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Six from MIT win Fulbright student travel grants

Six MIT graduate students have been awarded Fulbright scholarships for the academic year 2007-2008.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic achievement and leadership potential in their fields. Each grant covers the costs of travel abroad and living expenses for one academic year.

V. A. Shiva Ayyadurai, a Ph.D. candidate in systems biology who also has earned MIT degrees in engineering and media arts and sciences, is headed to India to examine indigenous systems of medicine and their possible use within more modern mainstream treatments. He lives in Belmont, Mass.

Matthew DeJong of Davis, Calif., is a Ph.D. student studying building technology under John Ochsendorf, associate professor of architecture. DeJong will be traveling to the Netherlands to examine modeling of historic masonry structures subjected to dynamic loading. He hopes to uncover the behavior of masonry under stress and to develop effective safety measures.

Francesca DeMeo earned her B.S. from MIT in planetary science in 2006 and graduated with her M.S. in planetary science in June 2007. She will travel to France to study at the Paris Observatory. While there, she will begin to characterize asteroids with a special emphasis on potentially hazardous objects. A native of Boxford, Mass., she will complete her Ph.D. work in planetary science while in Paris.

David Lee, raised in Northridge, Calif., earned his S.B. in physics in 2006 and completed his M.C.P. in urban studies and planning in June 2007. He will travel to South Korea to examine Seoul's design aspects for elderly access. He hopes to return to the U.S. and apply the knowledge he gains to the design of elderly- and disabled-friendly city walkways.

Jonathan Rose of New York will go to Nicaragua to examine their participatory democratic process for economic development in fourteen regions of the country. He will use the results of his research to complete his Ph.D. in political science at MIT.

Sarah Zukerman, a native of New York City, will travel to Colombia on both a Fulbright Grant and a Social Science Research Council Grant. While there, she will examine Colombia's demobilization and reintegration programs and their effectiveness in curbing guerrilla violence. This research will form the basis of her Ph.D. dissertation in political science.

The Fulbright grants were established in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and other countries.

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