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Alison Watkins
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Two students win Fulbright Hays awards

Mon, 12/16/2013

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas is the only institution in the state to receive Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Awards.

Joshua Homan, a doctoral student in anthropology, will study the social life of the Pastaza Quechua in Peru.

Jacob Longaker, a doctoral student in political science, will use his award to study how gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Brazilians achieve substantive representation in public policy. They will receive a total of $77,352.

The graduate students are two of the 80 people at 34 institutions of higher learning who won more than $3 million from the U.S. Department of States’ Fulbright Hays International Education programs. 

“The selection of Homan and Longaker for the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Awards reflects the excellence of their research proposals. Both awardees have strong academic and experiential background, as well as the language skills necessary to fulfill their goals in Peru and Brazil,” said Sue Lorenz, director, Fulbright Programs & International Agreements in the Office of International Programs.

Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad grants are part of the larger competitive Fulbright-Hays Program, which dates to 1961 when the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright sponsored legislation for several programs that aim to increase mutual understanding between America and the rest of the world. Since the program’s inception in 1946, 445 KU students, including these two awardees, have been awarded Fulbrights. 

Homan earned a master’s degree in summer 2011 and a bachelor’s degree in 2006 from KU. He is a Salina Central High School graduate. This fall Homan assisted in the Field Museum of Natural History’s Rapid Inventory program, working with Shawi indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon.

Longaker earned a master’s degree in political science in 2013, a graduate certificate in women, gender and sexuality studies in 2012, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies from KU in 2009. He is a De Soto High School graduate. Currently he is a doctoral research fellow at the KU Institute for Policy and Social Research.



What international senior Zunwu Zhou finds appealing about BMX—the feeling he gets when he nearly defies the laws of physics—is the same appeal he found in chemistry, his major. “When I’m in the lab, I push past the limits of what I think I can do. Sure, there are scientific principles, and chemicals have reactions, but research is about testing those boundaries.” Growing up in Wuhan, China, Zhou tried BMX after first watching it on ESPN. “No one else in my city was riding BMX, and I wanted to be the first,” Zhou says. Now Zhou spends what time he has between classes on a bike at KU’s Wescoe Beach because the smooth surface makes it easy for him to “spin and fix.” To be the first BMX rider in your city, travel 7,200 miles for college, and spend your life breaking chemical bonds, a person must be daring. Not fearless – just willing to accept a worthy dare. Zhou is as daring as they come.
Today in #KUhistory : KU loop of the Lawrence Street Railway Company goes into service, 1910. http://t.co/EVTdkGJsob http://t.co/P1fQL0rlVq
Explore KU: International student, BMX rider knows no bounds To be the first BMX rider in your city, travel 7,200 miles for college, and spend your life breaking chemical bonds, a person must be daring. Meet Zunwu Zhou: a senior international student and chemistry major from Wuhan, China. His favorite things are rock chalk and sick tricks.


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Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
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