FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Chelsea Bihlmeyer is the newest Purdue University Fort Wayne student to receive a Fulbright student scholarship and is the university’s first graduate student to receive the prestigious grant. 
 
Bihlmeyer, a native of Nixa, Missouri, earned her bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. She considers rhetoric and interpersonal communications her particular areas of interest, with leanings towards cultural and critical studies. She received her Master of Arts in communication studies from Purdue Fort Wayne in 2020.

“This award continues a proud tradition at Purdue Fort Wayne,” said Noor O’Neill Borbieva, director of the university’s Office of Major Scholarship Advising and professor of anthropology. “Chelsea is our fifth Fulbright student recipient since Purdue Fort Wayne was formed in 2018. Our success rate is above the national rate, which demonstrates our university supports and nurtures exceptional students, and that studying here opens doors to exciting opportunities for further academic achievement.”

Bihlmeyer decided to attend Purdue Fort Wayne for her graduate work thanks to a graduate school fair. “I was presenting my undergraduate research at the Central States Communication Association Conference in the spring of 2017,” she said. “As a part of the conference, a graduate school fair was taking place and associate professor of media production Art Herbig was promoting the Department of Communication. He convinced me that Purdue Fort Wayne was the best place to continue my work –and he was right!”

Bihlmeyer will travel to Espoo, the second-largest city in Finland, where she will be a visiting scholar in the School of Arts, Design, and Architecture at Aalto University.

When asked why she chose to apply for a Fulbright in Finland, Bihlmeyer replied, “Finland’s institutions of higher education are particularly strong in arts-based research.” Bihlmeyer has been studying that since she came to Purdue Fort Wayne and used the approach for the research that led to her peer-reviewed article, “Fragmented Interpretations” (2021). “I am immensely excited to strengthen my work in this approach during my Fulbright year,” she added.
 
In thinking about her year in Finland, Bihlmeyer also entertains “vague dreams about hikes in Lapland, a visit to nearby Russia, or a weekend in Estonia.” She continued, “The Fulbright Foundation also has fantastic events planned throughout the year. I am particularly looking forward to arrival orientation, just to meet the other scholars in my region.”

After completing the Fulbright, Bihlmeyer hopes to begin doctoral study in arts-based research.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers research, study, and teaching opportunities in over 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students. It is the largest federally funded U.S. exchange program and awards approximately 2,000 grants annually in all fields of study. It is a highly competitive scholarship with an average acceptance rate of 20% across all countries. Bihlmeyer’s fellowship is jointly funded by the Fulbright Finland Foundation and the Finnish National Agency for Education.

For more information on Fulbright and other major scholarships Purdue Fort Wayne students and alumni can apply for, contact Borbieva at 260-481-6266 or borbievn@pfw.edu.

NOTE TO EDITORS: If you're interested in getting in touch with Chelsea for further comments, she can be reached by email at: bihlc01@pfw.edu.

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About Purdue University Fort Wayne

Purdue University Fort Wayne is the largest university in northeast Indiana and is part of the Purdue University system. Purdue Fort Wayne is uniquely positioned to serve the region as a crossroads of intellectual, social, economic, and cultural advancement. Rigorous academics are combined with a focus on student success across prestigious degree programs taught by more than 300 full-time faculty. 8,093 students of diverse ages, ethnicities, and nationalities pursue their education on the nearly 600-acre campus. A majority of the university’s 62,000+ alumni live and work in Indiana contributing significantly to the state’s economy, vitality, and intellectual strength. The university is a member of the Horizon League athletics conference, and fields 16 NCAA Division I sports teams. For more information, visit pfw.edu.

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