HWS Professor Receives Fulbright Award – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

HWS Professor Receives Fulbright Award

Meghan Brown, assistant professor of biology, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar Grant to conduct research on Lago Maggiore in Italy during the 2009-2010 academic year, according to the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Brown will work on a project titled “Home is where the Spiny waterflea is: Examining resting egg longevity and viability in Lago Maggiore.” Her project works to prevent the spread and impacts of non-native species. Spiny waterfleas eat zooplankton which are an important food for native fishes. In some lakes, they have caused the elimination of some species of native zooplankton. They can also impede fishing.

“We need to understand how organisms interact with the environment in their evolutionary homes,” says Brown.  “With the aid of the Fulbright award, I will study the ecology of the Spiny waterflea at the Istituto per lo Studio degli Ecosistemi (Pallanza, Italy).  The main objective of my research will be to examine the viability of eggs deposited by the Spiny waterflea over the last century in the sediments of Lago Maggiore.  This is a topic of high importance both in North America where the invasive causes economic and ecological damage and in Italy where the modern ecology of lakes is impacted by the increase in abundance of this species due to climate change.”

Brown is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

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“I applied knowing it was a lofty goal, so I felt really honored when I received it.  The research I will conduct in Italy dovetails with the questions I am investigating in the Finger Lakes and the Great Lakes.  Together these projects on separate continents contribute to a much broader understanding of the invasive species and the application of my research,” says Brown whose work at HWS focuses on the fishhook and spiny water fleas, which are among the non-native species in North American lakes.

“It’s a great honor for Professor Brown and for the Colleges,” says Provost and Dean of the Faculty Teresa Amott.  “To have received a competitive Fulbright Scholar award is a remarkable accomplishment and a testimony to the quality and promise of the projects and the high caliber of her research.”

Brown, who joined the biology department in August 2006, holds a doctorate and master’s degree from the University of Minnesota, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.  She is the author of numerous articles that have appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as Biological Invasions, Journal of Great Lakes Research, Freshwater Biology and Health Education & Behavior.  She is a member of  the International Association of Theoretical and Applied Limnology, American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and National Association of Science Teachers.

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The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the U. S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 294,00 people-108,160 Americans who have studied, taught or researched abroad and 178,340 students, scholars and teachers from other countries who have engaged in similar activities in the United States-with the opportunity to observe each other’s political, economic, educational and cultural institutions, to exchange ideas and to embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world’s inhabitants.  The Program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.  Fulbright Recipients are among more than 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year.  For more than 60 years, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between people of the United States and the people of other countries.  The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange Scholars.