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Fulbright Award Takes Faculty Member To CU Instead Of UC

Vanessa Allen-Brown says she considered a large classroom at UC to number 25 students, but she’s off to a university that has a population of 155,000, and as many as 1,000 students in one classroom.

Date: 11/9/2005
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Andrew Higley
UC ingot Vanessa Allen-Brown is certainly off to a warmer climate this winter. Beginning in February, her four-month Fulbright Scholar Award will take her to Cairo University where she will be assigned to the university’s English department. And, while the University of Cincinnati student population is 35,244, larger than most of Cincinnati’s suburbs, Allen-Brown says she’ll be spending winter at CU, Cairo University, with a student population as high as 155,000.

Vanessa Allen-Brown in the Annie Laws Drawing Room

“I went to a briefing in Washington, D.C., and they said that some classrooms number 1,000 students. My reaction was, ‘WHAT?’ If I have 25 students in class here, I think that’s a large class!”

Allen-Brown, an associate professor of educational studies at UC, will travel to Egypt to teach a course that she developed on the contributions of African-American women to American culture, delving into their social, political and economic status in American society through history.

She will also lead a research seminar at Cairo University that focuses on oral history – a method of qualitative research that allows researchers to gather their data through in-depth interviewing – in effect giving voice to politically and economically marginalized groups.

Allen-Brown’s research interests also include theology, and as a United Methodist minister, she says she spent a decade as pastor of a church in Cincinnati’s West End. “I’m interested in understanding the role of Christianity in Egypt. I want to explore the Coptic Church – the largest Christian group in Egypt since the fourth century – as well as the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Nubians and the ancient Cush kingdom, along with the current relationship between Islam and Christianity in Egypt.”

Born and raised in New Bern, N.C., Allen-Brown says she traveled the full road through higher education, beginning at Craven Community College in New Bern. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Livingstone College, a historically black institution in Salisbury, N.C, and achieved a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary before earning her PhD in educational studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She joined the faculty at the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services in 1992.

She has presented on her scholarship around the world. A previous visit to Cairo involved a family vacation to explore the pyramids and the culture.

This February, she will travel to Cairo with her 10-year-old daughter, Kayla, who will attend an American school in Egypt.

Recipients of Fulbright Scholar awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement and because they have demonstrated extraordinary leadership potential in their fields. Allen-Brown is among the awardees from around the nation that will travel to 140 countries for the 2005-2006 academic year through the Fulbright Scholar Program.


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