Dr. Jean Munn awarded Fulbright Fellowship to study aging in the Czech Republic

Jean Munn

Through the Fulbright Scholar Program and a partnership with Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, Associate Professor Dr. Jean Munn will take her research in in geronotolgical and aging studies to a whole new level during the spring 2016 semester. “This opportunity is going to allow me to forge a new collaboration in the Czech Republic with people with similar research interests” Dr. Munn explained.

Dr. Munn’s work in Prague will include several different roles including scholar, educator and mentor. Along with her research at Charles University she will be teaching at the university with the help of a translator. And because Charles University does not currently have a gerontologist in their social work department, she will also be mentoring a Czech doctoral student interested in gerontology. Dr. Munn is hoping that this will lead to a relationship allowing Czech doctoral students to study at Florida State University and for doctoral students at the FSU College of Social Work to come study in Prague. Along with her partnership with Charles University, Dr. Munn will also be working with a gerontologist at the Center for the Study of Longevity and Long-Term Care in Prague.

Her research will be focusing on a replication of some of her recent research in the United States working with social workers that have the difficult job of engaging with residents and their families of those in long term care facilities at the end of life. While in the Czech Republic, Dr. Munn will be interviewing social workers in Prague to see how they see their roles with residents who have an end of life experiences in their nursing homes. She hopes to be able to compare what the barriers are, how comfortable the social workers feel and how much engagement they have with residents and their families going through an end-of-life experience.

Another unique aspect of her work through the Fulbright Scholar Program is how immersive the experience will be. “The Fulbright program requires that you not leave for more than a week at a time,” Dr. Munn said. “But Prague has a fabulous music scene from modern, classical and religious music. So that is part of being in Prague, experiencing the culture. And Prague is a jumping off point to several places nearby – Vienna, Budapest, Croatia. So I plan on doing a couple of weekend trips and staying a few weeks afterwards.”

Dr. Munn also reflected on how she prepared for and applied for the Fulbright Scholar Program, emphasizing how important it was to begin by familiarizing yourself with the Fulbright organization via the information available online, and thinking far ahead about where you want to go and what you want to study because of the amount of ground work required before filling out an application. “You actually match yourself with a university. You have to reach out and make some sort of contact unless you have an existing contact. Other people can help you make contacts, but they can only do so much. You want the kind of strong relationship with the sponsoring university so that they write a strong letter encouraging the collaboration.” She also pointed out that it is helpful having someone at FSU who advises Fulbright applicants during the application process.

“For any fellowship or any type of professional development grant, I think you to ask yourself what you really want to do. And go ahead and start applying for grants and fellowships because every time you fill out an application you really start to focus your research agenda and to build a network of people interested in the same areas. The application process in itself is a growth experience,” Dr. Munn emphasized.

For FSU students and scholars interested in the Fulbright Scholar Program, visit http://ofr.fsu.edu/FSU-Award-Winners/Fulbright-Scholars.