May 18, 2020 Lidwin, Gann, Davis Earn 2020 Fulbright Student Awards

Headshot of Mike Lidwin 2020

In spring 2020, students and an alumna from the College of Architecture and Design received Fulbright U.S. Student Research program awards. The Fulbright Program is the largest U.S. international exchange program that provides opportunities for students to conduct research abroad. Recipients of the Fulbright award are chosen on the basis of academic and professional achievement and their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

Mike Lidwin, a 4th-year student in the School of Architecture, was selected for a Fulbright grant to conduct an independent research study in Milan, Italy.

Lidwin will study the effect of EXPO 2015, a World Expo hosted by the city, on Milan’s urban plan. His research, entitled “An Atlas for Expo 2015,” will include site photography, mappings and drawing of the area, as well as interviews with local residents, leaders and designers.

Lidwin believes that his research will provoke important questions in how cities can leverage temporary exhibitions to shape urban growth and conversations. The timing of the research is particularly advantageous, as Milan will host another international event in 2026, the Milano-Cortina Olympics.

“Researching in Italy will be such an amazing opportunity to combine both my degrees in Architecture and Italian,” Lidwin said, who graduated in May 2020. “Through my time with Freedom by Design in the College of Architecture and Design, I’ve become interested in the collaborative power of architecture and the opportunities for dialogue with communities typically overlooked in planning processes.  I’m looking forward to carrying this sentiment with me to Milan, where I plan to use my grant to elevate and learn from some of the voices in Milan rather than project my own.”

While in Milan, Lidwin will collaborate with IBIDEM City Design Research Platform, an international collaborative of professionals, researchers and academics, while he completes architectural photography and documentation courses at the School of Architecture, Urban Planning, Construction, and Engineering at Il Politecnico di Milano in Milan. He will also continue to read about the work of the late Bernardo Secchi, a pursuit he began in UT’s Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures’ Italian program.

In addition to Lidwin, Amanda Gann, who earned a UT Bachelor of Architecture degree in 2012 and Master of Architecture degree in 2014, received the Fulbright-Nehru Student Research Grant. With this grant, she will be going to India to work alongside urban ecologists and examine the ecological, economic and sociocultural roles of natural systems in the development of urban landscapes.

“It is such an honor to be selected as a Fulbright student and have the opportunity to work alongside esteemed researchers in India to develop innovative strategies for resilient urban expansion,” said Gann.

Additionally, Geghie Alayna Davis, who is a May 2020 graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences’ School of Art with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a minor in entrepreneurship, received a Fulbright award to study at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom and pursue her Master of Arts degree in design. Her thesis will focus on how communication through design can move public sentiment to support bringing modern internet access to rural areas.

“I’m so proud to represent rural Appalachia throughout my studies in the UK and hope to encourage others to push for change in bridging the digital divide in the US,” said Davis.

In 2019-2020, UT’s Graphic Design program joined the College of Architecture and Design in the college’s new School of Design.

Only 2,200 U.S. students are awarded Fulbright awards annually, allowing them to undertake year-long post-graduate advanced research, graduate degrees, arts projects or teaching in one of more than 140 countries around the globe. Since its inception, the Fulbright Program has given more than 390,000 participants the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

The program was created to produce lasting professional and personal connections between the people of the United States and those in other countries.

Fulbright continues to monitor the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Uncertainties over global travel advisories and changes to the academic calendar in various countries have forced postponement of key parts of the U.S. Fulbright Program for the upcoming academic year. Any changes, postponements or cancellations will be communicated to award recipients by their host country.

Watch Chancellor Donde Plowman’s remarks about UT’s 17 Fulbright recipients:

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