Dr Patrick Alexander, College Lecturer in Social Anthropology at St Hugh’s College, has received the 2014 Fulbright-Peabody Award to enable him to research at New York University on one of the most prestigious and selective scholarship programmes operating world-wide.
The US-UK Fulbright Commission is the only bi-lateral, transatlantic scholarship programme, offering awards and summer programmes for study or research in any field, at any accredited US or UK university. The Commission is part of the Fulbright programme conceived by Senator J William Fulbright in the aftermath of World War II to promote leadership, learning and empathy between nations through educational exchange. Award recipients and summer programme participants will be the future leaders for tomorrow and support the ‘special relationship’ between the US and UK.
Patrick has been selected from a strong applicant pool to conduct in-depth, comparative research of aspiration, imagined futures and transitions into early adulthood among final year inner-city school students in New York and London. Patrick will be working alongside renowned academics in the field of Education at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.
Commenting on receiving the award, Dr Alexander said: ‘I am honoured to be involved with the Fulbright Commission and the Peabody Trust in taking this research forward. This promises to be a challenging and enriching project that will shine a light on the complex realities of what it means to “come of age” in the public/state education systems of these two cities. I hope to ask probing questions about the role of schooling as part of developing a real sense of purposeful, meaningful existence for young people in contemporary society. I will be asking students the age-old question: “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, and then digging much deeper into why students hold certain aspirations for the future, where these ideas come from, and what challenges or barriers might prevent these dreams from becoming reality. While we might think that life in school is very similar in the UK and the US, I anticipate that I’ll find some very interesting and unusual differences in how schooling shapes the aspirations and worldviews of young people in these cities.’
The Commission selects scholars through a rigorous application and interview process. In making these awards the Commission looks not only for academic excellence but a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright Programme and a plan to give back to the recipient’s home country upon returning.
Typical grants include a maintenance allowance and a contribution towards tuition fees where applicable. In addition, Fulbright scholars receive a distinctive support and cultural education programme including: visa processing, a comprehensive pre-departure orientation, enrichment opportunities in country, a re-entry session and opportunity to join our alumni networks.
Dr Patrick Alexander is a social anthropologist specialising in the field of education. He is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at Oxford Brookes University, College Lecturer in Anthropology at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, Research Associate at Oxford University’s Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, and Visiting Scholar at New York University.
Follow Patrick on Twitter @patgalexander
For enquiries contact the Fulbright Communications Office.