Andrew MorrisOct. 4, 2019 — Two faculty members and one alumna from CSU Channel Islands’ (CSUCI) Martin V. Smith School of Business & Economics are at three different points on the globe right now teaching and doing research as Fulbright U.S. scholars.

Professor of Business Management Andrew Morris, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics Jared Barton, Ph.D., and 2015 Economics graduate Sharon Espinosa were all selected for the

Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, which sends American scholars and professionals abroad to lecture or conduct research for up to a year.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

Morris will travel to Myanmar (formerly Burma), Barton is spending the year in Malaysia, and Espinosa is doing her fellowship in Atlacomulco, northwest of Mexico City.

Sharon EspinosaEspinosa, of Oxnard, is no stranger to service in another country as she spent 27 months in Ethiopia working as an educational volunteer with the Peace Corps. She is now doing something similar in Atlacomulco, which is made up of about 25% indigenous people, called the Mazahua.

Espinosa will stay with a host family and work teaching primary school students until she returns to her native Oxnard in May of 2020. It will be a bit more comfortable than it was in Ethiopia, where she lived in a mud hut with no running water and slept on a mattress on the floor.

“There’s this idea of being comfortable,” she said. “I strive to be uncomfortable and become a better person because of that.”

Espinosa is the first in her family to attend college. Her parents immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico City and worked a variety of service jobs, instilling a strong work ethic and sense of community responsibility in their daughter.

While teaching in Atlacomulco, Espinosa plans to work on her Spanish language skills and contribute to the development of the community.

“I’m interested in girls’ education, because women’s empowerment is something we dealt with in Ethiopia,” she said. “In Ethiopia a lot of the female students weren’t expected to do a lot after the 10th grade. A lot of the young women I knew would get married young and not go to college. I want to continue exploring that.”

Espinosa plans to apply to graduate school while she’s in Mexico with hopes of building on her economics degree with an advanced degree in international studies. She hopes to work for the government on community development.

Thousands of miles away in Malaysia, Barton’s interest in Malaysia is both personal and academic. “My father-in-law is from Malaysia," Barton said. “So we have familial ties to Malaysia. Plus, it’s a multiethnic democracy that just had its first democratic transfer of power.”

After visiting his wife’s relatives in Malaysia in 2010, Barton was eager to return and learn more about this country that, like the U.S., had been a British colony.

“We are both children of the same mother,” Barton said. “They speak English. We too were a British colony, but culturally it’s totally different.”

Malaysia’s majority is Muslim, but with strong Indian and Chinese influences. Democratically governed, but facing governance challenges common to many young democracies.

Jared BartonAs an economist, Barton was intrigued with the mosaic of economics, politics and demographics that make up Malaysia, so he plans to immerse himself in the culture and return with a deeper understanding of international economics that he can bring to his students at CSUCI.

The country of Myanmar interests Morris for several reasons. “I’m interested in it terms of its economy and it is a Buddhist country and I have always been attracted to that way of life.”

Plus Myanmar is on the precipice of change in terms of its economics. Morris will be teaching in a school of business in Monywa, a city on the banks of the river Chindwin, primarily known for two impressive Buddhist temples.

“Myanmar will either adopt a kind of U.S. free market, free trade, private ownership model or they will go with the Chinese model,” Morris said. “I am doctorally-trained in the Western free market system. I’ll be teaching in the school of business where I may have some impact. I hope to share the perks and benefits of free markets and private property in contrast to the state and government getting involved.”

Morris will have internet, but it will likely be restricted at times and he will likely be the only person who looks like him in Monywa, but he is excited about the challenge.

“I really am looking forward to the meditation retreats,” Morris said. “There are a number of places that do these retreats. It has five monasteries and zero McDonalds, so if I’m looking for spiritual enlightenment as opposed to a hamburger, I’ve come to the right place.”

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