TAMIU Professor Uses Fulbright Selection to Aid Laredo Students

TAMIU Professor Uses Fulbright Selection to Aid Laredo Students

This fall, Dr. Susan Berdahl, Texas A&M International University assistant professor of music, will bring the world to her TAMIU students not only through academic discussion but also through her personal experiences in the Fulbright Senior Specialists Program in Honduras. (photo)

During Berdahl's month-long appointment this summer, she will continue her previous work developing music programs, including the national "Encuentro de Flauta Traversa 'Susan Berdahl,'" in the capital city of Tegucigalpa. Participants from all Central American nations are expected to perform in the festival this year.

The Encuentro, or flute festival, was first organized in December 2002 and named after Berdahl by the Honduran musicians in honor of her efforts from 1997 to 2000. During that time, as part of her three contiguous Fulbright Senior Scholar/Lecturer appointments, she was assigned to the National Symphony Orchestra of Honduras as a flute specialist and woodwind coach. She also worked with the National Music School (a music conservatory). In addition to her Senior Scholar appointments, she was selected twice as a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Music.

Berdahl said she is honored to work again in Honduras and is particularly excited to bring music where previous opportunities have been limited.

"Honduras is just now starting to provide a university degree with specialization in music. Most Honduran musicians have had to travel outside the country and seek an education elsewhere. This program allows them to stay with their families and help build and better their own musical institutions," said Berdahl.

She likened this situation to students in Laredo, who want to study music but previously had to travel in order to pursue their dreams. She said her experiences in a developing country have enabled her to contribute to the budding TAMIU program.

"TAMIU is a new university and all my experience gained in developing new programs under the most difficult of circumstances in Central America is useful in developing successful musical programs here at TAMIU," explained Berdahl, "Also, all I've learned about Hispanic music while living in Latin America, which should be of special value and interest to the primarily Hispanic Laredo and TAMIU population. Working in a different (foreign) educational system provides new insights, the best of which can be transmitted to our efforts here."

The Fulbright Scholar Program was created at the end of World War II by Senator J. William Fulbright. He envisioned "mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries of the world." Outstanding U.S. scholars are selected by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars to bring expertise to other countries through a variety of programs.

For more information on the Fulbright Scholar Program, please visit www.cies.org.

For more information about Dr. Berdahl or the music programs at TAMIU, please contact the College of Arts and Sciences at 326.2460 or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 429. University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu