Student is First UT Dallas Undergrad to Win Fulbright

Graduating Political Science Major to Study Dispute Resolution in Morocco

April 28, 2008

Rachel Markowitz is the first undergraduate student from The University of Texas of Dallas to be awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.

Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, the Fulbright Program offers fellowships to graduate students and graduating seniors to study in more than 155 countries.  Last year about 800 U.S. students received the nine-month stipend, which covers such items as flights, books and living expenses.

Markowitz, a McDermott Scholar and political science major from Kansas who graduates this spring, plans to examine how Western models of dispute resolution are being introduced to the traditional tribal culture of Morocco.  To study this fusion of cultures, Markowitz plans to travel extensively across the North African nation to cities and remote villages, and meet with Moroccan officials and tribal councils.

When she is finished with her field work, she will write a thesis about her observations and ideas.  Eventually she plans to pursue a degree in international law with an emphasis on Middle Eastern studies.

She is the daughter of Beth and Dan Markowitz of Overland Park, Kan.  Her McDermott Scholar Award covered all the expenses of her four-year academic education at UT Dallas, including internships, travel and cultural enrichment.  The award was established by Margaret McDermott in 2000 in honor of her husband, Eugene, who was one of the University’s founders.

“With her intelligence, creativity and an openness and curiosity toward other cultures, Rachel truly exemplifies the aspirations of the Fulbright Program,” said Dr. Douglas C. Dow, associate director of Collegium V, which is the University’s honors program.  “Her project is so unique.  I think we’re going to learn a lot about the legal cultures of North Africa from Rachel’s research.”     

Markowitz became interested in dispute resolution after studying Arabic for a semester in Morocco.  There she met with representatives of an international organization called Search for Common Ground, which tries to find culturally appropriate means to deal with conflicts. 

She credits several UT Dallas mentors for encouraging her to pursue the competitive Fulbright Fellowship, including Dr. Dow, her political science professor and thesis adviser, Dr. Marie Chevrier, and Dr. Edward Harpham, associate dean of undergraduate education.

“Everybody at UT Dallas worked hard to give me this opportunity,” said Markowitz.  “There was a lot of paperwork. Forms.  Essays.  Language assessments. Letters of recommendation.  The Office of Undergraduate Education helped me lay the groundwork, told me what I needed to do and helped me narrow my focus.”

The Fulbright is among several competitively awarded post-graduate scholarships won by UT Dallas students.  In recent years, students have received the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, the Marshall Scholarship and the Golden Key Graduate Scholar Award. 

UT Dallas students have also won the National Security Education Program’s David L. Boren Fellowship and a Critical Language Scholarship, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers.

Students interested in learning more about a Fulbright or other distinguished scholarship should contact Dow at dougdow@utdallas.edu or 972-883-4934.

Established in 1946 by Congress, the Fulbright award is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide.


Media Contacts: Meredith Dickenson, (972) 883-2155, meredith.dickenson@utdallas.edu
or Jenni Huffenberger, (972) 883-2155, jennib@utdallas.edu

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Rachel Markowitz
Rachel Markowitz plans to pursue a degree in international law with an emphasis on Middle Eastern studies.

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