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CMU student earns Fulbright Grant

Alyssa Shepard will continue cancer research in U.K.

Contact: Curt Smith


​​Central Michigan University senior Alyssa Shepard has been awarded a Fulbright Study/Research Grant for a graduate degree at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. She is the sixth CMU student to accept a Fulbright and third to receive the nationally competitive research/study grant.

The Holland native joins one of the premiere cancer research programs in the world, exploring cancer cell molecular biology at the University of Leicester. Shepard will be investigating ways to increase the accuracy and sensitivity of breast cancer detection methods.

"Contributing to cancer treatment is ultimately what I want to do," she said. "My mother is a cancer survivor and that's partly due to progression in detection and treatment options."

Shepard, a Centralis Scholar, has been participating in research under the guidance of CMU biologist Michelle Steinhilb, and last summer she contributed to research at the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids. Using her CMU experiences, new collaborations and with the shared goal to cure cancer, she also hopes to help foster research partnerships between the United States and the U.K.​

​"I think CMU students have the potential to be more competitive than students at larger schools. We have the opportunities, we just need to believe in ourselves and reach higher."

CMU student Alyssa S​hepard​​​
"It has always been my goal to study abroad for an extended period, and though I have made trips to the U.K. I have never been in a research program like this," she said. "I'm looking forward to pushing myself outside my comfort zone and experiencing something new."

In addition to dual majors in biochemistry and music, Shepard also has been actively involved in undergraduate research and related preprofessional activities. She serves as the Honors Program Philanthropic Society president and Honors Platform co-editor in addition to being a concert saxophonist. Shepard's experiences at CMU have helped to chart her new path, and she hopes that more students seek opportunities such as the Fulbright grant.

"I think CMU students have the potential to be more competitive than students at larger schools," she said. "We have the opportunities, we just need to believe in ourselves and reach higher."

About the Fulbright Program

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. Fulbright U.S. student alumni populate a range of professions and include ambassadors, members of Congress, judges, heads of corporations, university presidents, journalists, artists, professors and teachers.

Fulbright recipients are among over 50,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education.

Students can learn more information about the Fulbright Program and apply for the 2017-18 grants through CMU's National Scholarship Program


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