University of Leicester welcomes talent from American academia

Posted by am74 at Jul 05, 2012 01:05 PM |
A professional soccer player and a noted sociologist join the University this year as part of the Fulbright scholarship programme

The University of Leicester has been selected to participate in one of the most prestigious academic programmes in the world.

The University will open its doors to two Fulbright scholars this year, including a professional soccer player who will be studying cancer chemistry in the Department of Biochemistry, and a noted sociologist who will carry out research and teaching in the Department of Sociology.

The Fulbright scholarship scheme is a prestigious academic awards programme that provides funding for students, scholars, teachers and professionals to study or work abroad for one year, in order to promote cultural exchange and closer ties with the United States.

As part of the Fulbright scholarship programme this year, the University of Leicester welcomes postgraduate student and professional soccer player Zak Boggs, who will study potential cancer treatments under the supervision of Professor Ian Eperon of the Department of Biochemistry. Boggs plays for the New England Revolution team in the USA’s Major League Soccer tournament, and has collected a number of awards for his voluntary work in children’s hospitals.

Professor Gayle Kaufman joins the Department of Sociology, where she will undertake research on paternity leave and work-family strategies.

Professor Douglas Tallack, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) of the University of Leicester, said:  “As one might expect from someone who is a Professor of American Studies and has a great admiration for the Fulbright Commission, I am very pleased indeed that the first postgraduate student and the first post-doctoral scholar have arrived under this new partnership scheme.
“I am sure that our two American visitors will have an enjoyable and productive year and the University looks forward to continuing this Anglo-American cooperation.”

The Fulbright Program was founded by United States Senator J William Fulbright in 1946, with the aim of increasing cross-cultural understanding by funding educational exchanges. Under the scheme American scholars, students, artists and professionals travel abroad to work or study in universities all over the world, whilst foreign students or scholars spend a year in the USA.

The scholarships are highly competitive and prestigious - forty-three Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes, and seventy-eight have won Pulitzer Prizes. Around 8,000 candidates are selected each year on the basis of individual merit.

Zak Boggs studied biology and biomedical sciences at the University of South Florida as part of a long-term ambition to study and treat cancer. He has volunteered at several cancer hospitals in America both helping out with patients and working in the labs. He is also a professional football player and was named Major League Soccer’s ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ in 2011, in recognition of his voluntary cancer research work at Children’s Hospital Boston.

Boggs will work with Professor Ian Eperon of the University of Leicester's Department of Biochemistry, studying cancer chemistry and potential cancer treatments.

Professor Eperon said: “Zak Boggs is an extraordinary and very talented person, with an impressive breadth of skills and interests. I hope he will enjoy the research he will do here on the regulation of RNA splicing in cancer, and I am sure that we will learn much from him. Possibly his greatest challenge will be to persuade me that football is interesting for anybody apart from the players.”

Professor Gayle Kaufman is currently the Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology at Davidson College, North Carolina. She has studied sociology at both Cornell and Brown universities in the United States, and her research interests focus on family and gender. As well as conducting her research on British fathers' experiences of paternity leave, she will teach a third year course on Gender, Work and Family in the Department of Sociology during her stay in Leicester.

Professor Ellen Annandale, her sponsor in the Department of Sociology, said: “We are delighted that Dr Kaufman will be joining us. Her research interests fit well with those of the Department and we are very much looking forward to collaborating with her during her stay.”


For more information, please contact Professor Douglas Tallack, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) at or on 0116 252 2841.


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