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Students earn Fulbright Scholarships

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 35 - June 29, 1995

Three Virginia Tech students have earned Fulbright Scholarships for graduate study abroad, and a fourth has been named an alternate.

Dan Stuver, a major in architecture from Windber, Pa., will study architecture and urban design at the Berlagbe Institute in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. His chief interest is the design of high-quality housing for low-income families.

Dennis Patrick Rodgers of Annandale, who received his bachelor's degree this spring in international studies and French, will spend the next academic year studying 20th century French literature and the way in which culture and literature are interconnected. He will then begin doctoral studies in French at Indiana University.

Eric Flint, a doctoral student in engineering from Alexandria, is conducting joint research between the Center for Intelligent Material Systems and Structures at Virginia Tech, the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fur Luft und Raumfahrt (DLR), and the Institute of Structural Mechanics in Braunschweig. He is being hosted by the Technical University of Braunschweig.

Kevin Simon, a doctoral student in biology from Detroit, is the alternate for a Fulbright position. He has been invited by Janine Gibert, the director of the Groundwater Hydrobiology and Ecology Laboratory (HBES) at the Universite Claude Bernard in Lyon, France, to collaborate in their research on groundwater systems.

Stuver will be involved in design and research projects during his year in the Netherlands. Design projects will range from detailed design of public housing to master-planning precincts of Dutch cities. He will do independent research "into the cultural and political forces that promote public housing and public institutions. There is much to be learned from the high standard of living expressed in the form of public space" in the Netherlands, he says. He points out that the Dutch have resisted "the common tendency toward class distinction in housing." He plans to formulate undergraduate courses in architecture from his research.

Rodgers has been studying French for seven years, beginning in high school. His goal is to teach French at the college level. He has already studied at the University of Angers through the International Student Exchange Program, and taught English conversation in a French middle school. As he continues his studies, he wants to examine post-war French feminist authors and how their writings affected society and continue to play a role in forming social consciousness, particularly the writings of Simone de Beauvoir. He also wants to study how the feminist movement evolved in France and its relation to French literature.

Flint's work will address the placement of actuators in truss-like structures--such as in satellite frames and their solar arrays and antenna booms, and in large buildings such as stadiums and hotel lobbies--to control vibration and detect wear. The same controls and detectors could be used in bridges. He says that how much power such actuators will require, and the incorporation of the power supplies into the design, has not been studied. "Another important aspect of this work will be the development of control techniques and actuators that are capable of local autonomous control, much like a reflex action in the human body," Flint says. The work he will be doing "will advance the state of the art in smart system technology by incorporating electrical power supply considerations into the placement of actuators and the design of control algorithms."

Braunschweig has a well-established program of theoretical development verified by experimental results, and the laboratory space to build and test space truss structures so that it will be possible to test an actuator-behavior predictive code developed at Virginia Tech, Flint explains. "I hope to couple the consideration of structure, actuator, control, and power-supply subsystems into a more unified analysis approach."

Simon's doctoral research examines energy, nutrients, and crustacean communities within a groundwater basin and at the points of surface water entry and exit. He says that we all rely on clean groundwater for daily use, yet groundwater ecosystems also harbor diverse biological communities that are poorly understood. "No extensive ecosystem studies of groundwater basins have been conducted in North America," he says. But "researchers in Western Europe have recognized the importance of groundwater habitats in large-scale ecological systems, and have extensively studied the structure and function of groundwater ecosystems, the connection to other ecosystems, and their response to pollution." In addition to the invitation to study at the university in Lyon, he has been invited to the lab of Dan Danielopol, an eminent groundwater biologist in Austria.

"This year's success represents a record number of students from Virginia Tech, and comes despite funding cuts for the grants," says Arnold Schuetz, director of the Fulbright scholarship program. Nine students state-wide received Fulbright scholarships.