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Jamison Watson VanOosbree Offered Fulbright Grant

By Staff | Jun 7, 2016

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Jamison Watson VanOosbree is one of ten University of Illinois students who have been offered student Fulbright grants to pursue international educational, research and teaching experiences this coming year. These students and young alumni will be sharing their distinct Illinois experiences with others throughout Eastern and Western Europe, Latin America, Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build international relations to solve global challenges. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright Program’s establishment. Based on their academic and professional achievement, as well as their demonstrated leadership potential, approximately 1,900 U.S. citizens will travel abroad for the 2016-17 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Among the recipients is Jamison Watson VanOosbree, son of Vicky and Paul VanOosbree of Emmetsburg. He will conduct renewable energy research at China Agricultural University in Beijing. With the Fulbright, he plans to test a new method to upgrade the quality of biocrude oil produced from swine manure. A graduate from St. Olaf College with a bachelor’s in chemistry, Watson will graduate from Illinios in August 2016 with a master’s in agricultural and biological engineering. He previously received a Critical Language Scholarship to fund two months of Mandarin study in Xi’an, China, during summer 2015. Beyond his research pursuits, Watson has been active as the executive director of the Innovation Immersion Program; in fall 2015 he led groups of international consultants to provide technical expertise for companies worldwide. After his Fulbright year, Watson plans to work toward a Ph.D. at Illinois before seeking to improve the environment through employment with an organization such as the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center.

The Fulbright program is administered at Illinois by the National and International Scholarships Program, which works with undergraduates and recent alumni, and the Office of External Fellowships, which assists current graduate students applying for the grant. More than 70 Illinois faculty and staff with geographic and programmatic expertise review student application materials and conduct interviews of candidates.

“This year’s Illinois grantees confirm that opportunities under the Fulbright program truly are open to a wide variety of individuals,” said David Schug, the director of the National and International Scholarships Program. “The 10 University of Illinois applicants offered Fulbright grants include graduating seniors, master’s candidates and recent alumni who come from our colleges of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Education; Fine and Applied Arts; Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Media.”

“Winning a Fulbright grant requires not only scholarly excellence but also adaptability, maturity and integrity,” said Ken Vickery, the director of the Office of External Fellowships. “This is why the Fulbright program is held in such high esteem the world over. Fulbright scholars promote international goodwill by serving as cultural ambassadors as well as by their exemplary research and teaching.”

Applications are open for students interested in pursuing studies, fine arts, research, or English teaching assistantships under the Fulbright for the 2017-18 academic year.