Hans Schneider, a doctoral student studying urban and regional science at Texas A&M, has received a Fulbright grant to develop a comprehensive regional plan for preserving eight historically significant wooden churches and other historic sites in western Ukraine. He’ll travel to Europe this August to begin the 10-month project.
Sponsored by the Department of State, The Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards scholarships to graduating seniors, graduate students, young professionals, and artists selected through a national, merit-based competition for study and research abroad. It is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide. Grants are awarded on the basis of a statement of grant purpose, support from the host country and references. Academic fields include the social sciences, humanities and the sciences. The Program emphasizes leadership development. Approximately 1,500 scholarships are awarded each year for study in over 150 countries.
“It’s really a special honor to receive a Fulbright grant,” says Texas A&M Fulbright Program Advisor Kyle Mox. “Mr. Schneider’s achievement is the sort that puts our academic programs in the national spotlight. Just as important, he now has the opportunity to help preserve an important piece of our cultural legacy for future generations.”
Nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010, the eight churches are outstanding examples of building structures and architectural design that illustrate a significant era of human history.
“The wooden churches in western Ukraine are unique architectural structures incorporating Byzantine art with local wood building traditions,” says Schneider. “Though extensive interest exists with the local people and academia for the preservation of these churches, international interest is still lacking.”
Schneider said he’ll work with professors at Lviv Polytechnic National University to develop a preservation plan aimed at drawing local and international attention to the churches while promoting local industry and tourism.
Conducting such a large-scale project in a foreign country and culture is no small task. Though Schneider has been learning the Ukrainian language from a tutor and online classes, his first month in Ukraine, he said, will be spent on intensive language training. Also, during his first four months, Schneider will research Ukrainian preservation laws and work to develop contacts among the nation’s preservation organizations, government agencies and religious organizations that worship at the churches. His final six months in the field will be spent developing a preservation plan for the churches that addresses issues at the building, city and regional levels. (A full slide-show of three of the churches can be viewed here).
Schneider is one of two Texas A&M students to receive a Fulbright grant for the 2011-2012 academic year. The other student, Ana Monzón, a 2010 graduate in political science, will be traveling to Brazil to study international agribusiness and Brazil’s unique approach to the global agro-food sector. Other recent recipients include nuclear engineering undergraduate Kristina Yancey (Switzerland) in 2010-2011 and entomology graduate student Michelle Sanford (Thailand) in 2008-2009.
The application cycle for Fulbright Grants for the 2012-2013 cycle is currently underway. Students who are considering applying for the Fulbright can learn more about the program at http://us.fulbrightonline.org and http://fulbright.tamu.edu. Students about to begin an application should contact Mr. Kyle Mox, Fulbright Program Advisor and National Fellowships Coordinator at (979) 845-1957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.