Fulbright award

David Mitchell

The life of a researcher is fraught with peril – the kind of peril that comes from submitting papers to professional journals and getting them rejected, according to David Mitchell, Distinguished Scholar in Gerontology and Professor of Exercise Science and Sport Management.

“Many professors naturally have low expectations,” Mitchell explained. “You submit papers and get rejection letters; you hope to get rejected with the chance to resubmit!”

So imagine Mitchell’s surprise Feb. 25, when he received a letter that started, “On behalf of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, I am pleased to congratulate you on your selection for a Fulbright award to Israel.”

“I was ecstatic,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it!”

Mitchell’s research focuses on the effect of aging on memory, and at the invitation of the dean, he has been invited to help establish a master’s degree in gerontology at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. He will also teach two courses in aging during the spring 2015 semester and mentor junior psychology faculty in the Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences.

“The discipline of gerontology will continue to expand with the new programming implemented at Bar-Ilan,” Mitchell wrote in his Fulbright application. “I know that the experience in Israel will enrich my professional, intellectual and interpersonal development. Finally, my home institution, Kennesaw State University, will benefit from my cross-cultural experience, which should foster opportunities for future faculty and student exchange.”

The Fulbright Scholarship Board is a presidentially appointed 12-member board that is responsible for establishing worldwide policies for the Fulbright Program and for selection of Fulbright recipients.

“As a Fulbright grantee, you will join the ranks of distinguished participants in the program,” Mitchell’s acceptance letter states. “Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, university presidents, journalists, artists, professors and teachers. They have been awarded 43 Nobel Prizes.”

Bar-Ilan University is the fastest-growing institution of higher education in Israel, offering bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. programs on its award-winning campus just outside Tel Aviv and at its six regional colleges across Israel. It also offers the largest in-service teacher training programs in Israel.

Boasting 33,000 students, Bar-Ilan offers more than 8,000 courses in 52 departments taught by nearly 2,000 faculty.

“This is a very prestigious award, and I’m honored to receive it,” Mitchell said. “We have such a wonderful culture here at KSU; I’m interested to see what kind of culture they have there.”

--Jennifer Hafer