North Carolina A&T State University senior, biological engineering student Madeline Keefer will spend nine months studying flood management in the Netherlands thanks to a Fulbright U.S. Student Programs Grant jointly sponsored by the Netherland-America Foundation.
Beginning in August, Keefer will conduct research at the Delft University of Technology in the South Holland Providence of the Netherlands.
Being only the third N.C. A&T student to be awarded a Fulbright grant, Keefer understands the magnitude of receiving the honor.
“The process was pretty long. I submitted my application through the honors program in mid-September 2015, found out I was a semi-finalist in January 2016; then in April that I was a finalist and winner,” she said. “I was extremely excited and rather shocked because it’s a very competitive program but I am very excited and feel fortunate and blessed to be accepted.”
The grant will allow the second generation Aggie to further explore water systems engineering, which is an aspect that she has particular interest. Because her topic is a mixture of civil and biological engineering she’s able to make practical use of her study and classes such as hydrology, fluid mechanics and hydraulics, statics and geographic information systems.
“I’ll be directly applying the skills I learned in those classes in the Netherlands while I do my research,” she said. “I have always wanted to get more of a feel for water systems engineering, which this project directly relates to. Outside of the classroom, that is a part of my major that I haven’t been able to explore in much detail. I’m really interested in helping to protect our land from the power of water, but also working with water and harnessing it and using it to our advantage.”
While Keefer’s research in the Netherlands will undoubtedly open numerous academic doors, she is just as excited about the cultural experience that she hopes to fully immerse herself in. When other study abroad opportunities were presented she says she regretfully passed, but plans to take full advantage of every aspect of her Fulbright journey, including studying Dutch and engaging in as much of the culture as she possibly can.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international, educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It provides grants to study, teach and conduct research for U.S. citizens to go abroad and for non-U.S. citizens to come to the United States. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.