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Fulbright winners study overseas

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Sarah Campbell (left) and Julie Ackerman.

Julie Ackerman coaches people on how to face their fears.

Sarah Campbell studies one of Shakespeare’s seminal influences, Welsh literature.

It might seem that these two have little in common other than their Boston University affiliations. Yet Ackerman (CAS’07, GRS’07) and Campbell, a College of Arts & Sciences Writing Program instructor, share an achievement that will define their lives: both have been named Fulbright scholars, chosen by the Fulbright Commission to continue their studies this September in the United Kingdom.

Campbell was awarded a Fulbright Cardiff University Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, given to only one U.S. citizen each year, and Ackerman was awarded a Fulbright U.K. Postgraduate Student scholarship, offered annually to between 8 and 14 U.S. citizens for the first year of master’s or Ph.D. study. The highly selective awards go to U.S. citizens demonstrating academic excellence and whose career objectives benefit from studying in the UK.

Ackerman works with patients in behavioral treatment at McLean Hospital. Her career path to clinical psychology began at BU, where she originally planned to become a philosophy teacher. She found that philosophy and psychology overlap.

“They both talk about emotions and meaning in our lives,” Ackerman says. “Clinical work is the application and philosophy is more about theorizing.”

As a clinical research coordinator in the Psychotherapy Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, she has applied knowledge from analyzing patient-therapist relationships to her clinical work. Starting in September, she will study developmental psychology in children at the Anna Freud Centre in London, where she will earn a master’s before returning to City University of New York to work on a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Winning a Fulbright to study abroad was something Ackerman never expected. She credits her selection to a well-written application; all those philosophy papers paid off.

“I owe it to BU,” she says.

Campbell translates and brings forgotten plays to life. She will explore the cultural context of Welsh plays in Wales for nine months starting in September.

“I knew what I was doing was pretty esoteric,” she says. “My field is medieval drama, and it’s a shame it’s often passed over.”

She says scholars jump from Greek and Roman drama to Shakespeare without giving due credit to 1,000 years of literature in between. At the School of Welsh at Cardiff University, she will work with manuscripts from that long period. Campbell also directs some of the scripts she translates; one of them, Strong Man, could be staged at an annual cultural event in Wales.

Colleagues at BU are among the few who understand what her career is about, she says. She credits them with pushing her to complete her dissertation and apply for the Fulbright.

“I love my BU students and will miss them, that’s for sure,” Campbell says.

Anna Webster can be reached at annaweb@bu.edu.

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