Four local colleges are top producers of Fulbright students

Four local and regional institutions are on lists for producing the most Fulbright students—students who win a Fulbright scholarship to study abroad—in 2017-18.

The four are the State University College at Geneseo, Nazareth College, University of Rochester and Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the highest-ranking school in the area on the various lists was Geneseo, which placed third on the list of schools with master’s degrees as the terminal degree. Geneseo has six Fulbright students studying in Brazil, Vietnam, The Netherlands, Germany and Malaysia.

“This recognition is a tangible indicator of Geneseo’s commitment to inspiring globally aware citizens, as reflected in our college’s mission statement,” said Denise Battles, Geneseo president. “A great deal of praise goes to the faculty and staff on campus who support our students’ efforts to secure nationally competitive Fulbright awards.”

UR actually has the most Fulbright students—10—among schools in the Rochester area, and was tied with six others for 40th on a list of the top research institutions.

The Fulbright program is sponsored by the US Department of State and designed to encourage international exchange of ideas. The Chronicle article also listed schools producing Fulbright scholars, who receive grants to do research or teach in other countries. No local school was listed as producing a Fulbright scholar this year.

Nazareth in Pittsford, which produced three Fulbright students, shared 18th place with four other schools on the list of the top master’s-degree schools.

“Nazareth is proud of our students’ academic commitment to the Fulbright program, and their success is again being rewarded as Nazareth is named a top producer of U.S. Fulbright students,” said Nazareth College President Daan Braveman.

Hobart and William Smith in Geneva has four Fulbright students, sharing 35th place on the list of top bachelor’s-degree schools with 13 others.

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Nazareth gets into analytics game

Nazareth College has introduced a new minor in data analytics, responding to trends in alumni hiring.

The minor, which involves four required courses and two electives, was offered for the first time this fall. Because students don’t have to declare a minor before taking the necessary courses, and because most of the courses also apply to other lines of study, staff aren’t sure how many students are pursuing the new minor yet. They estimate about 10, based on conversations about eligibility.

The idea came about after several math majors who graduated told their former professors at Nazareth that they were being recruited by their employers to be trained in data analytics—basically the field of understanding and translating data so its meaning and trends can be communicated to others. Some seniors were also being asked about their backgrounds in this area when interviewing for jobs.

In late 2016, Poets & Quants for Undergrads suggested data analytics had reached “hottest major” status.

Matt Koetz, chairman of the Nazareth Math Department and program director for analytics, said staff began asking themselves, “Could we do this before they leave? It sounds like something we want to get them ready for.” A team of professors from the areas of business management, math and marketing put together the requirements.

One student, Angela Scherer, a junior from Watertown majoring in both math and finance, seems ideally suited to the minor. Besides having taken several of the required classes already, she is doing an internship with the college’s Institutional Research Department, tracking trends such as the potential clues in high school transcripts that might predict why a Nazareth physical therapy major doesn’t finish the program.

“Even if I don’t become a data analyst, the skills will help me,” Scherer said.  “When people are getting jobs … they kind of expect you to read computer languages.”

Student Angela Scherer and math professor Matt Koetz from Nazareth
Student Angela Scherer and math professor Matt Koetz from Nazareth

School officials believe the minor will appeal not only to math and business majors but also those studying education, public health, and social sciences.

Most of the minor is a compilation of courses that were already on the books at Nazareth: required courses in statistics, Excel, and market research and two electives selected from courses such as mathematical modeling, internships, database management and others. The school is designing an additional required course now that will be offered for the first time in fall 2018: data visualization. That course will teach students how to explain data through animations or other visual forms illustrating the meaning and trends they contain.

“Now with animation, we can show the evolution of information over time.” Koetz said.

Watchers of weather reports might be familiar with data animations that summarize or predict weather movement.

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