James Godde, the McGrath Professor of Biology at Monmouth College, will participate in the Fulbright Scholar Program in 2015, teaching and studying in Mauritius, an island nation off the east coast of Africa.
Godde’s Fulbright experience will span from January to July. He will teach bioinformatics at the University of Mauritius, while continuing his research on biodiversity. He typically uses leeches to conduct that research, but will need to find a new source in Mauritius.
“There are no terrestrial leeches there, but they have plenty of mosquitoes,” he said. “So I’ll be investigating the DNA of creatures those mosquitoes have bitten. In general, there aren’t many mammals. There are bats, marine animals, rats, mice and mongooses. There are numerous species of reptiles and birds, including kestrels, parakeets and pink pigeons.”
The experience will be one more stamp in the well-traveled Godde’s passport or, more specifically, one more pin on the world map that hangs in his office in the college’s new Center for Science and Business.
Since the college’s commencement ceremony in May, Godde has been to Puerto Rico, Cuba and India, and he is currently leading a student research trip to Borneo. Almost 50 pins are on the map, and 25 different countries are represented.
“The pins really added up this summer,” said Godde, who, not surprisingly, also serves as Monmouth’s off-campus study coordinator.
“My message to students is ‘Talk to me, we can hook you up,’” he said. “We’d love to get more students involved in off-campus opportunities.”
“The passion James has for student faculty travel is inspiring,” said David Timmerman, dean of the faculty. “Monmouth faculty focus on creating innovative and engaging experiences for students in the classroom, lab and studio, as well as internships and off-campus travel. The list of places that James has traveled with students requires an up to date atlas.”
In applying for the Fulbright, Godde said he “got lots of advice” from two Monmouth colleagues with Fulbright experience – associate dean of academic affairs Bren Tooley (Bulgaria, 2010) and associate professor of history Amy Caldwell (Mozambique, 2011). He joins a growing list of Monmouth faculty and administrators to receive Fulbrights, as current faculty members Farhat Haq and Craig Watson were selected over a decade ago, and former faculty member Heather Brady traveled to Mexico in 2010. Bridget Draxler is currently in the midst of a five-year Fulbright Specialist Program appointment, and Mary Bruce, who retired this year, previously traveled to Russia on a Fulbright award.
“Receiving a Fulbright Scholarship is a great honor – the program is highly competitive,” said Tooley. “It is also life-changing, exhilarating, horizon-expanding and intellectually invigorating.”
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”