Human Science Professor, Student Earn Fulbright Awards

APRIL 25, 2014 - A faculty member and senior in the Department of Human Science have been selected for awards through the prestigious Fulbright Program.

Caroline Cotto (NHS’14) will teach English in Taiwan through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, and David Goldsmith, PhD, adjunct associate professor of human science, will conduct environmental research in Canada through the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program.

“This is thrilling news,” says Rosemary K. Sokas, MD, MOH, the department’s chair.  “Earning an award through the Fulbright Program is a major accomplishment.  I join the department and the school in applauding Caroline and David on their achievements.”

English and Exercise

Cotto will be living in Kaohsiung City, where she will teach English to elementary or middle school students.

She says that the experience builds upon her undergraduate experiences, including studying abroad in China to learn Mandarin through an intensive language program at the East China Normal University in Shanghai, interning at the White House on First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, and conducting psychological research on the effect of media characters on childhood obesity.

“You learn so much when you are pushed out of your comfort zone and have to learn a new language,” she says.  “Hopefully I will be able to do the same for my students.”

She says that in addition to teaching English, she plans to launch an extracurricular program for the students about food and exercise.

Environmental Health

And through his award, Goldsmith will be a visiting chair with the Department of Community Health Sciences within the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Medicine for the fall 2014 term.

He plans to focus on access to treated water and sewage facilities for native Canadians and also hopes to spend time researching community attitudes about hydraulic fracturing – commonly known as “fracking” – in shale rock.

“One of the things that I am proposing to do is a community survey about what seems to be the driver of social opinion about fracking,” says Goldsmith, who is an environmental epidemiologist.  “That would give us some interesting insights and be important information for policymakers on both sides of the border.”

He says he intends to mentor students while there and to build relationships for future collaborations with Georgetown, especially those involved with the undergraduate-led Georgetown University Journal of Health Sciences.

‘Great Opportunity’

Both Cotto and Goldsmith say they are looking forward to the experience.

“I was really, really happy when this worked out,” says Cotto.  “It’s been sort of a whirlwind.   I am really excited to be able to go and share American culture.”

Goldsmith shares that enthusiasm.

“I am very excited,” he says.  “I’ve had the good fortune in my career to work with several outstanding Canadian scientists.  I find them to be very creative, and I am really looking forward to collaborating with colleagues in Manitoba.  I think it’s a great challenge and a great opportunity for me professionally.”

By Bill Cessato