Tyler Fleming ’12, a recent graduate of the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Grant to teach English in Vietnam for 10 months starting after orientation and training in August.
Fleming, who was notified of his selection for the prestigious program May 19, is the second student from PhilaU to receive a Fulbright grant in the last three years, following Malcolm Ingram ’10, who studied in Argentina.
When he got word on Friday confirming his selection, Fleming said, “As soon as I hung up the phone I was jumping off the walls in my room. I was ecstatic—really amazed.”
The Fulbright program, which began in 1946, offers a select group of high-achieving students around the globe the opportunity to study and teach in a foreign country. Fleming was one of fewer than 15 students nationwide chosen for the Fulbright program in Vietnam.
At PhilaU, Fleming was a tutor in the Learning & Advising Center and a research assistant for Jeff Ashley, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry. Fleming collaborated with Ashley on a research project studying the possible carcinogenic effects of tobacco residue, also called third-hand smoke, and his work will be published in August in the International Journal of Environmental Assessment and Monitoring.
Fleming has presented his research on numerous occasions, including twice at the Northeast Regional Honors Conference. He also won an award at the annual conference of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, considered to be the premier national conference on environmental chemistry, and a highly selective outstanding chemistry senior award from the Philadelphia chapter of the American Chemical Society.
“Tyler has displayed enormous devotion to scientific research since his freshman year,” Ashley said, describing Fleming as “unwaveringly motivated, perpetually enthusiastic, with an ingrained passion for learning and extending that knowledge at every possible opportunity.”
Fleming, who is from Rochester, N.Y., spent a year studying abroad at the University of Melbourne in Australia, which reinforced his decision to pursue a Fulbright grant. “I realized while I was over there that the opportunity as a student to really immerse yourself in another culture is really rare,” Fleming said. In addition to Australia, he also has traveled through Canada and Europe, but for his Fulbright application he wanted to choose a country that would be very different culturally from the western world.
After narrowing down his choices, Fleming decided on Vietnam because it offered the opportunity to teach English at a university level and would be an interesting place to live and work unlike anywhere he had ever been.