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Faculty members selected as Fulbright scholars

Two University of South Carolina faculty members were recently honored with Fulbright Scholars Awards, which will allow them opportunities to mentor students, conduct research and build relationships with international partners. Austin Downey and Anwar Merchant have been selected for this prestigious award, which is administered by the U.S. Department of State and plays a vital role in U.S. public diplomacy.

Why it matters: Fulbright scholars gain a unique opportunity to advance professionally while expanding their cultural perspectives and developing partnerships across the globe. Alumni of the program include 62 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners and 80 MacArthur Fellows.

Who they are: 

  • Austin Downey was selected to work on robotics and edge computing for maritime safety in Sweden. An associate professor of mechanical engineering in the Molinaroli College of Engineering and Computing, Downey looks forward to partnering with Chalmers University, where he will mentor and guide student collaborators on robotics projects.
  • Anwar Merchant was selected to help build capacity for public health research in Pakistan. Merchant is a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the Arnold School of Public Health who will use his funding and experience to mentor and train early-career researchers at Aga Khan University. Working closely with his mentees, Merchant will provide guidance on the grants process, epidemiologic research methods and manuscript preparation.

What they’re saying:

"I am excited for my faculty Fulbright in Sweden, where I look forward to exploring how universities can impact their communities. Chalmers University, known for its engineering excellence and strong industry collaborations, has a remarkable reputation for making a positive impact, and I am eager to learn from their example." – Austin Downey

“This award will give me the opportunity to participate in the development of young investigators with limited access to opportunities for professional development. In the process, it will further my own research and give back to the institution from where I started my career.” – Anwar Merchant

Go deeper: Each year, the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program provides more than 400 awards allowing participants to teach, research and work on projects in over 135 countries.  Learn more about the Fulbright Scholar Program.