Five international students who have been awarded Fulbright Scholar grants to study in the United States have enrolled at the University of Bridgeport to earn graduate degrees in academic programs ranging from business management to engineering.
They are expected to graduate between 2018 and 2020.
The five scholars were awarded the prestigious grants under the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. It is part of the Fulbright Program, which since 1946 has provided grants to over 325,400 students, teachers, artists, scientists, and other professionals to study, conduct research, and teach internationally.
University President Neil Salonen welcomed the Fulbright Scholars, saying, “They represent some of the best and brightest talent from around the world. We are proud to welcome them to the UB community, which has a long tradition of celebrating the expertise and talents that students bring to us from more than 40 U.S. states and 80 nations.”
The Fulbright Scholars at UB are:
Samantha Grand Pierre, of Haiti. A former banker, Grand Pierre is earning an MBA with a concentration in International Business from UB’s Ernest C. Trefz School of Business. She previously graduated from the University of Notre Dame d’Haiti with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. Upon graduation from UB in 2018, Grand Pierre, 28, will return to Haiti, where she said she hopes to recruit private investment to her native country.
Mohammad Yahya Nafi, of Afghanistan. A former banker who is earning an MBA in Finance, Nafi, 26, said he asked the Fulbright Program to place him at UB because of its diversity. Upon graduation in 2018, Nafi will return to Afghanistan, where he hopes to work within the Ministry of Finance establishing rural co-operative banking systems. “There is not a single bank in my village and there’s a need for them,” he said. Nafi previously earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Goa University in India.
Seifallah Mejri, of Tunisia. Already a dynamic presence on campus, Mejri recently won the Best Venture Enterprise Award at the CT Business Plan Competition for Clean Phosphates, a venture he is launching at UB’s Student Entrepreneur Center. The company will extract kaolin, used in the production of pharmaceuticals and other products, from phosphate waste. Mejri, 26, is earning a master’s degree in Technology Management. He previously was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the National Higher School of Engineers of Tunis.
Felipe Zapata-Roldan, of Colombia. On track to earn a PhD in Technology Management from UB in 2020, Zapata-Roldan, 34, will resume his duties as a professor at the School of Architecture and Design at Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. He asked the Fulbright program to place him at UB because it is one of only a few U.S. universities that offers a PhD Program in Technology Management and his area of research explores the intersection between innovation, design, and technical management. “Design is a three-step process,” he said. “The third phase is implementing solutions; that requires a lot of technologies.” Zapata-Roldan earned a bachelor’s in Physics Engineering and a master’s in Engineering Management from National University of Colombia.
Doha Sabbagh, of Lebanon. A former bank executive who has bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Finance, Sabbagh, 28, is earning a Master of Science in Global Development and Peace at UB’s College of Public and International Affairs (CPIA). The degree, she said, will help her to direct her career toward the United Nations or another Beirut-based NGO (non-governmental organization), where she would like to focus on economic development. She said she asked the Fulbright Program to place her at CPIA because she was impressed with the “international expertise of its faculty and the school’s unorthodox and unique” approach to teaching economic development and politics.
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