Jordan Blake Banks is Fulbright grant recipient

May 20, 2019

Jordan Blake Banks, a recent graduate of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, is a 2019 recipient of the Fulbright grant. Banks will use her grant to pursue a master’s degree in bioenergy systems at the Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT) in Finland.

“When you apply for a Fulbright, you have to justify why you have chosen a particular country,” says Banks. “Finland’s consumption of bioenergy is significantly higher than ours. The country is about seventy percent forest; much of their bioenergy comes from the paper-wood industry. When I was going through the application process, I cross-referenced a list of international bioenergy programs to see their research. The program at LUT looked like a perfect fit for me.”

Banks said Fulbright recipients are also expected to be involved in activities outside of their area of study. “I’ve always been active on campus at Illinois, so I don’t plan on just staying in my room and studying. I’m looking forward to meeting other students and learning about their background and cultures.”

Banks was a member of Women in Math, Science, and Engineering (WIMSE) her entire undergraduate career. WIMSE is a community that provides a supportive environment for undergraduate female students in the STEM disciplines. There are approximately 135 women in WIMSE who live in the Trelease dormitory in the Florida Avenue Residence Halls. Banks was a resident adviser in Trelease for three years. She is also a member of the Society of Women Engineers, and she is actively involved in the campus ministry of the Community United Church of Christ.

The Fulbright Program, one of the most prestigious and competitive programs in the world, was established shortly after World War II. Senator J. William Fulbright proposed a bill in 1945 to use the proceeds from selling surplus U.S. government war property to fund international exchange between the U.S. and other countries. The bill to promote peace and understanding through educational exchange was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman on August 1, 1946.

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