Home » Dylan Hutchison - Fulbright Scholar, Research in Poland

Dylan Hutchison - Fulbright Scholar, Research in Poland

Dylan HutchisonI received my BS in Neurobiology in 2016, but completed my honor’s thesis (and a minor) in Chemistry with a strong environmental focus. That thesis and focus paved my way into a Fulbright scholarship research position in Częstochowa, Poland, where I worked on developing a novel environmental biosensor. This environmental project was an evolution of a project I’d been proposing to conduct at the UofA, using skills I developed working within numerous research groups across disciplines as an undergrad. The combustion of coal takes the lion’s share of energy production for the Polish nation and, with irrefragable connections made between this fuel source and risk to the public health, I wanted to redesign some of my UofA biosensor proposals to help create a device to measure the bioavailable fraction of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s) in Poland’s agricultural soils to aid my literal “motherland” (my mother is a Polish immigrant). A Fulbright grant is awarded holistically; in addition to my research, I wanted to re-immerse myself in Polish culture and with its people, and thus there developed and conducted many academic and outreach programs primarily with local high schools (and many others across the country). Furthermore, the grant allowed me to explore my curiosities outside of Poland – including attending the first annual Global Sustainability Technology and Innovation Conference (G-STIC) in Brussels, becoming a mentor for a very bright, talented local high schooler to attend college in the US through EducationUSA, and travelling across the continent – principally to Italy and Portugal. While the professional awards from my Fulbright grant were immense – they’ve evolved myself so far beyond my post-BS self that the Fulbright alum title itself practically substitutes as a MS complete with 4 more publications to my name, I consider the personal growth from the year abroad to have been the greatest boon. No other experience in my life has allowed me to see so much and reflect upon my place in the world, as an American, as an Arizonan, and as a Tucsonan. A Fulbright grant is a rite of passage. We enter one end, bright, ambitious, confident, and emerge the other wiser, more balanced, worldlier and, though more focused, even more open-minded.

Dylan Hutchison