Fulbright Spotlight: Jens Olsen

Jens-OlsonJens Olsen ’10 is an Auggie grad, a Fulbright scholar, and soon will be graduating from the U of M Medical School. Jens did URGO research with Dr. Jennifer Bankers-Fulbright in the biology department, was a member of the honors program, worked at the library, and volunteered at a variety of different places. He was awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Vietnam in 2010.

How did you decide to apply for a Fulbright? What interested you about the program?
I had a family member do a Fulbright and saw it’s value. I’ve always been interested in travel, adventures, and trying new experiences, so being able to do this while doing something positive for those allowing me to see their part of the world was exactly what I wanted to be doing. I had also studied abroad in Vietnam and fallen in love with the nation and its people.

What are some of the most meaningful lessons you learned from your year as a Fulbrighter?
That there are beautiful people everywhere in the world, and that our differences truly are minuscule when compared to that which we share.

How did you change or grow from the experience?
I became a far more independent, confident, thoughtful person. Surviving living alone in a place where the closest known native English speaker was 4 hours away made me grow and mature, and thriving in that environment gave me the confidence to attempt bigger challenges; like becoming a physician.

The Fulbright program is designed to be an inter-cultural exchange. How did you get to know those in your community? How did you learn about your host country and its culture?
Immersion, immersion, immersion.

What are you doing now? What are your plans for the future?
I am graduating with an MD from the University of Minnesota’s School of Medicine and will start my Residency in Emergency Medicine this summer.

What advice would you give to a current Augsburg student who is considering applying to Fulbright?
Go for it. Know that it is a challenging gig. Every Fulbright scholar I know says that they struggled. They had a blast, saw things they never thought they’s see and grew in ways that they never thought they would, but they did struggle. Still I have yet to meet a Fulbright scholar who is not happy to that they went for it.

If you are interested in learning more about the Fulbright Program, URGO will be hosting two information lunches this week:
Thursday, March 26th @ 11:30 in Sverdrup 102
Friday, March 27th @ 12:30 in Lindell 301

If you are unable to attend either lunch, contact urgo@augsburg.edu or stop in at Science 152 for more information.

Summer Research at Mayo – Auggie Experiences

This summer Michelle Grafelman ’15 spent her summer learning and researching at Mayo Clinic.  Below she talks about her summer working at Mayo.

Michelle Grafelman

“This summer, I participated in a research internship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, where I studied biomedical ethics. My primary mentor was the coordinator of the hospital’s Ethics Consult Service. I was tasked with redesigning and reorganizing the database in which all of the ethics consultations within the two Rochester Mayo hospitals are recorded. Specifically, I researched the categories used to define the reason for the consult or the ethical concern or question, in order to make the categories used in Mayo’s database defendable and evidence-based. The ultimate goal of this project was to create a database that could be usable by others, including those at the other Mayo sites.

I had a few projects I worked on in addition to the database project. These projects included a descriptive study of pediatric ethics consultations, a case study regarding organ donation after cardiac death, and the formulation of a study about patients declared brain dead at Mayo Clinic. However, though projects and papers occupied some of my time, much of my work at Mayo was actually just following and learning. In order to do my first and main project, to improve the ethics consultation database, I needed to learn what ethics consultations are all about. I followed my mentor to many consults, meetings, and care conferences. I met and talked with countless nurses, physicians, social workers, and others involved in patient care. I spent the majority of my summer in the hospital, learning about how healthcare is carried out and how ethical problems or concerns arise and are resolved.

From my summer at Mayo, I will have my name on at least one paper, hopefully two. I was able to give several presentations of my work to a variety of audiences, including groups of well-known and highly respected physicians. However, while publications and presentations will be excellent for my resume, the experience I gained is much more valuable than any paper or talk could be. I loved spending my time in the midst of patient care. I got a glimpse of what it would be like to work in a hospital, caring for people and their families. I also gained some excellent contacts. I met, worked with, and shadowed several physicians, all of who provided me with new insights into their lives and work. My experiences affirmed my love of medicine and strengthened my desire to go to medical school.”

We have some smart Auggies…

Hilena Frew

Hilena Frew ’17 is a chemistry and mathematics major at Augsburg. This summer she received funding through the Lindstrom Scholars program to work with Dr. Vivian Feng on the toxicity of gold nanoparticles on bacteria. She has written a blog post for Sustainable Nano about the use of gold nanoparticles in liposuction and why this technology is safer than traditional methods. Read her post here.

Summer Researchers Highlighted in Augsburg Now

Each year almost 80 Augsburg students participate in research and graduate opportunities through the URGO office. This year summer research was featured in Augsburg NowTake a look and see what six of these amazing students were working on this year.


Augsburg is a Top Producer of U.S. Fulbright Students in 2013-2014

Fulbright_StudentProd_200x239The U.S. Department of State recently announced the complete list of colleges and universities that produced the most 2013-2014 Fulbright U.S. Students. The Fulbright Program is the U.S. Government’s flagship international educational exchange program. The success of the top-producing institutions is highlighted in the October 28 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Three of the four student applicants from Augsburg won Fulbright awards for 2013-2014. This is the 4th time that Augsburg is named Top Producer with 17 awardees since 2006.  Dixie Shafer, Director of URGO, said “the goal next year is to double the number of applicants.”

Congratulations Augsburg for being named as a Top Producer of U.S. Fulbright Students!

The Fulbright Competition is administered at Augsburg through the Office of Undergraduate Research and Graduate Opportunity. For a complete list of Fulbright recipients, please visitwww.fulbrightonline.org/us.

Scripps Research Institute Visits Augsburg College

Scripps-Photo-300x227Dr. Dawn Eastmond, Director of Education and Recruitment from the Scipps Research Institute with Augsburg College Students Kirubel Gezehegn (Senior) and Promise Okeke (Junior)

Dr. Eastmond visited Augsburg College on Thursday, October 10, 2013 to recruit students for summer research and graduate school at Scripps Research Institute. Scripps has established a lengthy track record of major contributions to the betterment of health and the human condition. The institute has become internationally recognized for its research into immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, virology, and synthetic vaccine development. It’s an impressive place and the fact that Dr. Eastmond flew in just to spend the day at Augsburg is remarkable.  Dr. Dawn Eastmond met with about 20 students for lunch, visited Dr. Rebekah Dupont’s Calculus Workshop, and met with TRIO/Student Support Services, Directors of Ethnic Student Services, STEM Programs, McNair, URGO and professors in biology (Dr. Matt Beckman), chemistry (Dr. Vivien Feng) and physics (Dr. David Murr and Dr. Ben Stottrup). Dr. Eastmond gave an evening presentation to around 40 students, all wide-eyed with excitement.

Kirubel Gezehegn applied and was accepted to the Scripps Summer Undergraduate Research Program for summer of 2013. He ended up doing research at Hopkins and MIT for the summer instead. Then, Promise Okeke was at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Wisconsin last April and visited Dr. Dawn Eastmond’s table and invited her to Augsburg College.

Experiencing the world: Engage with a community as a Fulbright Scholar

fulbright_spanier-200x300Living and working abroad can be a life-changing experience that reveals new opportunities and enlightens your perspective through engagement with new people and places. For Adam Spanier ’12, the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program provided the challenges and delights of living in a different part of the world.

In the last year, three Auggie alumni have been working abroad through the Fulbright program. One taught English in Ecuador, another is conducting research in Norway, and Spanier is an ETA in Uničov, Czech Republic. He is one of 12 Augsburg alumni who have been awarded Fulbright grants, and Augsburg College is recognized by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright Scholars.

A Fulbright ETA provides assistance to teachers of English and teaches non-native English-speakers while also serving as a cultural ambassador. Depending on the country, ETAs might teach students ranging from early elementary school to the university level. Continue reading “Experiencing the world: Engage with a community as a Fulbright Scholar”

URGO Headlines 2009-2012


URGO Summer Research Conference features student work

Students to conduct summer research at Mayo, Johns Hopkins, and beyond

Biology major Alex Sorum presents winning poster at AAAS international meeting


Katie Edelen: Triple majors, triple awards

Jennifer Oliver, Fulbright Scholar, will teach in Germany

Jeremy Anthony presents at Posters on the Hill

It’s Undergraduate Research Week


A summer of investigation and discovery – URGO researchers

Three Fulbrights and counting

Scholars at the Capitol – David Praska ’10 talks psychology


Emma Sutton, Fulbright Scholar, checks in from Indonesia

Nate Johnson is Rossing Physics Scholar

URGO research presentations

URGO research project focuses on our neighbors

URGO Summer Research Abstracts

Garver receives Goldwater Scholarship

Katie Macaulay is Augsburg second Fulbright Scholar of the year

Emma Sutton is Augsburg’s newest Fulbright Scholar

Augsburg scholars at the Capitol

Fulbright Scholar teaches in Malaysia

Katie Macaulay ’09 didn’t know much about the Fulbright Scholarship program last spring. She had heard about the program, but kind of dismissed it as a realistic possibility.

“I thought it was a scholarship of the Ivy League, I thought it was out of reach,” Macaulay said. “I’m a small town girl from Minnesota.”

But something happened one day last April when Macaulay was studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She hopped on her computer, logged in to Inside Augsburg to check her e-mail and stumbled across the story of how fellow Auggies Ashely Stoffers and Erin Olsen had been awarded Fulbright scholarships. Continue reading “Fulbright Scholar teaches in Malaysia”