SMU Students Win Prestigious Fulbright Fellowships

SMU senior Jordan Johansen and doctoral student Carla Mendiola have received 2011-2012 Fulbright Fellowships to work and study abroad next year.

Johansen, a President’s Scholar who is graduating in May, will use the fellowship to work as an English teaching assistant and study Greek at Cypriot University on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus next year.

The Fulbright will help Mendiola, an SMU Dedman College graduate student in history, fund the research and writing of her dissertation in Canada. She also has received a Government of Canada Doctoral Student Research Award, which will help fund travel for her research. This year, six Government of Canada awards were offered to students who can provide research contributing to a better knowledge of Canada, its relationship with the United States and its international affairs.

Johansen and Mendiola are two of an estimated 1,600 students out of more than 9,000 applicants to be honored with the Fulbright grant, which is made possible by the U.S. Congress and U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.

Fulbright grants allow U.S. and foreign students to travel and work abroad, promoting cultural awareness while achieving educational and vocational advancement.


Jordan-Johansen.ashxJohansen, a DeSoto, Texas, native is pursuing majors in anthropology, history and music, and a minor in human rights. She is president of SMU’s chapter of Amnesty International and has earned numerous awards for academic achievement and community service.

She has studied in Germany and Copenhagen, where she learned about migration, nationalism and international human rights. She also has worked with immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers in this country and in Denmark. Upon returning to the U.S., Johansen plans to pursue a Ph.D. in anthropology and become a professor.

Johansen’s many undergraduate honors include the William K. McElvaney Peace and Justice Award, Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society membership, Henry S. Jacobus Junior Paper Prize in History, Lambda Alpha Iota Chapter Distinguished Achievement Award, Outstanding Senior Student in Anthropology, Stanton Sharp Award for Outstanding Service and Academic Achievement, Robert Stewart Hyer Society membership, University Award for Outstanding Scholar and a nomination for Outstanding Senior Woman.

Carla-Mendiola.ashx Mendiola’s research project is “Metissage Along a North American Borderland: Family and Identity on the Maine-Canada Border” and will examine “metissage” (the mixing of ethnicities) among Franco-American families along the Maine-Canada border during the transformative period of 1880-1930, when the U.S. instituted stricter border and immigration policies.

Mendiola will analyze similarities and differences between the Texas-Mexico border and Maine-Canada border experiences, including that of being a cultural outsider. Her research sources will include typical documents historians rely upon, but also will include interviews with some of her relatives, who are of both French-Canadian and Mexican-American descent.

Mendiola earned her Bachelor’s degree in history from Rice University in 1991 and her Master’s in history from the University of Texas at Austin in 1993. She worked in radio/TV production and as a teacher at San Antonio Community College before beginning SMU’s five-year history Ph.D. program in 2007.

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