Hui awarded Fulbright Fellowship to Norway
A member of Mississippi State's history faculty is receiving a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship that will take her to Norway in August.
Assistant professor Alexandra E. "Alix" Hui will have a nine-month appointment at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology in Trondheim. She will be conducting research for a study on how field scientists listen to nature.
Specifically, the University of California, Los Angeles doctoral graduate seeks to learn more about how listening is standardized by biological scientists -- especially ornithologists, marine biologists and herpetologists -- and how this process is related to a more general history of the science of sound.
"I have already been invited to give talks in the history department, science and technology studies program and music program, which will be a great way to make some more interdisciplinary connections," said the author of "The Psychophysical Ear: Musical Experiments, Experimental Sounds, 1840-1910" (MIT Press, 2012).
"NTNU is also home to the main biological sciences program in the Norwegian university system, so I'm hoping to be able to speak to some people in that field, especially marine biologists, about my research," she added.
Hui was a UCLA teaching fellow before coming to MSU in 2008. Five years later, she became the first MSU humanities professor to receive a major National Science Foundation grant. The California native also was honored with an MSU State Pride Award for Faculty Excellence in 2010.
MSU long has been recognized for being one of the nation's top producers of Fulbright Scholars, ranking with Harvard, Columbia and Cornell universities, among others.
The J. William Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and people of other countries.
Hui said encouragements from MSU associate professor Stephen Brain, a two-time Fulbright recipient, and Fritz Davis of Florida State University helped motivate her to apply for the scholar's grant.
"I was already part of an NTNU-based research group called the Cultural Logic of Facts and Figures Project, an international group of scholars that examines objectification, measurement and standardization as social processes," she said. "I had been hoping to find a way to spend an extended amount of time there to do research and work on my monograph."
She said the group "was happy to host me, but Norway is extremely expensive," adding that "the only way a long stay there is feasible is to find an additional source of funding."
"The Fulbright seemed like the best option," Hui said.
In addition to Brain and Davis, she expressed particular appreciation to three others on campus for their assistance in the application process: Carly Cummings, assistant to the dean for research in the College of Arts and Sciences; Phyllis Bell Miller, professor of apparels, textiles and merchandising in the School of Human Sciences; and Stephen Cottrell, assistant director of the International Institute.
Both Miller and Cottrell are three-time Fulbright recipients.
Hui said she considers it "an honor for my research's potential to be recognized by such a prestigious body.
"I especially appreciate the Fulbright's larger goals of scholarship as cultural exchange," she added. "I am very much looking forward to learning more about Norway while sharing a bit of Mississippi with Norwegians."
Hui also holds a master's degree in history from UCLA and a bachelor's in physics, with an astronomy/astrophysics concentration, from Pomona College in Claremont, California.
In encouraging others to apply for the Fulbright, Hui emphasized that "these kinds of fellowships and grants involve a fair amount of work, but even if they aren't funded, the application process itself is a good intellectual exercise."
For more on the Fulbright Scholars program, visit www.cies.org.
Sasha Steinberg | Public Affairs