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Creighton Students Honored With Fulbright Scholarships

Two Creighton University seniors have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships for 2011.

Anya Burkart, a physics and German double major from Monument, Colo., has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study and work in Leipzig, Germany. Burkhart will be in Germany from September to July when she will participate in optical stretcher research at the University of Leipzig.

Along with the Fulbright Scholarship, Burkart has been the recipient of a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst grant and a Goldwater Scholarship. Burkart has been a member of Creighton’s biophysical optics research group since 2008, collecting and analyzing data on cell elasticity using an optical stretcher under the supervision of Creighton Physics Professor Mike Nichols, Ph. D. She also participated as the U.S. Delegate for the International Conference for Physics Students (IPAS) in Graz, Austria, last summer. She is currently an editor for the IPAS Journal.

At Creighton, Burkart is involved in numerous organizations on campus. She has participated in Creighton’s spring break service trips, volunteers at numerous organizations in Omaha and is a Clare Boothe Luce Women in Science scholar.

Jessica Gaulter of Urbandale, Iowa, is a senior majoring in biology and Spanish. The honors student began working as a freshman in skin cancer research. She is currently studying the role of the epidermal growth factor receptor in hair cycling and skin inflammation.

Gaulter will carry out her Fulbright project in the fall in the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. She will live and work at the Charles Darwin Foundation. Her research will primarily involve examining black flies on the island with the hopes of determining whether they are a native or invasive species. In other countries, black flies have been known to transmit onchocerciasis (river blindness), which can pose a significant health threat.

She is currently a resident advisor for freshman women and was recently inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society. She spent a semester studying in the Dominican Republic, where she developed an interest in international public health and will return this summer with Creighton’s Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC). At Creighton, she is a member of the Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity and El Legado de Compasión and a former member of the Cortina Community. Gaulter plans to pursue a career in public health and is considering graduate programs as well as medical school.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright program was created by Congress in 1946, immediately after World War II. Former U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright sponsored the legislation, seeing the program as a step toward building international cooperation. The Fulbright program remains the largest international exchange program in the U.S., offering opportunities for students, scholars, and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 7,500 new grants annually and operates its program in more than 155 countries.