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Four UW graduate students selected for Fulbright Scholarships

Two University of Washington doctoral degree graduates and two current graduate students have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships. They include, Patrick Aubin, graduate with doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering ; Cameron McGregor, graduate student in Education; Rachel Severson, graduate with a doctoral degree in Psychology; and Suzanne Simburg, graduate student in Public Administration/Business Administration. They, along with 11 UW alumni who recently earned their undergraduate degrees, will join the more that 1,500 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2010-11 academic year through the Fulbright Student Program.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education, and athletics. Forty Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 75 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes.


Patrick Aubin, 2010 doctoral graduate
Fulbright country: Lithuania
Area of study: Electrical engineering
Hometown: Seattle

Patrick Aubin will study Parkinson’s disease, the common neurodegenerative disorder that impairs motor skills including balance, in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

Aubin is developing a new diagnostic test for the early detection of Parkinson’s disease by analyzing a person’s “balance, posture and sway with an artificial neural network. The artificial neural network module will be designed as a plug-in module for OpenSim, a powerful open source computational musculoskeletal modeling software,” he said.

As a graduate student at the UW, Aubin was a research assistant at Veterans Administration Puget Sound Health Care System’s Center of Excellence for Limb Loss Prevention and Prosthetic Engineering. The center’s mission is to prevent lower limb amputation by understanding the biomechanics of the foot and the causes of diseases that lead to amputation. Once he completes his Fulbright, Aubin will pursue an academic career in biomedical engineering at a research university.


Cameron McGregor, UW master’s student
Fulbright country: Russia
Area of study: Elementary education
Hometown: Ritzville, Wash.

Cameron McGregor will travel to the city of Elista in Southern Russia, north of Georgia, to teach American studies and culture to students between 10 and 14 years old, as well as university students.

“During my Fulbright, I am hoping to gain a greater understanding of the Russian language, of Russian culture and of the Russian education system,” McGregor said. “I want to be able to compare how Russians view education, versus how we, as Americans, view education in order to make a more significant impact as a future elementary teacher.”

After completing his master’s degree in teaching, McGregor plans to teach elementary school in the United States or abroad.


Rachel Severson, 2010 doctoral graduate
Fulbright country: Norway
Area of study: Psychology
Hometown: Maple Valley, Wash.

Rachel Severson will travel to Oslo, Norway, to research environmental generational amnesia, the idea that the natural world a person experiences in childhood forms that person’s baseline of what is environmentally normal. As the environment degrades, each new generation perceives the degraded environment as normal, unaware of the degradation that occurred previously. This psychological phenomenon has implications for environmental sustainability, Severson said.

“I will investigate, across generations, Norwegians’ experiences, values and conceptions of the natural environment,” she said.

Severson and her husband, Karl Unterschuetz, are sailing their boat from the Pacific Coast of Mexico to Norway, by way of the Panama Canal, Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea.


Suzanne Simburg, UW master’s student
Fulbright country: Mexico
Areas of study: Public Administration/Business Administration
Hometown: Seattle

Suzanne Simburg will work at New Ventures, a group in Mexico City that provides consulting services to entrepreneurs in order to support sustainable businesses that combine profitability with social responsibility.

“I’m interested in the idea of a dual bottom line,” Simburg said. “New Ventures’ work is particularly interesting because of the intersection between business and public value.”

Simburg, who completed the 200-mile Seattle to Portland (STP) bike ride this summer, also is looking forward to learning business Spanish and improving her salsa dancing.

For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, please visit: