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DU Student Awarded Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Fellowship

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University of Denver

Meseret Hailu to conduct extensive research in Ethiopia

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Meseret Hailu

Meseret Hailu (BS ’11), a third-year doctoral student in the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education, has been awarded a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowshipfrom the U.S. Department of Education.

This particular fellowship program awards grants to colleges and universities to fund individual doctoral students conducting research in other countries for a period of six to 12 months.

As part of her year-long fellowship, which begins in March 2017, Hailu will travel to Ethiopia to conduct her dissertation research on the factors that lead to the persistence of women in undergraduate science and technology majors at Ethiopian universities. Hailu, who is studying higher education at DU, will conduct her research in various cities throughout Ethiopia, including Addis Ababa, Hawassa and Bahir Dar.

Hailu notes that the project requires the use of “a sequential, exploratory mixed-methods design that requires both qualitative and quantitative methods. Ultimately, this research is important because it can influence future development of education policy and highlight the resilience of women.”

Hailu says the qualitative portion of her large-scale research involves recruiting 30 undergraduate women from three public universities who have studied a science or technology discipline. The three universities include: Hawassa University, Bahir Dar University and Addis Ababa University. She’ll then conduct semi-structured interviews to understand the women’s life experiences and identify the factors that have contributed to their success and graduation from college.

The next step, Hailu says, will be to use the emerging themes from the interviews to design a quantitative, electronic survey instrument that will be widely distributed to collect responses from approximately 275 women across all public universities. The large number of responses will help to ensure statistical reliability.

The Fulbright Fellowship aligns well with Hailu’s research interests and her long-term goal of remaining in higher education after completing her doctorate at DU.

In addition to using her research to complete her dissertation, Hailu will also use it to address the gap in the literature about Ethiopian higher education and African education in general. Her work will also provide key stakeholders in the Ethiopian Ministry of Education with resources/research to promote the success of women.

“I plan on continuing this research trajectory as a faculty member, and this experience will provide me with really important research experience and ‘on-the-ground’ skill development,” Hailu says. “To that end, the Fulbright Fellowship is a wonderful opportunity to advance my research agenda and provide me with valuable experience that I can draw from when I apply for faculty positions next year.”