Tiffany Drape will spend half of the summer in Uzbekistan, exchanging knowledge and establishing partnerships that help graduate students, faculty, and others improve their teaching techniques at the Namangan Institute of Engineering and Technology.

This area is what the Namangan Institute identified as its need. As the flagship international educational exchange program, the Fulbright Program is designed to build meaningful connections between Americans and the citizens of other countries.

“This is an opportunity to create feasible solutions with the people of Uzbekistan inside of their societal norms and customs,” said Drape, an assistant professor of agricultural, leadership, and community education in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech. “It’s an opportunity for me to listen and learn, as well. It’s another opportunity to grow and share it with my colleagues and our students.”

The Namangan Institute of Engineering and Technology is Uzbekistan’s agricultural engineering institution. While there assisting with teaching techniques in different class-size settings, Drape also will look at how to either help or suggest ways the institute can meaningfully partner with industry.

Drape’s Fulbright Program began in May and will last nearly two months.

The need for partnerships with industry was an area the institute identified as important, Drape said.

“Right now, we have limited information on the stakeholder groups with which I’ll be working. When I get there, I will be able to think through what will work for them, how I can be of service to them while being mindful of cultural implications and other potential constraints they have to navigate as they build industry partnerships,” Drape said.

Drape, also a researcher with the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative, is one of over 400 U.S. citizens who share expertise with host institutions abroad through the Fulbright Specialist Program each year. Drape was selected as a recipient based on her academic and professional achievement, demonstration of leadership in her field, and potential to foster long-term cooperation between her host institution abroad and Virginia Tech.

The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

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