Dan Wethli (senior, philosophy and Asian studies) has been awarded a Fulbright research grant to go and study the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 in the city of Wuhan in the Hubei province in China.
“I was pumped,” Wethli said. “For me, I knew how rare Fulbright was.”
Wethli’s selection marks only the 16th IUP student to receive this honor in the 74-year existence of the Fulbright Program.
“I’m very proud to be one of the 16, because I guess no matter what now I’ll be somewhere in the IUP record,” Wethli said.
He also said he’d really like to meet the other IUP recipients.
The journey to receiving the award was long and required eight months of hard work and planning, he said.
Wethli said that he decided to go after the Fulbright grant April of last year but was struggling to come up with an idea for what his research should focus on.
“I was bouncing ideas around in the spring semester … and throughout the summer, I was meeting with Dr. [Christian] Vaccaro [sociology professor] online,” Wethli said.
He said it took most of the summer working with Vaccaro to complete the initial statement of grant purpose and the statement of purpose.
Vaccaro was instrumental in guiding Wethli through the process and pointing him in the right direction.
“He really kept on top of me,” Wethli said. “It was a lot of just writing a draft, throwing it away.”
He said he had between 10 and 15 drafts of each.
The purpose for Wethli started to come together through working with history professor Alan Baumler on his thesis dealing with the “interpretations of the 1911 Revolution in textbooks.”
“[Baumler] ran a few ideas to me; the 1911 Revolution was one of them,” Wethli said. “He’s been somebody overall that I’ve just gotten to know in the last two years as an adviser to Asian studies, and he also just engages my interests a lot.”
Wethli said the idea clicked with him because he finds the underlying ideas of revolution “neat.”
“It kind of encompasses philosophy … in the sense of identity,” Wethli said. “There’s a lot of economic considerations, which I myself have never been interested in economics, but this fostered that interest. Also, historical processes are cool.”
“To be able to go to Wuhan, I’ll be able to study cultural sites and how they look at the revolution in Wuhan,” Wethli said.
While there, Wethli will be working with an adviser at Jianghan University, who had previously come to IUP to do research.
“I actually met him here through my Chinese professor [Shijuan Liu],” Wehtli said. “I kind of kept in contact with him for the last two years.”
This will be Wethli’s fourth trip to China, previously having traveled to the country in 2016 for a summer program at Schuan University.
In fall semester 2017 Wethli returned to China to study at Nanjing University as one of the 30 American students for the China-U.S. Student Leaders Academy in 2018.
“I’ve heard this area has a lot of spicy foods,” Wethli said. “I love spicy food, so I’m excited to see what’s the difference in food here.”
He’s also just excited to see what Wuhan is like, he said.
“It’s not a very big city … for China, it’s pretty small, so I don’t think there will be as many foreigners,” Wethli said.
IUP President Michael Driscoll said in a statement on IUP’s website “awards like this show that our students can compete with the very best scholars and leaders from all over the world.”
Wethli, who’s graduating this semester, plans on continuing his education and going to graduate school, but the Fulbright research will put that on hold for the moment.