BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Three University at Buffalo students have
received prestigious Fulbright Fellowships, the most recent class
in what has become a UB tradition of multiple winners in the highly
competitive, nationally-recognized scholarly competition.
The three winners, two seniors graduating this month and a
graduate student, are:
-- Thawab Shibly, who has been known as a vocal and
eloquent spokesperson for the rights of Palestinian refugees,
graduates with a double major in political science and English, and
a minor in art. She was recently chosen for the SUNY Chancellor's
Award for Student Excellence.
Shibly is president of the campus Community Action Corps, has
led a bi-weekly discussion group for the Muslim Student Association
and is a volunteer mentor at the Priscilla Project.
Born in Damascus and raised in Buffalo, Shibly is the recipient
of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to sponsor her for
20 hours a week of teaching in Jordan. She will also continue her
oral history research of refugees living in Jordan.
A University Advanced Honors College scholar, she has been on
the dean's list for five semesters. Shibly is also the recipient of
the J. Scott Fleming Scholarship for Leadership and Excellence, and
has volunteered in the New Orleans recovery effort.
-- Karl Barber, an Albany native, is a senior majoring in
chemical engineering and French. Barber is a Presidential Scholar
at UB and chairman for the Society for Biological Engineers for
UB's chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers
Barber has performed research in protein engineering since 2010
and is currently investigating the development of temperature
sensitivity in a split mini intein. Last summer he pursued an
internship in neurobiology at University Laval in Quebec City
making use of a light-sensitive protein to study interneurons in
the hippocampus of mice.
In 2011 Barber received the AIChE Outstanding Junior Award for
the Western New York chapter. He also enjoys studying French
Canadian linguistics and culture.
Barber will use the Fulbright grant to study the molecular basis
of the death of mutant photoreceptors in neurons at McGill
University in Montreal. This will have important implications in
the study of inherited diseases related to retinal degeneration.
Barber also plans to volunteer at a mental hospital, to emphasize
the human aspect of neuroscience.
Barber is a member of the Honors College at UB. He will study
for his doctorate in molecular biology at Yale University after his
Fulbright award in the fall of 2013.
-- Grace Mukupa, a graduate student pursing a PhD in
global gender studies, will use the Fulbright award to explore the
effect of food incentives as strategy for attracting and retaining
young students in educational institutions of the Khatlon Province
in Tajikistan. The project will target 81 elementary schools and 17
high schools. This region endured brutalities of civil war and
presently has high levels of disparity between boys' and girls'
Mukupa currently serves as president of UB's Graduate Student
Association as well as advising three undergraduate organizations
-- the African Student Association, Pi Delta Psi fraternity and the
UB Gospel Choir.
She is a native of Zambia who grew up in Tokyo. Mukupa
integrates discussion on gender and disparities in Southern Africa
into her teaching of the undergraduate course "Gender in Africa and
Gender and Traditional Laws in Africa."
Since 2010, Mukupa has been serving as representative to the
United Nations to the Economic and Social Council through Alpha
Kappa Alpha sorority Inc. She is also a member of American
Association of University Women, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.,
the National Women's Studies Association (NWSA), and Society for
AIDS in Africa and Affirmative Action on Gender Equality
In December she received a scholarship to present at the 16th
International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted
Infections in Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The three Fulbright Scholarships, among the most prestigious
academic awards in the country, are major accomplishments for the
students, both in personal stature and the opportunity it gives
them to continue their scholarly work, according to Kenneth
Shockley, UB's Fulbright Program Adviser and associate professor of
The steady stream of Fulbright awards -- UB is now accustomed to
having multiple winners each year -- also is a statement about the
quality of the university, he said.
"UB should be very proud of these grantees, as we should be of
all those students awarded fellowships of such prestige, and
subject to such competition," Shockley says. "They demonstrate the
caliber of our student body and the capacity of UB students to
compete successfully against the best and the brightest of the most
elite universities in the U.S."
Students interested in the Fulbright program are encouraged to
contact Prof. Shockley, and read about the program at http://www.fulbright.buffalo.edu.