Maitland earns Fulbright Global Scholar Award

May 15, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Carleen Maitland, associate professor of information sciences and technology, is a recipient of a Fulbright Global Scholar award. This new and competitive program allows researchers to visit more than one country to conduct comparative research.

Carleen Maitland

Carleen Maitland

IMAGE: Penn State

With the award, Maitland will collaborate with experts from Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá and Makere University to compare the use of a data-collection platform by humanitarian organizations providing relief during the refugee crises in Uganda and Panama.

With current travel restrictions related to the novel coronavirus, Maitland is planning to start the first phase of the two-year flexible program in 2021.

“I have ongoing projects in East Africa, and separate ones in Latin America, and I started to see some commonalities but also interesting differences," said Maitland. "And so, understanding how the national context and, in my case, the refugee context, influences the way that data are managed is a goal.”

Maitland has been working with the platform, called ActivityInfo, through another ongoing research project in Ecuador where she is exploring how useful information could be processed and stored more effectively related to the humanitarian response to the Venezuelan refugee crisis in that country. In Ecuador, relief agencies use the platform to upload data on the services they provide as they help Venezuelan refugees access housing, healthcare and education.

“ActivityInfo is growing in popularity,” said Maitland. “As use of that platform expands, it creates new opportunities for research to do national comparative analyses that we haven't done before.”

She added, "This project is significant, engaging in technology and innovation research, while improving processes for refugee response at a crucial point in time. More generally, it contributes to efforts to ensure the benefits of technological innovation accrue to all sectors of global society."

Through the program, Maitland will make three single-country trips to Panama and Uganda. The Fulbright Global Scholar Award is a flexible option that enables scholars to complete multiple, short-term stays in their host countries over a period of one to two years, rather than relocating for an entire academic year.

"I am honored to receive this award," said Maitland. "Fulbright awards for research are usually given to academics who both demonstrate scientific rigor as well as the capacity and interest in communicating results to the broader public. It's this outreach notion of doing scientific research to serve society."

She concluded, "Supporting Penn State’s mission to be a globally-engaged University that's conducting research that has impacts beyond Pennsylvania and beyond the United States, and is making an impact for many places in the world, is so important.”

Last Updated May 18, 2020