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Mathieu Davis Wins Fulbright U.S. Student Award


Mathieu Davis

As fall semester approaches, PhD student Mathieu Davis is preparing to spend nine months in South Africa.

Davis recently exceeded his own expectations as he was admitted into the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

“I have always thought the Fulbright was one of those ‘out of reach’ achievements that was only attainable for the select elite, so to speak,” Davis said.

Taking advantage of his more competitive edge, Davis decided to challenge himself.

“I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to continue my growth and development, not only culturally, but academically as well,” Davis added. “Studying abroad is something I’ve always wanted to do to, and the Fulbright provides an excellent opportunity to do so.”

The program accepts propositions for individual research projects each year, and awards winners with a grant sponsoring research abroad. Primarily, the grant is given in hopes of facilitating greater mutual understanding between countries. Award winners spend the academic year abroad and are encouraged to embrace the culture of the host country’s everyday life, as well as its different viewpoints, while furthering their research endeavors.

In South Africa, the majority of Davis’ research will take place at Stellenbosch University. Here, he will pursue research in heart valve biomechanics through computational models.

After this project has been considerably established, Davis plans on restoring Stellenbosch University’s LEGO Mindstorms Robot Program. The program has the potential to serve as a valuable teaching tool for community high schools in that area. Specifically, Davis hopes to turn it into a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) outreach mechanism.

Davis’ academic research will be tightly intertwined with cultural aspects, as he will be communicating between both the University of Michigan and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, with the intention of facilitating NMMU’s plan to develop its own Biomedical Engineering Department.