The Fulbright Scholarship Program is a collaborative effort between the United States and 155 other countries. A highly competitive program, the Fulbright sends about 1,500 professors and scholars around the world each year to lecture and conduct research.
University of South Dakota assistant professor of political science Eric Jepsen will travel to Kerala, India, during the 2012-2013 school year. Jepsen’s specific grant involves not only researching, but also lecturing following his time spent in India.
“I will be spending nine months in India working on what is as of now a book project on economic development in subnational countries,” Jepsen said.
While Jespsen is in India, his plans include conducting interviews and collecting data from talking to people involved in the business sector of economic development policies in the government.
Jepsen said that along with the guest lectures, he will sit in on some classes that involve Indian relations and the United States Presidential election that will be going on at that time.
During the following spring, Jepsen, along with a local scholar at the University of South Dakota, will teach a class on comparative economic development issues at the graduate level.
Assistant professor of political science Steve Feimer said Jepsen deserves the national recognition.
“He has a balanced blend of common sense, creative thinking and knowledge,” Feimer said. “Add to this his practical experience, resolve and sense of fair-handed treatment of others, you truly have an outstanding professor with a gifted ability to work well with colleagues and students.”
In order to receive the Fulbright Scholarship, Jepsen said he completed a 30-page application that he submitted last August. For the Fulbright Program, students and professors choose from over one hundred countries to travel to that the United States has Fulbright relationships with.
Jepsen is not only a professor at USD, but he’s also the faculty adviser for USD’s Political Science League. Sophomore PSL member Jenny Kelly said Jepsen will be successful during his Fulbright trip.
“Professor Jepsen definitely deserves this opportunity,” Kelly said. “He really enjoys his focus in Indian politics. He’ll be able to bring a new side to the subject and the exposure will enhance (the Indian students’) education.”
Jepsen’s wife and 4-year-old son will also be travelling with him to India. Jepsen said they will rent a villa to live in while they are there.
Jepsen said he never would have qualified for the program if it wasn’t for the support from USD and his fellow professors.
“I feel very lucky to have received the award, and I think a lot of that had to do with the support I got around the department and the wider university,” Jepsen said. “I’ll take some credit for it, absolutely, but I think I’m part of a bigger quality institution here and I think it says good things about USD.”
Reach reporter Cristina Drey at Christina.Drey@usd.edu.