New Paltz Professor Michael Vargas awarded Fulbright grant

Michael Vargas, a professor in the Department of History at the State University of New York at New Paltz, has received a grant from the Fulbright Scholar Program. The award was granted to support Vargas in his continued study of the Crown of Aragon in the late Middle Ages, including the exploration of problems of institutional imbalance, leadership hubris, and social anxieties in contemporary Spain and the United States.

“The histories of the late medieval Crown of Aragon and the contemporary United States, although separated by six centuries, share many narrative threads,” explained Vargas in his application for the grant. “Garnering the Fulbright grant is, for me, about more than completing another research project; it means the fulfillment of a life-long quest to gain second- and third-language fluency and it means increasing my productivity as a professional scholar by deepening my talents. In addition…a Fulbright experience will most assuredly inform my work in the classroom,” he also stated.

Vargas will spend the 2013-14 academic year in Barcelona, Spain, to pursue this work. His wife Beth Vargas (International Programs) and his family will join him.

Commenting on the award, New Paltz Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Philip Mauceri stated, “As a former Fulbrighter, I am well aware of the opportunity these awards afford to advance a scholarly agenda that involves international research and creative activity. Receiving a Fulbright speaks highly of Professor Vargas’s research, as well as the commitment that SUNY New Paltz has towards international education.”

The Fulbright Program chooses scholars “for their academic merit and leadership potential,” and provides them “with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns,” according to its website. It is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.