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TU alumnus and student earn Fulbright awards

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An alumnus and a student from The University of Tulsa have received 2017 U.S. Student Fulbright Awards. Toby Decker (BA ’14) and mechanical engineering senior Bryan Kinzer were selected for their academic achievements, personal qualifications and research proposals. The Fulbright Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program providing grants for individually designed research projects or for English Teaching Assistant programs.

Decker and Kinzer will live and work with citizens of their host countries. The Fulbright program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction on an individual basis in the classroom, field and home.

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Toby Decker

Decker earned degrees in English and education in TU’s Kendall College of Arts and Sciences and served as a Teach for America corps member in 2014. He teaches English language development at Northwest Classen High School in Oklahoma City and is an instructor for the Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City’s PEAK program at Oklahoma Centennial Mid-High and High School. Beginning August 2017, Decker will serve as an English language assistant at the Universidad del Atlántico in Barranquilla, Colombia.

“I applied for the Fulbright ETA because I want to serve the United States as a cultural ambassador, and I want to become a more empathetic, knowledgeable English teacher for speakers of other languages,” Decker said.

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Bryan Kinzer

Kinzer’s research will benefit the off-the-grid villages of Lesotho in southern Africa where all electricity is provided by renewables. He plans to create an electricity usage database and build a prototype involving a smart meter system. The project is an extension of TU’s Sustainable Engineering for Needy and Emerging Areas organization and studies how electricity demand changes over a given day or season for houses, schools, mills and other buildings.

“Electric utilities can know how many solar panels and how much battery storage is needed to provide power even when the sun is not shining,” Kinzer said.

His research will attempt to determine whether electricity building profiles are consistent across villages and predictable among income levels. Kinzer also will collaborate with the renewable energy research and development firm STG International to build rural micro-grids.

“There are very few renewable driven electric grids in the United States, so having an opportunity to help develop one is ahead of its time,” he said.