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Zachary Stein '20, an aerospace engineering graduate and BHC Scholar, was recently awarded a Fulbright grant. He will be traveling to Germany to conduct research on aircraft engines at the German Aerospace Center in Cologne. 

How did you achieve the Fulbright?

I believe that my involvement in research and the opportunities presented to me here had the greatest influence. I started my journey in research in my sophomore year at UCF, and during my undergraduate career I was given the opportunity to conduct experiments with the high energy synchrotron at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago. [I also studied] internationally for 10 weeks through a collaborative International Research Experience for Students (IRES) program between UCF and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne, Germany.

I couldn’t have made a stronger application without the advice and help from my research advisor, Dr. Seetha Raghavan, as well as Morgan Bauer and the staff at the Office of Prestigious Awards.

What is your long-term goal and how will this help you get there?

My life and its direction have been shaped through immeasurable ways by those around me encouraging and fostering the potential within me. I plan to make a similar and profound impact on the lives of those around me through outreach and involvement in my community. Similarly, I want to continue working in research and [contributing] towards the development of space and space exploration. The Fulbright fellowship will help me with both of these goals. Internationally, I will be able to serve as a cultural ambassador that will no doubt leave a lasting impact on me that I will be able to apply in both outreach and research. I will experience a mindset, thought process, and culture different from my own, and the experiences I gain from this long-term exposure will provide me new ways of approaching problems and conveying my thoughts to an international audience.

What advice do you have for others interested in receiving the Fulbright?

Definitely make the most of the opportunities you are given. You never know how those opportunities might help you in the future or what other doors they will open up to you because of those past experiences. List out your goals and let nothing stop you from achieving those goals. Your determination will slowly push you towards your goals each day and you will find solutions to maneuver around any obstacles along the way.

Do you have any favorite hobbies?

I always enjoy taking things I am unfamiliar with and trying to understand how they work. This relates to concrete and theoretical things, such as “how do planes fly?” or “how do rocket engines work?”, to more abstract things such as cultures and languages. I also enjoy hiking, especially when I was studying abroad in Switzerland and living in Germany for 10 weeks under the IRES program.