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How a Fulbright scholarship reignited Nigel Andrew’s spark

Nigel Andrew in dung beetle lab CREDIT Kimberly Sheldon University of Tennessee Knoxville


20 May 2024

Interested in study or research in the US in 2025? Apply for a Fulbright.

Pursuing a Fulbright exchange in the United States was a transformative experience that dung beetle expert and 2020 Fulbright Senior Scholar Professor Nigel Andrew says kickstarted his leadership ambitions.

Now Chair of Science at Southern Cross University, Professor Andrew is encouraging the University's students, academics, researchers and professional staff to apply for the next round of the prestigious foreign exchange program to enliven their own potential.

Fulbright Scholarships fund extensive study and professional development opportunities in the United States. Aimed at increasing binational research collaboration, cultural understanding and the exchange of ideas, the Fulbright Program marks its 75th anniversary in 2024.

Awardees take part in an academic and cultural exchange, pursuing research or study at a US institution, experiencing life abroad and bringing back their knowledge and experience to share with their communities in Australia.

“After completing the Fulbright during my tenure at UNE, I realised I’d been stagnating and needed to pursue more leadership roles within academia,” said Professor Andrew.

“Initially I took on the Associate Dean of Research role at UNE for a year. Then I was successful in securing the Chair of Science role at Southern Cross University. I also secured a seat on the Australian Research Council’s College of Experts.”

During his four-month research visit to the University of Tennessee, Professor Andrew investigated how dung beetles are likely to be affected by the increased and more variable temperatures emerging under climate change. This work has led to a better understanding of how dung beetle species, introduced to both Australia and the US, differ in their response to temperature variation compared to native species. The research interaction will be strengthened with Professor Andrew’s US colleague visiting Southern Cross University for her sabbatical later in the year.

“Americans regard Fulbright as a really important exchange between the US and other countries,” said Professor Andrew.

“While in the US, when I told people I was there on a Fulbright, doors opened up for me. Americans took me under their wing for social and cultural opportunities.”

Not only is Professor Andrew an active member of the Australian Fulbright Alumni Association, he is Fulbright Australia’s Mentorship Program Manager.

The Australian-American Fulbright Commission offers scholarship opportunities to Australian citizens across various academic and career stages. Scholarship categories available are:

  • Postgraduate: for postgraduate students undertaking their Australian PhD to conduct research in the US for 4-8 months, OR for students to enrol in a US graduate degree program (eg a Masters) for up to two years.
  • Postdoctoral: for individuals (who have completed their PhD in the past 5 years, or are in the last year of completion) to undertake postdoctoral research in the US for 4-8 months.
  • Scholars: for academics (at Associate or full Professorial level) and mid-career professionals (with an undergraduate qualification and minimum 10 years’ work experience) to undertake a short-term research program in the US for 4 months.

MAIN PHOTO: Nigel Andrew rearing dung beetles in the University of Tennessee Knoxville labs (credit: Kimberly Sheldon, University of Tennessee Knoxville).

Fulbright Scholarships Information Session for Southern Cross University

Fulbright Scholarships create life-changing opportunities for students and researchers, offering an unparalleled experience of academic and cultural exchange built upon a 75-year foundation of bilateral collaboration, knowledge transfer, and diplomacy.

Presented by Fulbright Australia, along with Professor Nigel Andrew, the webinar session was held on Wednesday May 22.

If you missed the session, you can catch-up by watching a recording of the webinar.

For more information about applying, contact Nigel Andrew via email [email protected]

Or visit the Fulbright website:


Media contact

Sharlene King, Media Office at Southern Cross University +61 429 661 349 or [email protected]