Release date: May 4, 2011
News and Media Relations contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Honors College contacts: Dr. John Vile, 615-898-2152 or email@example.com
Laura Clippard, 615-898-5464 or firstname.lastname@example.org
With Fulbright, MTSU Alum Pratt Will Conduct
Research on Poverty Reduction in Tanzania
(MURFREESBORO) — When August 2010 MTSU graduate Patrick Pratt of Tullahoma learned he received a prestigious Fulbright Award for U.S. Students, he said he “felt the gratitude of being offered such an amazing opportunity. This really is a life-changing experience, and I’m excited to see where it leads.”
Pratt, 27, was chosen by the Fulbright committee to spend a year conducting research on poverty reduction in Tanzania at the University of Dar es Salaam’s Institute of Developmental Studies, said University Honors College Dean John Vile.
The alumnus said his project proposal title is “Participatory Development: Civil Society and Poverty Reduction,” and, adding, “It is a combination of study at the University of Dar es Salaam, independent research and practical field work.”
“Ultimately,” he said, “I’m addressing the question: ‘Does a participatory approach to development yield tangible results in terms of poverty reduction.’”
Pratt said his research will look at relationships among civil society organizations, private and government donors and Tanzania’s national and regional governments.”
Upon learning of the Fulbright, Pratt said he was “relieved that the suspense was over,” but came to the “sober realization that I have much to do to prepare, both logistically and substantively. The research project is a significant undertaking, and in order to be effective once in the country, there is a lot of groundwork to be laid.”
In addition to the Fulbright, which will be for a 10-month stay, Pratt said he is awaiting word of another award (Boren African Languages Initiative) to study Swahili in Zanzibar, which would mean he could be in Tanzania for a year or more.
The MTSU alumnus resides in Washington, D.C., where he interns with the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch. He also works as a server at B. Smith’s Union Station restaurant, which, he said, serves “sophisticated southern soul food” and is “actually pretty historic because it’s housed in the part of Union Station that was used by Presidents Taft through Eisenhower for railway travel.”
Pratt became MTSU’s second Fulbright honoree this spring. Earlier, Kim Yarborough, 21, who is a May 7 degree candidate, was offered a Fulbright for an English teaching assistantship at a high school in Spain’s Cantabria region.
“The MTSU international relations program attracts exceptional students,” said Dr. Karen Petersen, political science associate professor. “Kim and Patrick are perfect examples of the types of students I have the pleasure of working with in our program.
“Patrick is the ideal scholar. He is intelligent, thoughtful and dedicated — Patrick was always one of the best students in my classes. He has the gift of analytical ability and the personality to thoughtfully challenge conventional wisdom. Patrick crafted an experience at MTSU by taking advantage of our internship program in Washington, D.C., and creating his own study-abroad experience in Kenya. Patrick’s receipt of the Fulbright is just another step in what promises to be a fruitful career in international relations.”
Pratt said he wants to acknowledge “MTSU faculty who make it possible to produce Fulbright recipients for three years’ running.” He credits Laura Clippard, Honors College Undergraduate Fellowships Office coordinator and academic adviser; Petersen, for encouraging him to apply and helping remove self-doubts; and minor advisers Drs. Moses Tesi (African studies) and Hari Garbharran (geography), who wrote letters of recommendation.
Pratt, the son of Harvey and Carol Pratt of Tullahoma, earned an associate’s degree in psychology from Motlow State Community College in Tullahoma. He then earned MTSU degrees in international relations and political science. He previously received the David L. Boren Scholarship for study in Kenya. At MTSU, he received the Meritorious Service Award from the political science department and participated in the Society for International Affairs and Rotoract International.
In his spare time, Pratt said he likes to read and attend cultural and educational events and exhibits (live music and conferences).
Vile observed that these two Fulbrights, along with two 2010 Fulbright honorees (Kaitlen Howell of Murfreesboro and Eric Little of Nashville), two recent Goldwater Scholarship recognitions (Evan Craig of Arlington, Tenn., and Robert Ehemann of Tullahoma), a Goldwater honorable mention (Lauren Rigsby of Rockvale) and other recent national awards will continue to boost MTSU’s national rankings.
August 2010 MTSU graduate Patrick Pratt of Tullahoma recently learned he had become recipient of a prestigious Fulbright Award for U.S. Students. It will allow him the opportunity to spend a year conducting research on poverty reduction in Tanzania at the University of Dar es Salaam’s Institute of Developmental Studies. Pratt, 27, becomes the second MTSU Fulbright selection this year and fourth in two years. He resides in Washington, D.C., where he has been interning with the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch and also works as a restaurant server.
A high-resolution jpeg photo of Patrick Pratt is available. To request, please call Randy Weiler in MTSU News and Media Relations at 615-898-5616 or email email@example.com.
Founded in 1911, Middle Tennessee State University is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution located in Murfreesboro and is the state’s largest public undergraduate institution. In September 2011, MTSU will celebrate its 100th year anniversary with special events and activities throughout the year — kicked off by a Blue-Tie Centennial Gala on Friday, Sept. 9.
For MTSU news and information, go online to mtsunews.com.