Photo Credit: USI Photography Services
Brent Mullen, a 2010 USI graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biology, has received an America’s Unofficial Ambassadors Mosaic Fellowship to Jordan. According to Dr. Silvia Rode, chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, the AUA Mosaic Fellowship is a highly competitive program that is increasing the number of unofficial ambassadors who represent America to the Muslim world. Each year, the program provides fellowships to support a small number of highly dedicated Americans volunteering with an AUA Directory-listed organization in a Muslim-majority country. The fellowship provides up to $5,000.
Mullen is pursuing a master’s degree in biology through the University of Nebraska. His goal is to attend dental school at New York University and earn a master’s degree in international health.
Michael Nouri, instructor in Arabic, said Mullen has been one of his most outstanding students in the study of Arabic language and culture. Mullen has taken three courses in Arabic at USI, tutored students in USI’s English and a Second Language International (ESLI) program, and participated in the Small World Global Friendship Program, partnering with students from Saudi Arabia.
Mullen said Nouri encouraged him to apply for the fellowship. “He’s an awesome professor, and ever since I met him he’s encouraged me to continue, and has been willing to work with my graduate school schedule."
An Iraq War veteran, Mullen has wanted to return to the Middle East ever since. “I had a lot of human contact with Iraqis while I was there,” he said. “That was the first time I’d been overseas. I was only 19 and I liked meeting all those people. I’ve had a continuing interest in the Middle East.”
He will live with a host family in Jordan for two months this fall, teaching English and improving his Arabic. “I won’t be taking formal Arabic classes."
He also hopes to volunteer with a nonprofit group in the health field.
Mullen is a Central High School graduate and the son of Barbara and Dennis Mullen of Evansville.