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Three Salem State University professors have received prestigious Fulbright Awards for the 2022-2023 academic year, traveling, working, researching, and building connections in Latvia, India, and Kosovo.

Zoe Kessler

Professor of Social Work Zoe Kessler, of Wenham, was awarded a grant through the Fulbright Scholars Program for her research on the de-institutionalization of social care in Latvia.

Kessler has been in Latvia since January 2023 interviewing policy experts, service providers, and other experts about the country’s plan to close all orphanages and institutional care for individuals with disabilities, shifting to a home and foster care model by 2024

“The research from this study will provide a new dimension to the established body of knowledge on children growing up in the social care system and would be one of the most comprehensive research projects on deinstitutionalization in Latvia,” says Kessler. “The outcomes of this study have the potential to impact the life trajectories of children and families in Latvia and beyond.”

Kessler hopes to publish her findings after she analyzes her research when returning home in July.

While in Latvia, Kessler is also completing a second project that asks young adults there who grew up in orphanages to photograph different things that express their identity. The photos will then be exhibited in May at Riga Stradins University in Latvia, and Kessler hopes to also bring the exhibit to Salem State, as well. “The goal is to inform people on the multifaceted lives of kids that grow up in care,” Kessler says.

Michele Louro

History professor Louro, of Marblehead, is teaching and conducting research in New Delhi, India this semester after receiving a grant through the Fulbright Scholars Program. Louro is researching a trial linked to the Red Scare for her next book, while also co-teaching a class that is virtual for her students in the U.S. and in-person for classmates at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

“One of my goals is to not only teach history, but to teach students to be global citizens of the world,” said Louro. “I’m especially excited for students in the U.S. and India to collaborate and learn from one another.”

The Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar Flex grant allows Louro to grow her expertise on anti-communism in colonial India by examining archives related to a 1920s trial and studying the transimperial networks of anti-communism and its applications in colonial India.

At Salem State, Louro teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on modern world history, South Asia, and the British Empire. She is the faculty fellow for Open Education Resources and just finished her role as president of the Society for Advancing the History of South Asia, an American Historical Association affiliate.

McArdle of the Bertolon School of Business recently traveled to Kosovo with a grant from the Fulbright Scholar Program to help the University Isa Boletini Mitrovica strengthen its economics program.

As a Fulbright Specialist, McArdle, a Salem resident who teaches accounting and tax, visited Mitrovica for 25 days in October 2022 to review the university’s existing undergraduate program in economics and help develop an accreditation proposal for a master’s program.

John McArdle

“Kosovo has an incredibly young population, and there’s a lot of interest in higher education opportunities at the bachelor’s and master’s level,” said McArdle. “They were looking for ways to serve the needs of the student population and the regional community that make sense for their local context, and that required understanding the unique place Mitrovica is.”

McArdle said he received a warm reception from those he worked with at the university, calling the entire experience transformative.

“It’s a country I’ve been fascinated with for a long time because it’s a young democracy,” McArdle said. “I think it’s really quite special to be able to help a country that is looking to flourish.”

McArdle said Salem State plans to further its relationship with the University Isa Boletini Mitrovica through Salem State’s Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) initiative.

“We hope to continue our partnership with educational exchanges, joint research projects, and other community-engaged work,” he said. In fact, McArdle will be returning to Kosovo for a month in May to continue that work.