Dr. Mary Ellen Heian Schmider has lived a life exemplary of the values of cross-cultural friendship and empowerment through education. Combined with her continuous commitment to the work of the Fulbright Association, we are pleased to announce that Mary Ellen Schmider will serve as President of the Board through the end of 2019, as she finishes out the term of her predecessor, Dr. Manfred Philipp, following his resignation. In recognition of her new role as president and Women’s History Month, the Fulbright Association would like to take the opportunity to honor her both as a lifelong friend and supporter of the Association, as well as a researcher and academic whose work in History and Women’s Studies had sparked intellectual study and thoughtful discussions across the globe.
The University of Maryland University College honored Dr. Schmider this month as a part of their National Women’s History Month series recognizing women who have led efforts to end war, violence, and injustice while promoting the use of nonviolence to improve society. On March 15, she was invited as a guest speaker to UMUC’s Academic Center at Largo Auditorium in Maryland, to give her presentation, “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence.” Her work showcased pioneering female leadership within a range of fields over the past 100 years, beginning with Jane Addams of Hull House, who was the first female Nobel Peace Prize laureate in America. After the presentation, Dr. Schmider was awarded UMUC’s Certificate of Appreciation, and recognized by the Office of Diversity and Equity.
A recipient of two Senior Fulbright Lecturer Awards, Dr. Schmider embarked on her first Fulbright grant to the People’s Republic of China in 1997, and then went to Republic of Macedonia in 2005. Since then, she has become a leader in engagement within the Fulbright Association. She has served twice as interim Executive Director of the Fulbright Association, and has been an active member of the Board of Directors within a variety of committees, including the Prize Selection Committee. As a result, she presented the J. William Fulbright Prize for Mutual Understanding to Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Germany at a ceremony in January.
Her engagement with the Association has also led her to working with the Travel Programs, including building a partnership with nonprofit group Cultural Heritage Across Borders for Service Corps Trips to the Balkans. An advocate for local leadership and grassroots engagement, Dr. Schmider is also the founder and sponsor of the Annual Chapter Awards, which recognize programming and advocacy efforts by Fulbright Association Chapters at the annual conference.
Dr. Schmider currently teaches online as an Adjunct Professor of History and Women’s Studies at UMUC. She previously served as Graduate Dean and Research Officer at the Minnesota State University of Moorhead. A Midwesterner by origin, she currently lives in Wisconsin with her husband.