Manuel Regalado, an Honors College sophomore from Miami, Florida double majoring in Chemistry and Environmental Biology with a minor in Physics, studied abroad in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and learned how companies conduct business while providing innovative global solutions.
Manuel is a recipient of the Fulbright U.K. Summer Institute Program, which allows U.S. undergraduate students to explore the culture, heritage and history of the U.K., while experiencing higher education at a U.K. university.
There are nine different institutes (with varied themes) at nine different U.K. institutions for students to choose from. Themes include: “Understanding Ireland: Northern perspectives at Queen’s University Belfast, to “Climate change and the environment” at the University of Exeter, to “Understanding “Britishness” and British culture” at the University of Sussex.
As participants in the Fulbright U.K. Summer Institute Program, students will have the opportunity to study alongside leading academics and professionals, develop knowledge in specific fields, and become an ambassador for studying in the U.K., for the Fulbright Commission, and their institutions.
Manuel chose to apply for, and study in Scotland for three weeks at the Glasgow School of Art and the University of Strathclyde for its “Technology, Innovation, and Creativity” Summer Institute. At the Institute, students are led by faculty from both institutions as they explore Scotland’s culture, history, and creative and technological industries.
“I wanted to seek out ways in which academia, art and industry can form interconnected relationships,” he says.
The Glasgow School of Art is internationally recognized as one of Europe's leading higher education institutions for education and research in the visual creative disciplines. The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow's second university, was founded in 1796 and received its Royal Charter in 1964. It is the U.K.'s first technological university and has a powerful heritage of partnerships with business and industry.
This theme was reinforced during the program. “We studied the development of areas where businesses and universities work with local government to create an innovative environment and an atmosphere that promotes networking,” says Manuel. “These innovation districts are not complete without social and recreational atmospheres, and art is a big part of that – it is the glue that holds innovation districts together.”
While in Scotland, Manuel conversed with individuals who influenced his professional interests. “I met Donalda MacKinnon, Director of BBC Scotland,” he says. “I also met two distinguished professors, one of which, Sir Harry Burns, professor of Global Public Health, was knighted by the Queen. Both professors emphasized the importance of mental health in epidemiology and economics.”
He worked closely with the Office of National Scholarships (ONS) throughout the application process. “ONS showed me how to apply and think critically for these types of applications,” he says. “They opened my mind to the connections I needed to make on campus and the steps to obtain a national scholarship.”
Manuel feels the Fulbright U.K. Summer Institute Program to Scotland was an exploratory and multicultural experience. “Being open to various disciplines in a different cultural environment gives you the ability to think outside of the box,” he explains. “It was very eye opening and life-changing.”
In addition to what Manuel learned about himself while in Scotland, he was also transformed through the process of applying for a national scholarship, like the Fulbright U.K. Summer Institute Program. National scholarship applications are challenging, but he advises students to go into the process with an open mind. “Learn to take criticism,” Manuel says. “No matter how hard the criticism is, never suppress it or take it with a grain of salt – take it with 100 percent sincerity – otherwise, you will not fix your mistakes.”
Inspired by his time in the program, Manuel’s goal is to develop sustainable materials which mimic unique adaptations in organisms. “I want to create materials that are inspired by nature,” he says. “One example would be a material that mimics the strong intermolecular forces in gecko feet that enables them to cling to smooth surfaces.”
Reflecting on his experience in Scotland, and the application process that brought him there, Manuel encourages prospective applicants to capitalize on their individuality. “Be true to yourself – do not falter or be insecure in your goals and dreams no matter how eccentric they may be, but use that to your advantage,” says Manuel. “Do not hide your weaknesses or try to outshine them in your application. Make your weaknesses part of your strength by adding a human touch.”
The Fulbright U.K. Summer Institutes are three-to-four week programmes for US undergraduate
students. Participants can explore the culture, heritage and history of the U.K. while
experiencing higher education at a U.K. university. The U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission
U.K. Summer Institutes are made possible through generous donations from private individuals
and our partnership with some of the top U.K. institutions.
Students interested in applying to the Fulbright U.K. Summer Institutes Program should contact Dr. Sayandeb Basu, Director of ONS at email@example.com and Ms. Lauren Chambers, Associate Director of ONS and Fulbright Program Advisor (FPA) at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an advising appointment.
Manuel's story is featured in the 2019 edition of Legacies.