Pacificans awarded prestigious Fulbright grants
Two Pacificans were recently selected as recipients of the prestigious Fulbright program, which provides opportunities to teach or conduct research in other countries while connecting with people from different cultures.
Kris Himmerick, director of assessment and accreditation for the School of Health Sciences, received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Fellowship to conduct health workforce research in Ireland and Conservatory alumna Harley Lampkin ’20 was selected for a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Award to teach English in Germany.
The competitive grants are awarded through the United States Department of State.
“We are very proud and confident that Kris Himmerick and Harley Lampkin will carry on Pacific’s rich tradition of Fulbright award winners,” said Pacific President Christopher Callahan.
Nearly 60 Pacific students, faculty and alumni have received Fulbright awards since 1959, according to the Fulbright alumni directory.
Himmerick and Lampkin join an illustrious group of Fulbright winners, which over the years have included 61 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners and 40 heads of state.
Himmerick will use their background as a physician associate to study how Irish trained physician associates are being integrated into Ireland’s health system. The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland initiated the first physician associate master’s program in the Republic of Ireland in 2016.
The United States was the first country to create a physician associate program in the 1960s to address a shortage of primary care physicians.
“After the Vietnam War there were all these fantastically trained corpsmen and women that had been providing medical care in the battlefields, and they came back and couldn't work without a medical license,” Himmerick explained. “The physician associate profession was developed as a creative solution to get people into the workforce to meet that primary care shortage. That model has proven to be very successful and continues to grow. Globally, the problems (with physician shortages) are similar and the profession is expanding to meet the health care needs of communities worldwide.”
Himmerick will collaborate with health care educators from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin for approximately three months beginning spring of 2023. Himmerick plans to study how physicians and surgeons view their experiences with the newly minted Irish physician associates, and use this information to help educators, employers and policymakers integrate physician associates into the Irish health care system.
“The big question is what is happening outside of the urban area in the more remote hospitals,” Himmerick said. “My project will be to go to those places and have those conversations with the surgeons and physician associates that are working together.”
Himmerick has experience working in rural hospitals. Most of Himmerick's clinical career was spent as a physician associate in underserved parts of Colorado and Northern California.
“I feel passionate about getting health workers to the patients who need them the most. In the United States and internationally there is a huge gap,” Himmerick said.
As part of the fellowship’s mission to promote cultural exchanges, Himmerick also will bring their wife (also a physician associate) and two children, ages 2 and 6.
“I want to integrate myself and feel what it is like to live and work there,” Himmerick said. “I envision taking my family to one of these rural towns where we will stay for a couple of days or a week. I'll do my work and we will get to explore and hopefully have dinner in people's homes, hang out in the pub and experience the culture.”
Once the three-month stint in Ireland is complete, Himmerick plans to share the experience with Pacific students, faculty and staff.
“I hope to build collaborations between Pacific and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland with visiting lecturers, shared ideas and opportunities for students,” Himmerick said. “I want this to be more than a research project.”
A childhood brain tumor made school difficult for Lampkin—until she found music. She now plans to use her experience to help other students. Lampkin, who majored in vocal performance, will be an English teaching assistant in Magdeburg, Germany from September 2022 to June 2023.
“I was in total shock,” Lampkin said, of learning she was selected. “I’m excited because it's going to be a huge learning experience for me.”
In her grant application, Lampkin proposed using music as a tool for learning language. “Songs can be a really important tool to remember things,” Lampkin said, adding that music can also help people understand “how the language is really used within the culture.”
Lampkin sees it as an opportunity to give back what she has gained through music. While Lampkin’s tumor has remained stable since her last surgery four years ago, as a child it made school challenging. She had her first surgery when she was only eight years old.
“It wasn't until I found music and had all these opportunities to sing in Carnegie Hall and the Grand Ole Opry (in high school) that I really started being interested in school, and I started fostering a belief in myself,” Lampkin said.
That confidence grew exponentially in her time at Pacific, said Opera Professor James Haffner, who helped her throughout the Fulbright application process.
“It's her journey I'm most proud of,” Haffner said. “She went from being someone who wasn't too sure, to somebody who is laser focused on ‘this is what I want to do.’”
Along with her musical background, Lampkin has experience teaching children. For the past two years she has worked with City Year in Chicago, part of AmeriCorps, putting together music programs and activities for elementary and middle school students in low-income schools.
“I was really proud of how much they grew and the potential that I saw in a lot of them,” Lampkin said.
She is now eager to return to Germany, where she studied abroad in 2019. “I am preparing for the experience to really impact me and my career path,” Lampkin said.
A former Fulbright recipient from Pacific, David Carranza ’16, ’19, is now an epidemic intelligence service officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Click here to read about the important role he took on advising the White House during the pandemic.