RVCC Receives Honors from Fulbright Program

Monday, February 10, 2020
lauren braun

Raritan Valley Community College has been included on the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2019-2020 Fulbright U.S. Scholars. Each year the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announces the top producing institutions for the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program. It is an exceptional honor for a community college to be included in the lists, which are published annually by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Dr. Lauren H. Braun-Strumfels of Lambertville, RVCC Associate Professor of History, is a recipient of a 2019-2020 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to Italy to research and teach U.S. History and American Studies.

“We are delighted to see that the colleges and universities we are honoring as 2019-2020 Fulbright Top Producing Institutions reflect the geographic and institutional diversity of higher education in the United States,” said Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. “In supporting their faculty and administrators who pursue Fulbright awards, these institutions benefit from new viewpoints from abroad and new international collaborations, which often lead to discoveries and breakthroughs that have a global impact. Fulbright U.S. Scholars benefit professionally throughout their career by expanding the scope and reach of their research, bringing a global perspective to their teaching, and receiving the professional recognition that comes with being named a Fulbright Scholar.”

Dr. Braun-Strumfels, who recently served as Co-Director of the College’s Center for Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship, has been teaching full-time in RVCC’s Humanities, Social Science, Social Work and Education Department since 2010. The RVCC professor is one of over 800 U.S. citizens who are teaching, conducting research, and/or providing expertise abroad for the 2019-2020 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Fulbright award recipients are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.

Later this winter and spring, Dr. Braun-Strumfels will research and lecture at the University of Roma Tre in Italy. Her work is part of a project, “Immigration Restriction in Transnational U.S. History,” which focuses on U.S. immigration restriction and Italy’s role in shaping U.S. policy. The RVCC professor will teach graduate seminars on U.S. foreign policy and immigration history in the University’s Master of Arts program in International Studies. She also will mentor graduate students and advocate for the crucial role that community colleges play in American higher education.

In addition, as part of the Fulbright, the RVCC professor will give public lectures on her upcoming book, tentatively titled Italy in America: The Transnational History of U.S. Immigration Restriction, 1891-1908 (currently under review by the University of Illinois Press). The book sheds new light on the construction of U.S. "gatekeeping" legislation and the enforcement of immigration restriction. Dr. Braun-Strumfels’ book disseminates new evidence on this topic in English for the first time. She is excited about the ways her Fulbright experience will enrich teaching and learning about immigration history from a multinational perspective at RVCC. While in Rome, Dr. Braun-Strumfels will collaborate on a second book that will situate the U.S.-Italian relationship at the turn of the 20th century, a crucial time in the history of immigration "gatekeeping.”

As a result of her project, Dr. Braun-Strumfels hopes to establish an ongoing relationship between Roma Tre and RVCC through curricular and programmatic focus on Italian-American history, culture, and relations, and to invite selected graduates of the Roma Tre M.A. program to teach U.S. history at RVCC on a periodic basis as adjunct faculty.

The Fulbright Program was created to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Over 2,200 U.S. Students and over 900 U.S. college and university faculty and administrators are awarded Fulbright grants annually. In addition, some 4,000 Fulbright Foreign Students and Visiting Scholars come to the United States annually to study, lecture, conduct research, or teach their native language.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given over 390,000 passionate and accomplished students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to important international problems. Fulbright is active in more than 160 countries worldwide and partners with participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States. For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit eca.state.gov/fulbright.

Ranked by WalletHub.com and Niche.com as the #1 community college in New Jersey, Raritan Valley Community College has been serving as an academic and cultural center for Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for over 50 years. The College has been nationally recognized for its service to the community, environmental stewardship, and commitment to diversity. It is home to a Planetarium, Science Education Institute and 3M Observatory; a 1,000-seat Theatre offering professional performances for all ages; and an Honors College for high achieving students.

The College offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates, as well as career training, small business assistance through the Small Business Development Center, and professional development courses. RVCC is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu.



February 10, 2020

Media contact: Donna Stolzer, 908-526-1200, ext. 8383

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