2019-20 Americans in the EU

Fulbrighter Spotlight with Rosalee Wolfe

Rosalee Wolfe was a 2019-2020 Scholar in Greece and Germany. Now that she is settled back home in the US we organized a virtual meeting to interview her so she could share her experience with Fulbright. She shared some memorable moments, advice, and difficulties she had. Instead of a blogpost we decided to connect more with the grantees and suggested sharing their story through an interview.

Can you tell us who you are and what you did on your Fulbright grant?

I’m Rosalee Wolfe. I’m a professor at the School of Computing at DePaul University and on my grant, I was visiting two institutions that are working along with myself, making the deaf, hearing communication easier. And those institutions were the Institute for Language and Speech Processing in Athens, Greece, the Greek government supports this research project. The second location was the University of Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany.

What inspired you to apply to the Fulbright Shuman program specifically?

Oh, that’s because the Fulbright Schuman has the flexibility of visiting multiple countries and I desperately wanted to see what was going on at these two separate locations. They are both working on complementary parts of this communication question. And I wanted to see what both of them were doing. And the Fulbright Schuman was a program that would allow for multiple locations.

Regarding the two locations. Do you have any additional comments on why you chose Germany and Greece? Were you thinking about other regions or other countries before? What made you choose the two countries specifically?

Because the two countries have vibrant research efforts going on in deaf hearing communication. They also are very much in contact with the deaf communities. Is each of the teams have deaf and hearing researchers working with them. And I wanted entrée  into the deaf communities and the two countries.

What was your most memorable moments of the program?

There were so many. One was just simply meeting people and learning. And also just experiencing the environment and from the environment, there would be questions that would arise and when I would hear the answers that opened my eyes to some of the differences in some of the commonalities between Greece and the United States.

And now that you are back in the United States, how do you think this experience changed you in terms of your career in academia, professionally, personally, as a result of the participation in the program?

Well, one is I think I have a much better understanding of the differences and the similarities between how, say, the US style of government works as contrasted with the EU. And because of these insights that I was able to obtain because of the Fulbright Shuman grant makes it easier for me to be a good team player when I’m collaborating with people from the EU so that from a professional point of view. From a personal point of view, I have learned how to cook more things, particularly genuinely Greek things and that has brought us some joy to my family.

Rosalee Wolfe was a 2020 Fulbright-Schuman European Union Affairs awardee and will be visiting Greece, Belgium and Germany. She is currently a Professor in the School of Computing at DePaul University and the lead researcher of DePaul’s American Sign Language Avatar Lab. Her research explores non-invasive ways to improve communication between Deaf and hearing communities. She looks forward to learning Greek and German Sign Languages while acquiring a better understanding of the priorities and concerns of Deaf communities throughout Europe.

Articles are written by Fulbright grantees and do not reflect the opinions of the Fulbright Commission, the grantees’ host institutions, or the U.S. Department of State.