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A Fulbright Scholar's Journey to Drexel

November 23, 2021

By Peter Looft 

This Fall, Drexel has had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Fehér for her Fulbright scholar research.  Dr. Fehér comes from Hungary and has many experiences all over the world including work in Southeast Asia.  So, what exactly is she researching?  Her focus is on media, specifically media created or powered by artificial intelligence and how it improves media services but also ways in which it may fail.  One may wonder how Dr. Fehér ended up at Drexel, which she shares has been quite a long journey. 

Starting her search in 2018 she submitted her application to the Fulbright Scholar Program.  For this application, she needed to find a department faculty or professor who had a specific background in her field or one that overlapped with her work significantly.  She ended up having a wonderful discussion at a European conference with Dr. Asta Zelenkauskaite, a Drexel faculty member in the Department of Communication.  They connected online about their work beforehand and eventually Dr. Fehér asked about her plans for Fulbright research, which led Dr. Zelenkauskaite to invite Dr. Fehér to Drexel.  The Communications Department Head, Dr. Hilde Van den Bulck, was also supportive of Dr. Fehér's plans. After a yearlong selection process, Dr. Fehér was set to visit Drexel starting Spring 2020. Three days prior to Dr. Fehér’s departure, the U.S. government announced the travel ban for incoming travel from Europe due to COVID-19.  Since Dr. Fehér has two kids and a husband, there was a complete redesign of their lives, but the Communications Department was supportive of her work.  They said she could try to make it work by waiting to see how things went since it was very early on in the pandemic but ultimately it was decided to delay her visit until the pandemic had settled down.

Around the Spring of 2021 it was becoming clear that Dr. Fehér may be able to come to Drexel for her research and started working with her Drexel colleagues to start her in-person collaboration in Fall 2021.  Dr. Fehér considered a few factors when narrowing down which institution she would like to continue her work at. She had to carefully consider what university would support her unique research and support her project. Furthermore, Dr. Fehér sought to select a reputable university, and Drexel’s valuing of interdisciplinary studies stood out to her.  Dr. Fehér also believed that she would be able to create long-lasting connections with Drexel over the course of her limited time at Drexel.  

Dr. Fehér has already accomplished a lot since arriving stateside, including speaking at a conference in Washington, DC, while also receiving a scholarship to attend a conference at MIT.  Dr. Fehér’s research is very important; she explained that artificial technology is quickly emerging and being used in everything from social media, mainstream media, shopping, and streaming.   With constant new ways this technology can be used emerging, there must be regulation and debate about ethical issues that may emerge.  This is where she believes academia plays a key role in being responsible for discussing and understanding the key issues for policy making as well as business policy.  Dr. Fehér and her colleagues have already established a platform-based global hub in which they hope to collect 100+ experts to share their knowledge, research, and initiatives on the subject. In parallel, they are preparing a workshop and publications about the emerging field.

Dr. Fehér has already been to the US twice before, but this is only the second time for her oldest child and the first time for her youngest.  She said she loves two faces of Philadelphia: the downtown and its nature.  She finds the architecture of the city as well as the nature like Fairmount Park and the Schuylkill trail beautiful.  Some of her favorite places in the city include old city, Penn’s Landing, and University City. For recreation, she is a big fan of the bike-sharing and hobby runner as well. She ran among the best at the legendary Rocky Run 2021 event in Philadelphia.

For more information about applying to a Fulbright or hosting a Fulbright scholar, email