Fund your PhD in another country

Did you know that you could get full funding to complete a PhD in a foreign country?

The website might help you locate one in your area of interest. For my many of my friends that would be education or architecture and built environment.

You can also search on EURAXESS Jobs to find jobs and fellowships, which can include funding to complete PhDs.

Trend Shifters and Hip Young Urbanites

Donald Roman NYT feature

Fabiola and Donald Roman, as featured in the New York Time real estate section.

Times are changing.  Demographers tell us that younger set is shirking automobile ownership and moving closer into American cities.

I’m proud to say that one of my former Hampton University architecture students, Donald Roman, is among them.  He and his  wife, Fabiloa, recently chose a condo in Brooklyn over the now-faded suburban dream.  And, the New York Times just celebrated their accomplishment with a feature story.

If I recall correctly, Donald was never a fan of the car.

I’m happy to say that the heavy urban design emphasis of our architecture degree program served to strengthen his understanding of the benefits of population density and walkable city design.

I’m immensely proud that Donald and Fabiloa, who met in an Upward Bound program when they were in high school, planned well and chose carefully.  They overcame tremendous odds to become homeowners under the age of 30.  And, they had the good sense to recognize that living in a densely settled area means shorter commutes and quick access to a huge range of services.

During his time at Hampton University, Donald travelled with me to Tanzania on the 2005 Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad program I conducted.  It was a true joy to have Donald among the 23 American students and 65 Tanzanian students on the program.  He was immensely popular with the entire group and his soft-spoken but optimistic spirit uplifted our group every day.

Our 2005 Fulbright-Hays group in Tanzania.

Our 2005 Fulbright-Hays group in Tanzania.

Donald also made a big difference in my life when he introduced me to Malcolm Gladwell.  He even handed me a copy of The Tipping Point as we were leaving Sunset Beach on our last day in East Africa.

The Tipping Point is about “how little things can make a big difference.”  Interestingly, the NYT feature ends with a quote from Fabi about little things that make a big difference in one’s quality of life (like a dishwasher — and I totally agree!!!).

Thanks, Donald, for sharing with me your reflections on Gladwell’s ideas when we were beginning our trek home.   Your insights got me interested enough to invest  time in cracking the cover, and I had almost finished reading the book by the time my plane landed in Norfolk.

Since then, I’ve read each of Gladwell’s new releases cover to cover.  A new one, about David and Goliath, just hit the shelves and beacons me to read.

There are interesting TED talks by Gladwell on David and Goliath and “choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce” to help get you started if you haven’t yet cracked the mystic of Gladwell’s storytelling ability… or if you just want to have some fun learning about the break through discovery of vegetable chunks.

Making the Mark as an Enterprise Rose Fellow

Mark (to the far left) with community members from Boston.

Mark Matel (to the far left) with community activists in Boston.

Thanks to a Facebook post by my (awesome) former student, Elbert Whitfield, I just discovered an article titled Enterprise Rose Fellowship Redefines Community Design at NeighborWorks Organizations, which features former student Mark Matel.

I’ve worked with many extraordinary students at Hampton University, like Elbert and Mark.

Today, I’m boasting of Mark Paulo Ramos Matel’ success.  I had the honor of teaching Mark in architectural design studios, study abroad, and environmental sustainability courses while he was working toward his Master of Architecture degree at HU.

Mark Matel (right) with fellow student Leon Peters presenting a second year design project at Hamtpon University.

Mark Matel (right) with fellow student Leon Peters presenting a second year design project at Hamtpon University.

Mark was an ideal candidate for the Enterprise Rose Fellowship, which the article explains is “a highly competitive and innovative program that places some of the nation’s finest early career architects in underserved communities across the country to team up with community development host organizations.”

Mark is intrinsically motivated to succeed, to help people, and to spearhead new initiatives.  His energy level, work ethic, creativity, self-direction, and ability to collaborate effectively were unparalleled among the students I have encountered in my 15 years of university-level teaching.

Mark was a major player in the formation of our department’s Studio Culture Policy and he represented our department impressively at the local and state level.

An exhibition that Mark and his colleagues Brandon Clarke, Smitty Lynch, coordinated along with other members of our spring break trip to Prague.

An exhibition that Mark and his colleagues Brandon Clarke, Smitty Lynch, coordinated along with other members of our spring break trip to Prague.

He is also a highly skilled designer, as is evidenced in design awards from Auburn and Hampton Universities.

Mark earned a NAAB-accredited degree from Hampton University – a program emphasizes urban planning as well as architectural design – and he then earned a design-build degree from Auburn University to boot.

To interview for the Enterprise Rose Fellowship, he went to Boston along with the two other candidates (both from top Ivy league schools).  After a rigorous multi-day interview, representatives from the community and the fellowship program voted, and then wholeheartedly extended the three-year fellowship to Mark.

During his time at HU, Mark’s research regarding water systems in the Philippines, and his work with the Virginia AIA’s Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA) program, were particularly relevant in preparing him for his work as an Enterprise Rose Fellow.

Mark sketching in Prague.

Mark sketching in Prague.

Marks’ activities all had an underlying theme of social activism related to the built environment.  He has always been able to think and work at multiple scales and with complex, inter-related issues.  His architectural studies enhanced these abilities.

Our department nominated Mark to represent Hampton University as part of Virginia AIA’s ELA program and his work with the organization exceeded our expectations.  The focus of the ELA program that year was on community revitalization and leadership.  Mark was highly engaged in his cohort’s project and he even defined the program for the subsequent year’s cohort.  (He identified specific conditions that needed to be addressed in Norfolk, Virginia and he helped get the new ELA group involved in fostering change where he knew it was needed.)

In his classes and teaching assistance-ships at Hampton University, Mark reflected a high level of engagement as well as what Daniel Goleman calls “emotional intelligence.”  Mark has the ability to share knowledge and to teach others techniques and strategies for improving themselves and their environments.

While he was at Hampton University, Mark was a very important part of defining a positive, learning culture within the academic context, as well as in the professional context (at the local and state levels) and in the larger community.

I couldn’t be prouder of Mark and all his many varied accomplishments.

You can see more of our trip to Prague in my archives.  My own presentation boards from Prague are also available for viewing.

From Sustainability to Singapore

Learning together at the Holley Tree Inn.

Learning together at the Holly Tree Inn.

Every Tuesday, I hike across campus to the  Holly Tree Inn, Hampton University’s faculty restaurant, to share lunch with any professor who wants to share ideas over lunch.  At the start of the school year, I issued a very informal invitation to all faculty during the sustainability sessions my colleagues and I delivered to our colleagues at HU.  As a result, most of the Tuesday conversations focus on environmental sustainability.

Dr. Ralph Charlton and I graduated together from William and Mary's School of Education with PhD's in Educational Policy, PLanning and Leadership.

Dr. Ralph Charlton and I graduated together from William and Mary’s School of Education with PhD’s in Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership.

I’ve always enjoyed sharing ideas at the Holley Tree.  My first experiences were as a part-time professor and I enjoyed them so much that I decided to join the HU faculty full-time.  After the studio class I co-taught in 1999-2000, I’d walk over to the Holly Tree with the rest of the department faculty and we’d reflect on events and goals of the department.  Unfortunately, we haven’t been doing much of this lately (it has to be really enjoyable to get people to take time out of their busy schedules… and the cost of buying lunch has increased over the years).

Nevertheless, I was inspired by the vast amount of learning that I observed (and was part of) in the staff canteens at DIT last year.  So I made the effort to replicate DIT’s model–which I saw as a way to create new knowledge and integrate learning across the campus.

So far this year, I’ve enjoyed sharing ideas with 2-4  people at each Tuesday’s lunch.   I’ve learned a tremendous amount in these conversations.

At the Holley Tree, I got to meet some people I'd normally not bump into.

At the Holley Tree last week, I got to meet some people I’d normally not bump into.

Last week, I dined with one HU professor, one HU administrative assistant, and a visiting professor from Singapore.  Our conversation focused on cultural similarities and differences and the opportunities that international exchange offers.

We didn’t stick exclusively to sustainability in our discussion this week, although we usually do.  Much of our conversation focused on cultural expectation and higher education policy.  In this realm, I learned that Singapore makes a big investment in reaching out the rest of the world.  It provides funding for its faculty members to travel internationally to learn new things and connect to scholars elsewhere.  (A few years back, I met a pre-K school leader from Singapore who had received funding to travel through the US for several weeks, on a similar program also funded by the national government in Singapore).

The folks I ate with last Tuesday were experts in sports management and in teaching college students about that topic.

Incidentally, the Holly Tree is a bit of an icon.  Rosa Parks worked here for a brief time–not so very long ago.

Rome-Again Rome-Again Jiggity-Jig

I hopped into a cab at 4:30 this morning, headed for Rome.  I’ve been invited to spend a week here as a “Scholar in Residence” for the University of Oregon’s summer study abroad program.

I arrived in the city, moved into a spacious apartment at Iowa State’s academic center in Rome, lunched with Prof. Daisy Williams, and pulled together a presentation for tomorrow.  Now, off to see some sights….

Discovering Uzes, France

I’d never been to Uzes, France even though some of my Hampton University architecture students had.  Uzes is home of the famous urbanist, Leon Krier, though we didn’t get to meet him there this year.  We often use his book, The Architecture of Community, in my Urban Theory class.

Visiting Uzes made for a wonderful day of learning and exploring.  I even wrapped with two decent sketches of my own.

American Students: Want to Become a Fulbright?

The Fulbright Student program is now taking applications!

Click here to get started on your application.

Amanda Bernhard explains why and how she became a Fulbright student.

My colleague Amanda Bernhard is in Ireland this year on the Fulbright Student program. She is studying Irish Language.

Expand Your World

US State Department video “International Education Takes You Places.”.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on International Education.

The U.S. Department of State says “studying abroad changes lives” and “takes you places.”

Hillary Clinton says international exchange is the best form of diplomacy we have.

It has certainly changed mine… and always for the better!



My US friends who want to find an international exchange program can visit  My Irish friends interested in studying in the US can get information from Fulbright Ireland.

Places I’ve travelled as an official representative of the US:

(1994) Virginia, USA > Switzerland

(2005) Virginia, USA > Tanzania

(2012) Virginia, USA > Ireland

Official study abroad programs I’ve lead for students:

Virginia, USA > Italy

Virginia, USA > Tanzania

Virginia, USA > Tunisia

Virginia, USA > Czech Republic

Virginia, USA > Spain

Virginia, USA > South Africa

Virginia, USA > France
“Where will international education take you?”