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UW-Eau Claire student recipient of Fulbright award

May 18, 2012
Giselle Conde
Giselle Conde
EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student will study at the Nordic Volcanological Center at the University of Iceland for the 2012-13 academic year under the U.S. Student Fulbright program. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Participants are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential.

Giselle Conde, a senior from Eau Claire with a double major in geology and Spanish, will spend nine months in the capital city of Reykjavik working with geochemists at the research center.

"I will be researching the geochemistry of obsidian, or volcanic glass," Conde said. "I will also take graduate geology courses. I'd like to take a course in volcanology and also one in Icelandic language and culture. I've always been very interested in other cultures and Iceland has a very rich history and culture."

Conde's interest in other cultures was one of the keys to her becoming a Fulbright recipient, said Cheryl Lochner-Wright, a study abroad coordinator in UW-Eau Claire's Center for International Education and the Fulbright program adviser who helped Conde with the application process.

"The Fulbright program places a strong emphasis on selecting scholars who will actively engage with people in their host country," Lochner-Wright said. "Giselle has already demonstrated that focus in a variety of settings. With a geology and Spanish double major, she has sought out opportunities both within the U.S. and abroad to immerse herself in different cultural environments."

Conde has been doing research with Dr. Phil Ihinger, professor of geology, since her freshman year. Their research on volcanic glass is being done in collaboration with Dr. Ellery Frahm at the University of Minnesota, and will be used to characterize the trade routes that operated during the development of human civilization throughout the Near East during the last 6000 years. Ihinger said Conde has the ability to focus on the minute details of research while keeping her eye on the big picture.

"I couldn't be more proud of her," Ihinger said. "She's an amazing student to work with. She understands what it takes to do quality research."

The announcement of Conde's Fulbright award brought an end to an intensive application process.

"I started the process last September," Conde said. "I had to design a detailed research project proposal, write a statement of purpose and complete an application."

Conde will study in Iceland from the end of August 2012 through May 2013.

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