University of Hartford Associate Professor Katharine Owens has been awarded one of the world's most prestigious educational honors, a Fulbright Foreign Scholarship. Next spring, she will teach and do research on marine debris found along India’s southwest coast. Owens’s work in India will model a marine debris and policy action course she taught at the University of Hartford in 2016. At that time, her students collected and cataloged more than 1,600 pieces of trash along Connecticut’s beaches and shared the results with the environmental committee of the Connecticut General Assembly.
“One of the reasons I applied to do this research in India is to have the ability to do a combination of teaching and research,” said Owens, who plans to do the work through the University of Kerala. “In my marine debris class, students learn about marine debris policy and at the same time do experiential learning.” Students collect and categorize debris, see where it comes from, and then share that information with local leaders who can influence policy. Owens said she proposed the project in Kerala after consulting with researchers in India, who verified that the marine debris issue is not sufficiently studied in their country.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international education program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected based on academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.
Katherine Black, dean of the University’s College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) said, “The Fulbright Scholar Program is one of the most highly respected academic awards in the world and it is a wonderful honor to have one of our professors selected. Katharine is a leader in studying environmental policy and its impact. We are very proud of her accomplishments and we look forward to welcoming her back to share her new knowledge with students at the University of Hartford.”
At UHart, Owens teaches courses on American politics, research methods, public policy, and environmental policy in the A&S Politics, Economics, and International Studies Department. She is also director of the University’s All-University Curriculum, a program for interdisciplinary education. All undergraduate UHart students are required to take at least four All-University Curriculum courses.
Owens earned two BAs (studio art, biology), a BS (anthropology), and MS from the College of Charleston and a PhD from the University of Twente in the Netherlands. She resides in Middletown, Conn.