Five Tech Students Earn Fulbrights

Aaron Bivins, Karisma Gupta, Anne Lashinsky, Dillon Roseen, and Varun Yarabarla will represent Tech in various countries doing research and teaching English.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers research, study, and teaching opportunities in more than 140 countries to recent college graduates and graduate students. This year, five Yellow Jackets are among those selected for these prestigious opportunities.

Tech’s recipients span the majors of civil engineering, biomedical engineering, business administration, international affairs, and economics.

Aaron Bivins

Aaron Bivins, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in civil engineering, will use his Fulbright grant in Nagpur, India, working with other scientists to study a community that is building infrastructure to provide continuous running water to 2.5 million residents. 

For nine months, Bivins will work with India’s National Environmental Engineering Research Institute to collect data, process water samples, and examine the impact of intermittent water supply on the health of users.

“The transition of the Nagpur water supply from intermittent to continuous is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to document the impacts of intermittent supply through a natural experiment,” Bivins said.  

Bivins is in his third year of doctoral work with Assistant Professor Joe Brown, who also has several ongoing projects in India. The country is ripe for their work, Bivins said: Every major city in India is served by an intermittent supply. 

“The challenges we are currently facing in water and sanitation are going to require global collaboration and capacity building, and exchanges such as those funded by Fulbright are the cornerstone of solving these problems.”

Karisma Gupta

Biomedical engineering major and former Petit Undergraduate Scholar Karisma Gupta plans to study the impact of upper-room ultraviolet germicidal irradiation on India’s tuberculosis health care initiatives. Her project will identify the obstacles that have prevented critical technology from being implemented in India’s hospitals. 

“My experience growing up in a suburban city where equal access to health care was a right rather than a privilege made me cognizant of the health disparities that I witnessed while in Mumbai and other countries,” she said.

Gupta is passionate about public health and medicine and is excited about the opportunity to explore the international applications of medical devices. Gupta’s experience as an intern with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, provided her with the inspiration to study biomedical devices and design. Her undergraduate work at Tech, though, is what led her to find her true passion. 

“My first step towards my passion in public health and medicine was my decision to major in biomedical engineering.”

Anne Lashinsky

Lashinsky, a business administration major with a concentration in operations and supply chain management, will serve as an English teaching assistant in Rostock, Germany, thanks to a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship.

As a German minor who participated in cultural exchanges as an undergraduate, Lashinsky’s work up until this point has well prepared her for the Fulbright experience.

“In this globalized world, mastering the English language is an indispensable component of success,” she said. “I look forward to providing students with the skills they need to have access to opportunities all over the world, and hope to ignite a passion for language learning and cultural understanding.”

As an undergraduate, Lashinsky was a member of Phi Mu and Georgia Tech Hillel, and served as president of Lambda Sigma, a sophomore honors society. She chose to pursue the Fulbright teaching opportunity in part because of the benefits she reaped from previous cultural experiences.

“I’ve experienced firsthand the ameliorating effects of direct cross-cultural interaction,” she said. “I’m excited to offer a window to the American culture, and to increase my own understanding of the German language and people.” 

Dillon Roseen

Economics and international affairs major and pre-law minor Dillon Roseen will use his grant to study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He will earn a master’s of law in law and politics of international security.

“Pursing a master’s degree in the Netherlands is perfect for me since I will be right next to The Hague, nicknamed the ‘Legal Capital of the World’ and the International City of Peace and Justice,” Roseen said.

Roseen graduated from Georgia Tech in December 2015. As an undergraduate, he served as president of the undergraduate Student Government Association, a Georgia Tech Ambassador, interned at the White House, and co-founded the Mental Health Student Coalition. He has published research in the Journal of Politics and International Affairs.

Roseen hopes to eventually work for an international institution, such as the United Nations, as a human rights attorney and advocate. Aside from his research and studies, he’s looking forward to enjoying the bicycle culture of Amsterdam and possibly working for an international organization while he pursues his degree. 

Varun Yarabarla

Varun Yarabarla, a biomedical engineering major, will conduct neurodegenerative brain research in Lausanne, Switzerland, at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). He’ll work with Patrick Aebischer, current president of EPFL and head of its Neurodegenerative Disease Laboratory.

He is looking forward to studying in Switzerland, one of the leading countries in the world for neurodegenerative research.

“My research will focus on studying the neurodegenerative cause of Alzheimer’s disease,” Yarabarla said. “I will focus on carrying out experiments to seek preventative measures to Alzheimer’s disease.”

As an undergraduate at Georgia Tech, Yarabarla conducted more than three years of research. During that period, he realized his passion for the field of neurology. He hopes to become a doctor specializing in that field. 

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program

In 1945, Senator J. William Fulbright, wrote a bill designed to use surplus war property to fund the “promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in fields of education, culture, and science.”  On August 1, 1946, President Truman signed the bill into law and the Fulbright Program was created.

Today, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program for students to study, research, and teach internationally. The program awards about 1,900 grants annually and operates in more than 140 countries. 

The Fulbright Study and Research Grant is the traditional grant awarded to students. Candidates typically design a proposal for a specific country of interest.  Then they create their own projects while working with advisors in foreign universities or other institutes of higher education.

(L-R): Aaron Bivins, Karisma Gupta, Anne Lashinsky, Dillon Roseen, and Varun Yarabarla
(L-R): Aaron Bivins, Karisma Gupta, Anne Lashinsky, Dillon Roseen, and Varun Yarabarla