Margaret Weidner, who graduated summa cum laude in 2011 with a degree in accounting and economics, has been awarded a Fulbright-Nehru scholarship to India as a student researcher in economics. Weidner, of Evansville, Ind., is spending 13 months in India studying Hindi and conducting research as part of her Fulbright project, “A Comparative Analysis of Water Management Strategies in the Indian Himalayas.”
“My project compares different small-scale water management strategies used in the Himalayan villages of India,” said Weidner, who worked as an auditor for Ernst & Young after graduation and earned her license as a Certified Public Accountant.
“I will bring together the work of a large economic research institute, the National Council of Applied Economic Research, with the activities of an Indian NGO, Himalaya Seva Sangh. I intend to conduct a rigorous quantitative and qualitative study to compare community-based water management projects and their local impact.”
Weidner’s Fulbright project builds upon research she conducted as a 2009-2010 Winter-Cohen Brueggeman Fellow at Xavier. As a fellow, she conducted a year-long concentrated, independent study under the direction of Brueggeman director James Buchanan. Her project focused on the global water shortage and whether public or private financing is the best path for just distribution.
The research culminated in a seven-week study trip to India. The Brueggeman program differs from traditional study abroad in that each student receives $3,000 for a research project each creates, and they often travel alone to a foreign location to complete it. Students have traveled to Mexico, Kenya, South America, Switzerland and Spain. One drove to the Yukon in northern Canada to learn about Native American Indian culture.
“Through these immersion experiences, the students are changed, and the paths upon which their lives have been set are altered in significant ways,” Buchanan says. “Being a Brueggeman Fellow merely opened the door for Margaret. Her hard work both during her year at the Center and since has earned her the Fulbright.”
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 155 countries.
Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, it has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
Learn more about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the Fulbright website.