SUU professor becomes first woman from the university to win Fulbright Fellowship

Jacqualine Grant made history by being the first woman at Southern Utah University awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award. 

Grant is currently working as an associate professor of geosciences, as well as a museum curator and published scientific illustrator. She will not only be the first woman on faculty to win the award but will also be the first member from the College of Sciences. 

Through the award, Grant will be able to conduct research and teach classes on conservation biology in New Zealand. Specifically, she will work at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand, to further research native plant diversity. 

Grant was initially awarded the honor back in 2019 but could not conduct her work because of the outbreak of COVID-19.

“I received news of the award just months before everything shut down due to COVID-19,” Grant said. “The project’s original date was set to begin in 2021, but my host country, New Zealand, closed its borders to most travelers until the summer of 2022.”

For the past three years, Grant has been working alongside the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah to help raise awareness of culturally significant plants. Throughout her time in New Zealand, Grant intends to conduct similar research by studying plants that are significant to the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, and applying what she learns to the Paiute seed-banking program. 

Winners of the award are decided through their experience and accomplishments in their field, as well as if they demonstrate effective leadership through their work. Grant joins six other current and former SUU faculty members to have won the award, including James Aton, Satyam Moorty, Tod Amon, Jon Smith, Bryce Christensen and Stephen Allen. 

The award’s primary purpose is to help connect citizens of the United States with those in foreign countries in similar positions. Grant views this opportunity as a way to build impactful connections between New Zealand and her home country. 

“It’s a huge and humbling honor to be awarded a Fulbright, and the award comes with a big responsibility because you are expected to represent the people of the United States,” Grant said. 

For more information about the program, visit the Fulbright Scholar Program’s official website.

Story by: Luke McKenzie
Photo Courtesy of SUU