Ben Sides, who will be a sophomore this fall at Luther College, has been selected by the Fulbright Summer Institute to study at the University of Dundee in Dundee, Scotland, and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, on one of the most prestigious and selective summer scholarship programs operating worldwide.
Sides, the son of Earl and Kathy Sides of Des Moines, Iowa, is majoring in music at Luther. He is a 2013 graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School in Des Moines, where he was heavily involved both artistically and academically, serving as bass section leader in choir and trumpet section leader in band, as well as vice president of both Drama Club and his high school's chapter of the National Honor Society. He graduated number one in his class of more than 400 students, and was recognized by the Des Moines Register and by Governor Terry Branstad for academic excellence.
His other interests include reading, composing music, hiking and creative writing. As part of the Fulbright Scotland Summer Institute, he hopes to learn more about Scottish history and heritage, and experience world community in new and exciting ways.
"Upon learning that I had received the place, I was naturally quite excited. This is a fantastic opportunity, and I hope to gain as much as possible from it.
"As a Fulbright Summer Program participant, I will be able to gain new perspectives and new insights into other cultures, and experience a wealth of opportunities surrounded by new people in new places. I hope this work will enable me to have a greater sense of the world at large, as well as share these experiences with others upon my return, in the hopes that this sharing will better my community," Sides said.
The U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission is the only bi-lateral, transatlantic scholarship program, offering awards and summer programs for study or research in any field, at any accredited university in the United States or United Kingdom. The commission is part of the Fulbright program conceived by Senator J. William Fulbright in the aftermath of World War II to promote leadership, learning and empathy between nations through educational exchange. The program aims to help transform award recipients and summer program participants into the future leaders for tomorrow and who will support the "special relationship" between the U.S. and U.K.
Sides was selected from a strong applicant pool to experience the U.K. on a five-week summer program. The Fulbright Scotland Summer Institute provides American undergraduate students with a unique perspective on the cultural and political forces that have shaped modern Scotland, with a strong emphasis on its pioneering role as a technological nation. The Institute is delivered through an innovative partnership between two distinctively Scottish modern universities – the University of Dundee and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.
The Commission selects participants through a rigorous application and interview process, looking not only for academic excellence but a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright Program and a plan to give back to the recipient's home country upon returning.
Fulbright Summer Programs cover all participant costs. In addition, Fulbright summer participants receive a distinctive support and cultural education program including pre-departure preparation, enrichment opportunities in country and opportunity to join Fulbright alumni networks.
The US-UK Fulbright Commission was created by treaty on Sept. 22, 1948. The Fulbright Program aims to foster mutual cultural understanding through educational exchange between the U.S. and the U.K. via its awards program for U.S. and U.K. citizens and through its Advisory Service. The Fulbright Commission offers grants at postgraduate and postdoctoral level for study in any discipline and at any accredited institution in the U.S. and U.K., as well as a number of special exchange programs for shorter projects or for younger scholars. The Commission is funded by a range of partners including leading U.S. and U.K. universities, charities and both governments. For more information visit www.fulbright.org.uk.
Each year, the Commission supports U.K. and U.S. undergraduate students to undertake a demanding academic and cultural summer programs at leading institutions in the U.S. and U.K. respectively. This year we are hosting nine Summer Institute programs at host institutions such as the University of Bristol; the University of Exeter; Durham University; King's College London; Queen's University Belfast; Cardiff, Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities; Dundee and Strathclyde Universities and more. For more information visit http://www.fulbright.org.uk/fulbright-awards/exchanges-to-the-usa/undergraduates/uk-summer-institutes.