2024-25 Fulbright: Alice Young

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2024-25 Fulbright: Alice Young

Color portrait of Alice Young on a red campus background
Alice Young

Alice Young of Omaha, who will graduate from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln on May 18 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, has earned a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to conduct research in Japan.

A Regents Scholar and member of the University Honors Program, Young is a psychology major on the pre-medicine track. Her research focuses on end-of-life care and cultural perspectives in the United States and Japan. For her Fulbright project, she plans to survey patients at urban hospitals and nursing homes to uncover attitudes toward advanced directives and end-of-life care.

“Both the United States’ and Japan’s elderly populations struggle with depression, and end-of-life planning can be daunting,” she said. “For care providers and advocates, before aiming to implement advanced directives more broadly, it is important to first understand societal and cultural attitudes.”

After data collection and analysis, she plans to publish a paper to inform policymakers in both countries.

As an undergraduate, Young has conducted research with the Violence Intervention for Survivors of Trauma and Abuse Lab, investigating how choices motivate behavior such as drinking or sexual aggression. For her Honors thesis, she researched music and perceived stress.

“Realizing I was less stressed in one lab course than in another, and thus producing higher quality lab reports there, I analyzed the differences,” she said. “One teaching assistant had played music in the room, and I found myself in a much better mood afterward.”

Young has also served as a teaching assistant in chemistry and, as a Borlaug-Ruan Scholar, presented a paper on food insecurity in Liberia to world leaders.

Young’s undergraduate experience provided opportunities to explore cross-cultural connections with Japan and motivated her Fulbright application. She honed her language skills through four years of study, cultural immersion, and friendship with Japanese international students.

Young also worked in health and emergency medicine roles, earning CPR and EMT licenses. As part of her Fulbright experience, she hopes to volunteer in a hospital setting in Japan.

“Working closely with Japanese researchers will increase credibility, trust and rapport, as well as ensuring a culturally appropriate approach to research collection,” she said.

Upon returning to the United States, Young plans to attend medical school to become a psychiatrist, aiming to predominantly serve elderly patients.

“Given increased life expectancies in the U.S., mental health in the elderly merits attention,” she said. “I will continue my research, working to implement ways hospitals and nursing homes can adjust protocols and environments to better serve elders’ mental health.”

The Fulbright program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, is supported by an annual appropriation made by Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, as well as partner countries around the world. Fulbright recipients 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.

At Nebraska, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships advises and nominates undergraduate candidates for 30 supported scholarships and fellowships. To learn more, students and campus community members should contact Courtney Santos, director of undergraduate research and fellowships, at courtney.santos@unl.edu.

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