UD student wins prestigious awards to travel the world while studying

As a UD engineering student, Richard (Rickey) Egan developed the technical skills to address major global challenges, such as climate change. Now, through two prestigious awards, he is developing the global competency that could help him become a world changer.

In September, Egan began a Fulbright award in Poland, where he is partnering with faculty at the University of Warsaw to better understand some of the many elements that contribute to smog, an environmental phenomenon that kills tens-of-thousands in the country every year.

“While scientists do know the general ingredients in smog, they do not exactly know how it forms — the specific reactions, mechanisms and organic chemistry that result in the compounds that produce smog and air pollution,” said Egan. He contributes to the conversation by measuring a number of very specific factors that feed into larger equations to predict how smog forms in Poland.

For Egan, who was awarded his Honors Chemical Engineering degree in May and is enrolled as a 4+1 student in Particle Technology, thinking globally has been a natural part of his experience as a student at UD.

As an undergraduate, he took courses in French, German and Japanese, and earned scholarship dollars toward study abroad as a member of the Delaware Diplomats Program. He became interested in Japan’s language and culture as an exchange student at the National University of Singapore.

“I spent five months abroad and I got to see a lot of Southeast Asia,” said Egan, “but the one place I didn’t get to see was Japan and I really wanted to go there.”

And so he did.

Just one month after accepting his undergraduate degree, Egan departed for Japan, where he continued his language studies with an award from the competitive Critical Language Scholarship Program.

For eight weeks, Egan lived in Hikone, a small town in southern Japan. There, he participated in 20 hours of formal classroom instruction per week and engaged with his host community through weekly cultural excursions and experiences.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) is a fully-funded intensive language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. According to the Department of State, CLS prepares students for an increasingly globalized workforce and is one of the many ways that the U.S. government encourages the study of languages critical to national security and economic prosperity. Egan is one of 17 UD students who have won a CLS award.

The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is the nation’s premier international education exchange program, designed to foster mutual understanding between Americans and people of other countries. The prestigious award allows young graduates and graduate students the opportunity to conduct research, study or teach English in one of over 140 countries. Egan is one of nine UD students and alumni to earn a Fulbright award this year, marking the largest number of Fulbright award winners in University of Delaware history.


About the Institute for Global Studies

The Institute for Global Studies was created in 2009 to enhance the international dimensions of teaching, research and outreach at the University of Delaware. IGS provides leadership and support for programs and experiences that contribute to the education of informed, skilled, open-minded citizens of the world.

Best known for coordinating the University’s study abroad program, IGS also awards scholarships and grants to faculty and students for a number of global opportunities, and administers internationally-recognized State Department-sponsored programs such as the UD Fulbright Initiative, Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Student Leaders Institute, Mandela Washington Fellowship Program for Young African Leaders, and most recently the Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders on Women’s Leadership (SUSI-WL) program.

IGS is the home of the UD Alternative Breaks Program and sponsors such signature events as Global Month each fall and Fulbright Lecture Series each spring.

IGS collaborates with other global partners on campus, including the Office for International Students and Scholars, the Confucius Institute and the Center for Global and Area Studies. In addition, IGS partners with Enrollment Management to coordinate the UD World Scholars Program.

Article by Leah Manfra and College of Engineering Staff