Both students were recently awarded Fulbright scholarships to study in Europe for one year, during which they will participate in graduate studies and research. Since its inception in 1946, more than 250,000 participants have had the opportunity to explore foreign political, economic and cultural institutions through the Fulbright Program, the namesake of former U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright, who believed international education was central to the promotion of "mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries of the world."
"They are both outstanding students," says James Gunton, professor of physics, who aided Morrow and Rhen with their Fulbright applications. "They are wonderfully talented individuals who will undoubtedly have outstanding careers in whatever they choose to do."
Morrow graduated with a degree in economics in three-and-a-half years and is now completing a masters degree in the same field this spring. Rhen is a double major in physics and German. Both students are members of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Beta Delta, an international honor society.
To Ireland and Germany
The Fulbright grant will take Morrow to the National University of Ireland at Galway, where she will engage in independent research on the impact of the recent technological revolution in Ireland on women. She then plans to compare this to how women were affected in the U.S. and Great Britain by the industrial revolutions.
"I believe that gender issues are a key factor overlooked by many development economists," Morrow says of her research plans. "I’m striving to learn more about women’s studies so that I will be sensitive to these issues."
Morrow says she is excited to "explore the world and to expand my social and cultural horizons" in addition to her academic endeavors.
Rhen will travel to the University of Bonn in Germany, where she will enroll in the Bonn Internationale Physik Program (BIPP). She expects to reap a broad range of benefits, and hopes the experience will help her determine her future.
"I’m very excited to be in Germany for a year, further exploring who I am and using the time to think about my future," Rhen says. "I think when I come back I will be more certain about what I want to do with my life."
The students credit Lehigh faculty and staff for encouraging them to apply to the program. Gunton and Hannah Stewart-Gambino, associate dean and professor of political science, were involved in the application process, providing motivation and advice for the students. The students’ academic advisors also helped along the way.
"Without the professors, I would certainly not have this great opportunity," Morrow says.
In order to be considered for a Fulbright scholarship, applicants must complete a written explanation describing the projects they would carry out if awarded the grant. In addition, applicants must write an essay describing themselves and their goals.
Morrow and Rhen also were interviewed by a panel of Lehigh faculty chaired by Stewart-Gambino. Their applications were then sent on to the J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board, whose 12 members are appointed by the president of the United States. The board decides which applicants are worthy of the scholarship based on leadership potential.
Gunton feels that both students excel by both educational and personal standards.
"Dani and Billie will be wonderful ambassadors for the United States," Gunton says. "They are charming, interesting and talented individuals; I suspect this played a major role in their winning these awards, and I am very proud of both of them."