Higher education brought David Bzdak and his wife together. Soon it will bring them and their children to her home country. Bzdak (pronounced BIZ-dak) has been named a Fulbright Scholar. The distinction means he will spend nearly a year teaching at a university in India where his wife earned her master’s degree.
Fulbright is an international educational exchange 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.
Bzdak is OCC’s first Fulbright Scholar since Psychology Professor Valerie Melburg in 2013. “When she came back from her Fulbright in Russia she encouraged all of us to apply. I thought, ‘it can’t hurt to apply but I didn’t really expect it would happen.’”
Applying for a Fulbright is a time consuming process. Candidates must fill out a lengthy application, submit a description of what he or she would do, list academic credentials and compile letters of recommendation. One of Bzdak’s letters of recommendation came from OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill.
The application deadline was August 2015. Bzdak’s included a specific request he teach philosophy at Savitribai Phule Pune University in Pune, India. Not only did his wife attend there but her entire family still lives in Pune.
Bzdak and his wife met while they were pursuing doctoral degrees at Syracuse University. She is a biochemist who teaches at both S.U. and Le Moyne College. They have three children ages 10, 6 and 4. The entire family will move to Pune in late June and will stay there until May 2017. “We’re excited about it,” said Bzdak. “We haven’t been there in eight years. Two of our children will meet their family in India for the first time.”
While teaching at Savitribai Phule Pune University Bzdak will also take classes and develop an “Intro to Asian Philosophy” course. He will bring that knowledge home with him and teach the class at OCC.