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Winchester native, UK grad recognized by Fulbright Program

University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards announced four UK graduates have been offered Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships and three have accepted the award. The UK recipients are among approximately 1,700 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2017-18 academic year through the prestigious program.

In addition, two other UK students were selected as alternates for the program.

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected based on academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.

Zachary Tyler, a 2016 biosystems engineering graduate and Winchester native, has been selected to do research in Brazil.

Tyler, son of David and Lisa Tyler of Winchester, Kentucky, is the recipient of a Fulbright Research Grant to study the environment in Brazil. He will use the grant to examine growth patterns of relatively unstudied tree species of the Amazon rainforest. This information may be used to identify trees that will be most effective for restoration purposes. Native seeds will be collected by local indigenous groups and grown in a variety of experimental conditions.

Tyler is excited about the opportunity the Fulbright grant affords him to pursue his work abroad.

“I deeply appreciate the opportunity to work in an international setting, while pursuing novel research dedicated to preserving and protecting our natural world,” he said. “In any career decision, my primary goal is to ingrain systematic sustainability within society while improving the human condition. The international aspect of this grant allows me to pursue conservation in areas of great biological and human diversity, which are inherently complex, educational and beautiful.”

This will be Tyler’s second experience working in Brazil, a great example of a country looking for ways to best balance growth and a healthy environment. “When I first studied in Brazil, it became apparent that the quality of life depends on balancing environmental protection and socioeconomic development, which are often mistakenly seen as conflicting,” he said. “Brazil is gifted with an abundance of natural resources. However, I was concerned to see some of these resources exploited in a highly unsustainable way. This must be addressed while still protecting the thriving agriculture sector that is part of Brazil’s economic backbone.”

In addition to his environmental studies in Brazil, Tyler has interned with the UK Office of Sustainability and worked as an energy auditor with the Kentucky Industrial Assessment Center.

Tyler’s future plans largely depend on his Fulbright experience in Brazil.

“Ideally, education will be an inherent component of any workplace, and my career will be a continuous process of development and learning,” he said. “However, if graduate school is the logical step to more deeply pursue my path of interest, I would gladly explore such possibilities both domestically and abroad. I am interested in opportunities abroad so my education can heavily emphasize cultural experiences while also allowing me to target areas of critical concern.”