Nazneen Uddin one of 18 recipients nationwide to receive prestigious fellowship

ANN ARBOR, MICH., March 14, 2011 – A third-year University of Michigan medical student was recently awarded a prestigious Luce fellowship to live and work in Asia for a year. The competitive program aims to enhance understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society.

Nazneen Uddin was one of only 18 students selected nationwide to receive the fellowship, which provides a stipend, language training, and individualized professional placement.

The program is unique among American-Asian exchanges in that it is intended for young leaders who have limited academic and international experience related to Asia and may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in an Asian-immersion experience.

“I was looking for an opportunity that combined my career interests with cultural enrichment and leadership development,” said Uddin. “I want to gain knowledge of another region of the world to help me become a physician who is sensitive to the personal, moral, and religious beliefs of patients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Culture and cure are connected.”

Uddin boasts an impressive list of accomplishments, including a full-tuition Distinguished Student Leadership Scholarship to UM-Dearborn where she completed her undergraduate studies with a 4.0 GPA and was named valedictorian of her graduating class.

Before starting at the University of Michigan Medical School in 2008, she studied Arabic at the University of Jordan as a recipient of the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship and also in Cairo, Egypt. The following summer, she visited hospitals and clinics throughout Egypt, conducting a research project comparing attitudes of women in urban and rural Egypt regarding breast cancer. She presented her findings at the International Breast and Cervical Cancer Symposium in the Middle East and Africa, held in Cairo in 2010.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Nazneen will become a leader that has a tremendous influence on others who are working on the interface of health in society,” said Joseph Kolars, senior associate dean for education and global initiatives at the U-M Medical School. “She takes a very inquiring, sensitive approach to others as well as to new opportunities. I am impressed with her desire to immerse herself in a new culture where she can be a bridge to a greater understanding of the cultural influences on health.”

Uddin currently plans to go into primary care, aiming to work with underserved populations in Detroit and focus on cross-cultural health care disparities. She also hopes to continue promoting global health equity through international relief work and translational research.

The Luce Foundation will confirm the location of Uddin’s placement in May. The organization arranges placements tailored to each scholar’s professional interests, background, and qualifications. Placements combine cultural immersion and professional enrichment to facilitate a broader understanding and appreciation of the host culture.

“Nazneen is an exceptional person, and we are pleased she was selected as a Luce Scholar,” said Ken Kollman, director of the U-M International Institute. “Her impressive credentials make her an ideal choice for this program. Nazneen represents the academic excellence and service commitments of many of our students here at the University of Michigan.”

Luce Scholar candidates are nominated by 75 colleges and universities. Successful candidates are selected on the basis of their high achievement record, outstanding leadership ability, clearly defined interests, and evidence of potential for professional accomplishments. Finalists complete two rounds of rigorous one-on-one interviews.

At U-M, the program is administered by the International Institute where dedicated staff members are available to advise students regarding the application process. College seniors, graduate students, and young professionals in a variety of fields, including but not limited to the arts, journalism, law, medicine, science, public health, environmental studies, and international relations may apply.

For more information about the Luce Scholars Program, visit

University of Michigan International Institute
The University of Michigan International Institute houses 18 centers and programs focused on world regions and global themes. The institute develops and supports international teaching, research, and public affairs programs to promote global understanding across the campus and to build connections with intellectuals and institutions worldwide. For more information, visit


News Category: students
Department: International Institute