starting in early January.

As a faculty mentor, she will help the University of Botswana realize its goal of increasing its research portfolio by training its faculty in clinical research skills and how to write grant proposals.

She also intends to work toward the prevention of adolescent obesity. Botswana, which is still developing economically, has documented a higher prevalence of obesity in adolescents than the United States in urban areas.

“We’re working on developing an intervention to prevent obesity in the cities,” she said.

Prior to travelling to Africa, Compher said she had been working on this project at home.

“We have been able to accomplish a lot using teleconferences, but I believe I can accomplish more being on the ground in Botswana,” she said.

School of Nursing Dean Afaf Meleis wrote in an e-mail that Compher’s Fulbright is part of the school’s commitment to international colleagues, adding another facet to its already strong relationship with the University of Botswana.

“This work will help both our colleagues here and in Botswana produce culturally competent translational research as we learn from each other,” she wrote.

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