WWU Professors Receive Fulbright Awards to Research and Teach in Hungary this Fall

Bussell will conduct research at the Institute for Materials and Environmental Chemistry of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and Lemm will teach at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), both located in Budapest, Hungary. Bussell and Lemm are married, and will do their Fulbright fellowships at the same time.

The Fulbright Program offers students and scholars across the United States the opportunity to travel abroad to teach, study, conduct research and more. One of the primary goals of the Fulbright Program is to build mutual understanding, work collaboratively, and foster lasting connections between the U.S. and other countries.

Western Washington University Professor of Chemistry Mark Bussell and Professor of Psychology Kristi Lemm have received Fulbright U.S. Scholar Awards to travel abroad to Hungary for four months this fall.

Bussell and Lemm applied independently to their fellowships. Despite the uncertainty on whether they would both receive Fulbright awards, they remained hopeful and aware of the chance that only one of them would be a recipient.

“It was a stressful experience. Were we both going to get it? How were we going to manage if only one got it?” said Bussell.

Fittingly, Bussell and Lemm found out on Valentine’s Day that they both were recipients of the award.

Another main goal of the Fulbright Program is to allow researchers, professors and other professionals to bring back stories, lessons and knowledge from abroad to benefit their work in the U.S.

“Western is supportive of faculty members who get Fulbrights because of that,” said Lemm. “Because the university knows it’s a valuable thing to bring back that experience to the classroom.”

While in Hungary, Bussell will research ways to improve the production of sustainable aviation fuels. Lemm will teach two seminar courses on academic writing skills in English: one for undergraduate psychology majors and one for graduate students.

It was a stressful experience. Were we both going to get it? How were we going to manage if only one got it?

Mark Bussell

WWU Professor of Chemistry

Bussell has taught at Western for 33 years, and Lemm is finishing up her 23rd year. It was Bussell’s suggestion that they both apply for Fulbright awards to Hungary, which Lemm happily agreed to.

“He suggested it, although I didn’t need any arm twisting in terms of wanting to do this,” said Lemm. “But I was very nervous about the application. It’s a challenging award to apply for. There are a lot of things you have to do.”

Bussell and Lemm both explained the importance of, as an American traveling abroad through the program, reflecting and looking at what knowledge, skills, and lessons they can bring to the country they are working and researching in.

“A part of this is you are kind of like a U.S. cultural ambassador. What can you bring culturally?” said Bussell.

Bussell and Lemm both agree that there will be inevitable challenges that lie ahead from traveling for the program – from overcoming language barriers and adapting skills to living in a different culture – but they are excited regardless.

“It’s this opportunity to reflect back on who you are and how you fit in and just trying to represent America in a good way over there,” said Bussell.

“I am looking forward to challenging myself in terms of my teaching,” said Lemm. “I think that the things that I’m going to learn will be helpful for me teaching writing classes back here at Western when I come home as well, and really just thinking about how to structure a writing course for students who come from different cultural backgrounds.”

For more information on the Fulbright Scholar Program, visit fulbrightscholars.org. To learn more about Fulbright opportunities specific to Western, visit global.wwu.edu/fulbright.