Boulder resident earns Fulbright Scholarship

Max Seigal to study effects of lobster farming on Vietnam's coastal waters

DELAWARE, OH (05/04/2011)(readMedia)-- Ohio Wesleyan University graduate Max Seigal of Boulder, Colo., has earned a competitive Fulbright Scholarship to spend 10 months researching the impact of lobster farming on the coastal waters of Vietnam.

"Aquaculture (marine farming) plays an important role in relieving the demand for wild fish stocks, reducing overfishing, promoting economic growth, and increasing the number of jobs available," said Seigal, who majored in environmental studies, zoology, and economics at Ohio Wesleyan. "Aquaculture, however, presents a challenge for the sustainability of ocean fisheries. If poorly operated, these fish farms have the potential to damage the ocean and coastal resources through habitat destruction, improper waste disposal, and invasion by foreign species and pathogens.

"My ambition is to improve aquaculture technology," Seigal said. "This is especially important for developing countries, such as Vietnam, where resources are limited and the fishing industry provides economic stability and a major supply of food."

Seigal said Vietnam is the world's largest producer of farmed lobster, with annual value of approximately $80 million. Combining all aspects of his Ohio Wesleyan education, Seigal's Fulbright-sponsored research will focus on the environmental, economic, and social issues associated with lobster farming in the central coastal provinces of Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen.

The Fulbright Scholar Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is the largest U.S. international exchange program for students, scholars, and professionals in the world. It currently operates in more than 155 countries, with recipients chosen based on their academic merit and leadership potential. Since its founding in 1946, Fulbright alumni have been awarded 43 Nobel Prizes and gone on to become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, university presidents, journalists, artists, professors, and teachers.

While at Ohio Wesleyan, Seigal earned the university's Richard B. Alexander Award for Excellence in Environmental Studies and was invited to join the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society. He completed an independent study focused on marine biology and aquaculture, and conducted research in a number of other classes including tropical biology, comparative physiology, and ecology courses. He also studied abroad at the Island School in the Bahamas.

Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones, Ph.D., said Seigal took full advantage of his liberal arts education, pursing interests in multiple fields and combining them to analyze, strategize, and make a difference in the world.

"To earn a triple major at Ohio Wesleyan and to incorporate all of that collective knowledge into a Fulbright-supported research project is an amazing accomplishment," Jones said. "Max's research has such wide-ranging implications. It will be a joy to watch his research and his career flourish over the coming years."

Seigal's Fulbright award is the fourth earned by a university graduate or faculty member in the past 16 months.

OWU graduating senior Kristen Lear was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship last month to study a critically endangered bat species in Australia. Gloria Twesigye, a 2007 OWU alumna, earned a Fulbright award in April 2010 to research efforts in Germany to rehabilitate former child soldiers from the Republic of Uganda. And history professor Michael W. Flamm, Ph.D., earned a Fulbright Scholarship in January 2010 to teach two courses at the University of San Andrés in Buenos Aires. The courses explored the causes, costs, and consequences of America's emergence as a global power during the 20th century.

Learn more about the Fulbright Scholarship program at Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan at

Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation's premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio's capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU's close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 45 states and 52 countries. Ohio Wesleyan earned a 2009 Presidential Award for Excellence in General Community Service, is featured in the book "Colleges That Change Lives," and is included on the "best colleges" lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review.