UNT named HSI Fulbright Leader, students and faculty to travel abroad for research

October 12, 2022

By Heather Noel

The University of North Texas is one of 43 Hispanic-Serving Institutions nationwide to be named a Fulbright HSI Leader by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

This is the first time UNT has earned this designation, which is given to HSI universities who have demonstrated noteworthy engagement with Fulbright exchange participants during the 2021-2022 academic year and have promoted Fulbright Program opportunities on campus.

“UNT is one of only 21 Carnegie Tier One research universities designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and we are proud to now be named a HSI Fulbright Leader as well,” UNT President Neal Smatresk says. “The Fulbright Program offers opportunities for our students and faculty to be active citizens in the global community through enriching educational, teaching and research experiences abroad.”

In total, 11 faculty members and students from UNT have earned awards from the Fulbright Program for the 2022-23 awards cycle. Additionally, five faculty members were selected for the Fulbright Specialist Roster and are now eligible to be considered for a Fulbright Specialist Award. See a full list of this year’s Fulbright winners.

Three former students from the College of Music and the College of Merchandising Hospitality and Tourism will be traveling abroad in the next year for research as recipients of the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program Award for 2022-23.

Organist Samuel Gaskin will focus on promoting the importance of improvisation in music pedagogy. As part of his Fulbright award, Gaskin will work toward the Artist’s Diploma at the Conservatoire à rayonnement régional de Versailles in France. Additionally, he will take composition and jazz piano courses at the conservatory while living at the Fondation des États-Unis in the 14ème arrondissement of Paris.

Alexa Torres Skillicorn will study how jazz violin players adapt modern jazz language to the instrument through ethnographic and cognitive research in Poland. Skillicorn will collaborate with researchers at the University of Wrocław as well as with Polish jazz violinists to address gaps in jazz violin pedagogy by exploring the intersections of cultural, technical and visceral elements of jazz violin practice and performance. Skillicorn also is a recipient of The Presser Foundation’s 2021 Graduate Music Award. For that award, she is currently conducting ethnographic research in Belgium including interviews and participant observation at performances and jazz violin lessons.

Megan Kelly will look at the impact social media and government policy have made on ecotourism in the Sub-Antarctic region of Chile. Kelly will conduct interviews with small tourism entrepreneurs and destination managers as well as host communication workshops to instruct these stakeholders on how to change the narrative online and create pro-environmental behaviors in their own social media. The results will provide data and strategies for tourism businesses to build pro-environmental behaviors and communities online to protect their delicate destinations.

Finally, Andrew Torget, an associate professor who specializes in Texas history, migration and American slavery, has earned a U.S. Fulbright Scholar Award. He will travel to Germany in 2023 for a four-month teaching fellowship at the University of Bremen and conduct research on German migration to Texas in the German Emigration Center archives for his forthcoming book about how the rise and fall of 19th century Galveston was key to the development of the American Southwest.