Dr. Raji Viswanathan, associate dean of academic affairs and professor of chemistry at Yeshiva University’s Yeshiva College, was recently selected as a Fulbright Specialist. The competitive position will enable her to create new opportunities for collaboration between YU and Israel’s Bar-Ilan University as well as share her own research in computational chemistry with an advanced cadre of Israeli scholars.
The Fulbright Specialist program promotes linkage between American academic and professionals and their counterparts at host institutions overseas. Project activities focus on strengthening and supporting the developmental needs of host institutions abroad and can include short-term lecturing, conducting seminars, teacher training and special conferences of workshops, as well as collaborating on curriculum planning or institutional and faculty development. Each application is peer-reviewed.
“My goal is to initiate faculty and student exchange,” said Viswanathan. “We already have some connection with BIU through our summer science research program, which places talented undergraduates from Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women in one of the state-of-the-art research laboratories of BIU's life science, exact science or engineering faculties.”
She added, “I would like to share the research our students have done to help grow that program on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as create exposure for our faculty and similar opportunities for exchange among them—our students are familiar with universities in Israel, but our faculty haven’t had as much experience with them.”
Viswanathan will visit BIU from May 19-31. In addition to fostering bonds between YU and BIU faculty, she will discuss Yeshiva College’s innovative new undergraduate curriculum and share the curriculum review process that was used to devise it. Viswanathan will also talk about Project START! Science, a student-run initiative at YU that sends undergraduates to public schools in Washington Heights to teach science, and gauge possible student interest in implementing a similar project at BIU. And to enhance her own research in understanding the intermolecular interactions between polypeptides as well as between inorganic surfaces and proteins, Viswanathan will visit BIU labs whose focus overlaps with her work.