CU-Boulder Fulbright scholars

The 2013 University of Colorado students who have received Fulbright offers and their destination countries are: Ulyana Horodyskyj, Nepal; Renee Payne, Brazil; Elise Pizzi, China; Sean Planchard, Spain; Ian Rowen, Taiwan; Amelia Schubert, China; Eric Simley, Denmark; Levin Sliker, Italy; Marin Toscano, China; Andrea Watson, Chile; Claire Waugh, Spain; and Jennifer Wilkening, India.

Twelve University of Colorado students will be dispatched throughout the world with prestigious Fulbright awards next school year, with study topics ranging from robotic colonoscopy equipment to determining the accuracy of wind measurements near turbines.

It's a banner year for the Boulder campus, with a dozen Fulbright awards -- the most ever received by students at the school in a single year.

The Fulbright educational exchange program began in 1946 as a way to promote peace and mutual understanding between the United States and foreign countries.

Fulbright scholar Marin Toscano will be traveling to China to study changing food industries, conducting research in Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan. While in America there is a growing interest in eating food that is local and organic, she said, the reverse is true in China, where the poor eat local food because it's cheaper.

She'll first enroll in an intensive, advanced Mandarin language program to build her scientific research vocabulary and live with a native Mandarin speaker.

"I feel really blessed that I get to go study something that I'm so passionate about: high-quality food and the culture around food," said Toscano, who studied international affairs while at CU.

Since 1978, 141 students from the Boulder campus have received Fulbright grant offers, according to the Office of International Education.

Other proposals include research on the changing state of the Himalayan glacial lakes and clean energy development in Chile.

Ian Rowen, a doctoral candidate in geography, will be studying tourism between China and Taiwan, after decades of tensions. About 1 million Chinese tourists visit Taiwan every year, with popular sites including the National Palace Museum, which has nearly 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese artifacts and artwork, and Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan's largest body of water.

While tourism is typically seen as a way to promote peace and cultural understanding, he said, that doesn't seem to be the case between China and Taiwan. The Chinese -- in the dispute over sovereignty -- have threatened to cut off tourism to Taiwan.

Prior to his Fulbright project, Rowen will be conducting research through the National Science Foundation to understand how the Chinese prepare for travel to Taiwan and what they learn about Taiwan when they are in grade school.

Jennifer Wilkening, a doctoral candidate at CU in ecology and evolutionary biology, will be traveling to India to study whether the Royle's pika is a climate change indicator.

She has been studying pikas in the United States -- where there are two species -- for the last eight years. The small mammals live in alpine environments and are sensitive to changes in temperature, she said. Asia has at least 25 pika species, though there's little research about them, Wilkening said.

Of the dozen Fulbright recipients, three have been offered grants to teach English through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship program.

Chancellor Phil DiStefano said the participation of students and alumni in the Fulbright program is a source of pride for CU.

"Not only do our fine participants bring prestige to CU-Boulder, but they also bring social, scholarly and scientific advancement to the world," DiStefano said in a statement.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or anasb@dailycamera.com.