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Das tapped for Fulbright Scholar Grant

Kumer Das, director of Lamar University’s Office of Undergraduate Research and associate professor of statistics, has been selected by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for a prestigious Fulbright International Education Administrator Seminar award to France and Germany this month.

Kumer DasDuring the two week seminar, awardees will learn about the French and German educational systems as well as network with other U.S. and international educators.

According to the IEA Seminar webpage, grantees are expected to return with “enhanced ability to serve and encourage international students and prospective study-abroad students.” Seminar activities will include campus visits with a cross-section of universities and colleges; briefings with faculty and administration, government officials, and leading educational experts at various institutions; and tours of historical and cultural sites.

“Of course I am super excited for this seminar,” Das said. “I am humbled and deeply honored, and I believe I can really bring something important back to Lamar.”

Das said he hopes to make a variety of connections with international faculty and institutions in France in Germany to one day make possible a dual research-study abroad program between these institutions and Lamar.

“When you ask a student what the most life-changing or enriching experience they had in college was, most will say either or both study abroad and undergraduate research,” he said. “I think these two high impact educational practices are incredibly important. Study abroad encourages college students to become global thinkers; it makes students more open-minded, global citizens. Undergraduate research refines student interests and helps students gain applicable skills in their chosen field. Going forward, I hope to see our school able to send students to do undergraduate research programs which take them abroad.”

During the seminar, Das and other IEA scholars will travel to Marseille and Paris in France and Bonne in Germany, visiting labs, institutions – even meeting the French minister of education.

When he returns to LU, Das said he aims to foster a greater student focus on global issues.

“There are many crucial issues facing our world today. Climate change, terrorism, cybersecurity and the global refugee crisis are just a few,” he said. “So how do we make students ready for these challenges? These are undoubtedly complex and culturally sensitive issues, and a one-size fits all approach won’t work. How do we convey this information to students at Lamar, and inspire them to act? I hope to return with many more answers.”

The Fulbright Program, which began in 1946, aims to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, and it is the flagship exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.”

For more information on the Fulbright IEA Seminars, visit