Jennie Mathis Alexander, a graduate of the University of Georgia College of Engineering and an academic advisor in the College, is headed to Vietnam this fall after receiving a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award in Environmental Engineering.
Mathis will conduct research at Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh City University of Science as part of a project to evaluate and improve waste management strategies in Ho Chi Minh City.
“I’m committed to and passionate about waste management research on a global scale,” said Mathis. “When we think about the growing problem of plastic in the oceans, we might see what’s happening on the beaches right in front of us but we don’t see the impact on the ocean as a whole. As economies grow in middle-income countries, we need to understand how our actions affect the environment.”
Mathis earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from UGA in 2016. She also received a bachelor’s in Mandarin Chinese and East Asian Literature from UGA in 2010. After working with a private engineering firm where she conducted special inspections on construction sites, she returned to the College of Engineering as an academic advisor.
“I enjoy working in an academic environment and helping students with their challenges. I understand where they’re coming from and what they’re going through to get an engineering degree. I guess you could say I enjoyed school more than I thought I did,” said Mathis.
Mathis is one of more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will conduct research, teach English, and provide expertise abroad for the 2018-2019 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The program is coordinated by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Recipients of Fulbright Awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Fulbright scholars take knowledge and American concepts to different parts of the world and they share their experience with different cultures when they return.
“I love adventure, I love learning new languages and I love learning about different cultures,” said Mathis. “This is a dream come true for me. I can’t believe it’s happening.”