Two graduate student affiliates of the Mershon Center are among this year's winners of the prestigious Fulbright-Hays grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Kirsten Hildonen and Ian Johnson, both from the Department of History, were selected to participate in the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad program.

The Fulbright-Hays grant enables the students to engage in full-time dissertation research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies. Only 75 fellowships were awarded out of 320 applications nationwide.

Hildonen will travel to Serbia to focus her research on the practices of everyday life and the fluidity of community relations in the context of violent conflict during the period of German military and political occupation in Belgrade during World War II. She won a 2012 grant from the Mershon Center for her project "Belgrade at War."

Johnson will conduct his research in Russia and explore in depth the secret treaty signed by the Germans and the Soviets that laid the groundwork for a cooperative military program. Johnson describes the program as a wager – an exchange of Soviet space for German technology – upon which World War II would turn.  He won a 2013 Mershon Center grant for his project "The Faustian Pact: Secret German-Soviet Military Cooperation in the Interwar Period."

Gordon Ulmer, Department of Anthropology, also won a Fulbright-Hays grant, and Justin Wilmes, a graduate student in Slavic and East European Studies, was selected as an alternate.

The Fulbright-Hays program provides grants to schools of higher learning to fund individual doctoral students to conduct research in other countries for a six to 12 month time frame. The program is designed to contribute to the development and improvement of the study of modern foreign languages and area studies in the United States.

The range of fellowship awards is between $10,000 and $65,000 with the estimated average size of individual fellowships around $45,000. The total available funds for this year's competition through the U.S. Department of Education were estimated at $3,036,237.

The Office of International Affairs administers the Fulbright-Hays program. Students interested in learning more about how to apply for the grant should contact Joanna Kukielka-Blaser at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.