The Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program operating in more than 155 countries sponsored by the U.S. government. The program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
“Fulbright Scholars serve as links between our country and another—in this case Brazil. This means Eric will serve as something of an ambassador for the U.S. and for UW Oshkosh,” Bill Mode, chair of the Geology Department, said.
Hiatt is one of nearly 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2015–2016. He is one of several UW Oshkosh faculty to receive a Fulbright grant, in addition to the University hosting Fulbright Scholars from other institutions.
“The research support that both the campus and the Fulbright Program provide is essential to the professional development of our faculty members and to their ability to maintain active involvement with the latest advances in their field,” Lane Earns, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said. “They then bring this expertise to the classroom and share their knowledge with students as part of their continuing effort to advance student learning outcomes.”
Hiatt, who has worked at UW Oshkosh for 15 years, will be researching the transition between the last major “Snowball Earth” event, and the interval that followed when animals first evolved. This interval also marks the transition from deposition of Earth’s last large iron formation to the first major phosphate deposits.
“Brazil is concerned about having phosphate resources to make fertilizer because they are a major agricultural producer, supplying 80 percent of the world’s beef,” Hiatt said. “My research will help geologists in Brazil better understand two of their most important economic resources—iron and phosphate.
In addition to research, Hiatt will also visit several universities to give research presentations, teach a short course, give guest lectures and advise graduate students.
“Many undergraduate geology majors have collaborated with Eric on research projects that are outgrowths of his many research interests,” Mode said. “Having such a research experience gives UW Oshkosh geology graduates a real advantage in competing for jobs and graduate school appointments.”
Previously, Hiatt was awarded two Endowed Professorships, as well as a UW Oshkosh Penson Distinguished Teaching Award.
“Dr. Hiatt’s research and publication record over the years has not only brought him widespread personal recognition, it has helped focus attention on the impressive faculty research that is being done in his department and across campus,” Earns said. “His selection as a Fulbright Scholar expands the recognition of our faculty research even further.”
“It’s a big honor and really promotes the University on a global stage,” Hiatt said. “The University is always looking to bring international students to UW Oshkosh, and this research really highlights the University.”