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Maggie Bliss, C’16, receives Fulbright Research Grant

Maggie Bliss, C’16, has received a Fulbright Research Grant for study in Germany in 2016-17. Her research will focus on the field of animal personality. Specifically, Maggie will study the social factors that lead towards development and maintenance of personalities in a wild bird population of Bavaria. She will be conducting research under the guidance of Dr. Niels Dingemanse, the head of the Evolutionary Ecology of Variation Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and Associate Professor of Behavioral Ecology at the Ludwig Maximialians University of Munich. Maggie said that she was “literally speechless” when she received the notification of her award, and she is excited to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Dingemanse calling him a “thought-provoking scientist.”

Maggie is an Ecology and Biodiversity major who has been engaged in research for nearly two years at Sewanee working on the ecology and behavior of lungless salamanders with Dr. Kristen Cecala. Maggie has published two articles resulting from her research at Sewanee with another in preparation for submission. She also participated as a student researcher in the National Science Foundation funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of Oklahoma. Maggie’s proposal to study animal personalities arose from her first research project at Sewanee that she has pursued through additional coursework in behavioral ecology with Dr. Katie McGhee and an REU opportunity working with Dr. Barney Luttbeg.

Maggie is excited about living in Germany for a year and plans to work on her command of the German language by listening to podcasts in German. She is hopeful that this experience will launch her entry into a doctoral program at the end of her Fulbright experience. “I think this experience will be pivotal, and I can't believe that it’s becoming a reality.”

The Fulbright Program was founded in 1946 as a flagship international educational exchange program. Today, the Fulbright Program offers research, study, and teaching opportunities in over 160 countries and provides awards for approximately 8000 scholars annually. Selection for awards is based on the quality and feasibility of the proposal, academic and personal qualifications, and language preparation.