Friends of Fulbright Finland Alumni Council

The Friends of Fulbright Alumni Council was established in May 2015.  As a working group, its purpose is to consider how to develop the American alumni program further through gatherings, enhanced communication, FoFF Alumni Enrichment Award support and development, and other topics as suggested by alumni. The Council consists of 6-8 American alumni of the Finnish Fulbright program, recruited from throughout the U.S. and representing all the different grant programs.

Current Council Members

Headshot of Bruce Blair
Bruce Blair
2019 Fulbright-EDUFI Fellow, University of Jyväskylä
Decatur, Georgia

Bruce L. Blair is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at Clayton State University near Atlanta, Georgia, USA.  He was a Fulbright-EDUFI Research Fellow for 2019-2020 and was primarily located at the University of Jyväskylä where he researched Finnish nuclear waste management efforts.  Like all Fulbright scholars, Bruce’s Fulbright was ended prematurely in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bruce’s research background not only includes nuclear waste management on the country and international level, but also includes international cooperation and conflict, non-profit management, and public-private partnerships.  Bruce is also an experienced higher education administrator with previous appointments in student success, international education, graduate education, and on-campus housing.

Bruce is excited to serve on the FoFF Alumni Council and to help pay forward all of the help and aid he has received. 

Cheryl J. Fish
Cheryl J. Fish
2006 Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar, University of Tampere
New York, New York

Cheryl J. Fish is an environmental justice scholar, poet and fiction writer. Since her Fulbright in 2007, Fish has written about extraction and mining in Sami areas of Fennoscandia, and Sami responses through activist film, photography, and ecomedia in publications such as Critical Norths: Space Nature, Theory, and Nordic Narratives of Nature and Environment. Fish is the author of Black and White Women’s Travel Narratives and co-editor with Farah J. Griffin, of A Stranger in the Village: Two Centuries of African American Travel Writing. Her new book of poems and photographs, THE SAUNA IS FULL OF MAIDS, is based on sauna culture, friendships, the rhythms of the Kalevala and Sami yoiks. Her debut novel, OFF THE YOGA MAT, featuring a character who works for Nokia in Tampere, is forthcoming from Livingston Press in 2022. She teaches at BMCC, City University of New York, and is a docent lecturer at University of Helsinki.

Picture of Annette Jones
Annette Jones
2007 Fulbright Administrator Exchange, Central School of Viiala
North Bethesda, Maryland

Dr. Annette Marie Jones, an educational consultant, has served as former assistant director of school leadership for the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), school principal, assistant principal, and teacher in Indiana and Maryland.  During her tenure as principal, she led two schools to the coveted National Blue Ribbon Award from the United States Department of Education. 

As an avid traveler, Dr. Jones has participated in numerous international programs, including the Senator J. William Fulbright Scholarship Program to Finland, United States Department of State Fellowship to Argentina, and the Global Exchange Initiative to China.  She has consistently integrated global perspectives and international partnerships into her schools' culture and leadership programs.

Dr. Jones’s educational passions include leadership formation and development, organizational leadership, teacher leadership, and global education.  She is unwavering in her collaborative work to develop professional presentations, programs, publications, and resources for national and international leaders.  In her leisure time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with her family and friends, exercising, decorating, and gardening.

Dr. Jones holds a Doctoral degree in educational administration and supervision and a Specialist in Education degree in school superintendency from Ball State University.  Her doctoral research centered on building teacher leadership capacity in award-winning schools throughout the United States.  She completed a Master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from Butler University and a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and French education (minor) from Wittenberg University.

Picture of Edwin Loovis
Edwin (Mike) Loovis
2010 Fulbright Scholar Program, University of Jyväskylä
Special Project Adviser for the Rediscover Suomi Journey
Cleveland, Ohio

E. Michael Loovis received his PhD from The Ohio State University in 1975.  He is professor emeritus at Cleveland State University where he taught from 1978 to 2013 and where he is currently chairperson of the Department of Health and Human Performance having come out of retirement in July 2016. He is a fellow of the International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity.  He was a Fulbright Scholar in 2011, teaching and doing research at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland.  In 2015, he served as the Mark R. Shibles Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Maine. The development of fundamental motor skills and patterns in typically developing children and development of motor proficiency in children and youth with intellectual disabilities are primary areas of research.  

Picture of Maedeh Pourrabi
Maedeh Pourrabi
2019 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching, University of Jyväskylä
Detroit, Michigan

Maedeh Pourrabi is a lower school science teacher at University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe, MI. She is passionate in implementing sustainable development into school curriculum and has developed projects related to renewable energy, climate action, the water crisis, and the UN's Agenda 2030. She is a National Geographic certified teacher and believes in the commitment to inspire the next generation of explorers, conservationists, and changemakers. She conducted research on sustainability and global citizenship education (GCED) in Finland in 2020. Even though her time was cut short due to Covid-19, she was still able to visit twelve schools in nine Finnish cities and developed an ethnographic study to analyze Finland's approach to GCED. The study also aimed to evaluate the attitudes of 29 teachers and 180 students towards global citizenship practices at their schools. Maedeh is also a human rights promoter and is a member of the United Nations Association of the USA. 

Michael Saffle
Michael Saffle
2000 Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies, University of Helsinki
Spokane, Washington

Michael Saffle retired as professor of Music and Humanities at Virginia Tech in 2020, after working there from 1978. Saffle earned his joint Ph.D. in musicology and humanities at Stanford University. Among his publications are articles and reviews in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Notes, Acta Musicologica, Asian Music, the International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, the Programmhefte of Bayreuth’s Wagner Festival, and the Leonardo Music Journal as well as contributions to the International Dictionary of Black Composers and the second editions of Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, and AmeriGrove online. His books include Franz Liszt: A Research and Information Guide, revised and republished by Routledge in 2004 and again in 2009, He held fellowships from the Fulbright and Humboldt Foundations as well as the American Philosophical Society, the Rockefeller Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy. On his sixtieth birthday, Professor Saffle was honored with a ‘Festschrift’ published as an issue of the cultural-studies eJournal Spaces of Identity [Volume 6, No. 3 (3 December 2006)].

Kelsea Turner
Kelsea Turner
2019 U.S. Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching Research, University of Jyväskylä
Spartanburg, South Carolina

Kelsea Turner is an Ed.M. candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is an enthusiastic practitioner of portraiture (a social science inquiry method that combines empiricism and aesthetics) and her first portrait explored her daughter's experience as a young teen in Finland and the thin line that separated her moments of darkness and light there.

Though Kelsea's Fulbright DA was cut short by COVID-19, she treasured every moment of the winter she spent in Finland. In 2020, she returned to graduate school to reorient and reimagine the chapter beyond her middle school teaching career. She remains passionate about engaging in and facilitating mindful, meaningful, transformative learning.  

With an enduring commitment to broadening perspectives through cultural exchange and finding complex goodness beyond intellectual, emotional, and experiential comfort zones, Kelsea is thrilled to serve on the FoFF Alumni Council. 

Members for the Term Ending in May 2024

Bruce Blair
2019 Fulbright-EDUFI Fellow, University of Jyväskylä
Decatur, Georgia

Annette Jones
2007 Fulbright Administrator Exchange, Central School of Viiala
North Bethesda, Maryland

Maedeh Pourrabi
2019 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching, University of Jyväskylä
Detroit, Michigan

Members for the Term Ending in May 2023

Cheryl J. Fish
2006 Fulbright U.S. : Core Fulbright Scholar Program, University of Tampere
New York, New York

Michael Saffle
2000 U.S.: Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies, University of Helsinki
Spokane, Washington

Kelsea Turner
2019 U.S. Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching Research, University of Jyväskylä
Spartanburg, South Carolina

Former Council Members

Members for the Term May 2020 - May 2022:

Annette Jones
2007 Fulbright Administrator Exchange, Central School of Viiala
North Bethesda, Maryland

Maedeh Pourrabi
2019 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching, University of Jyväskylä
Detroit, Michigan

John Self
2014 Fulbright Haaga-Helia Scholar Award
San Rafael, California 

Bin Yang
2018 Fulbright-Aalto University Distinguished Chair
Richland, Washington

Members for the Term May 2019 - May 2021:

Casie Hermansson
2014 Fulbright-University of Turku Scholar Award
2016 Friends of Fulbright Finland Enrichment Award, Åbo Akademi University, University of Turku
Pittsburg, Kansas

Edwin (Mike) Loovis
2010 Fulbright Scholar Program, University of Jyväskylä
Special Project Adviser for the Rediscover Suomi Journey
Cleveland, Ohio

Barbara Mossberg
1982, 1990 Bicentennial Chair in American Studies, University of Helsinki
Eugene, Oregon

Members for the Term May 2018 - May 2020:

Yvonne Allen
2014 Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching, University of Jyväskylä
Campbell, New York

Phil Alperson
2012 Scholar Grantee to University of the Arts Helsinki, Sibelius Academy
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Doug Maynard
2006 Scholar Grantee to University of Helsinki
Madison, Wisconsin

Members for the Term May 2017 - May 2019:

Hank Bullamore
2000 Scholar Grantee to University of Turku
Frostburg, Maryland

Joan Kluwe
1999 Graduate Student to Metsäntutkimuslaitos, Rovaniemi
Anchorage, Alaska

Members for the Term May 2016 - May 2018:

Nancy Commins
2011 Fulbright-University of Turku Scholar Award
Louisville, Colorado                              

Karen Martin 
2013 Distinguished Fulbright Award in Teaching to Jyväskylä University
Healy, Alaska

Ben Zeller
2012 Scholar Grantee to Åbo Akademi
Lake Forest, Illinois

Members for the term May 2015 - May 2017:

Bradley Boehringer
2014 Fulbright-Cimo student grantee to Laurea University of Applied Sciences
Portland, Maine

John Helling
2011 MCPD grantee to Helsinki City Library
Bloomington, Indiana

Kenneth Kolson
2006 Scholar grantee to Oulu University
Alexandria, Virginia

Suzanne Louis
2001 MCPD grantee to Aalto University
Charlottesville, Virginia

Paul Majkut
2007 Specialist grantee to Jyväskylä University
San Diego, California

Council members are appointed for 2 years.

Council members have been active personally in the various FoFF projects:

  • Ken Kolson represented the American alumni on the Finnish Embassy’s Suomi100 planning committee
  • Nancy Commins and Phil Alperson have held FoFF gatherings at their homes
  • Yvonne Allen coordinated a get together at the FinnFest in Buffalo in 2015
  • Mike Loovis presented a special recognition gift, photo of the “Spirit of Finland” sculpture, to the Finnish Ambassador at the November 2017 reception

And numerous Council members have donated to the FoFF Alumni Enrichment Fund, joined the Welcome Network and promoted Fulbright Finland through the Centennial Ambassadors initiative.