Joseph Oleniczak has been awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching
Program Grant through the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural
Affairs and the Institute of International Education. This grant is competitively selected
for award by the Presidentially-appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
and made possible through funds that are appropriated annually by the U.S. Congress.
The purpose of the Fulbright Award in Teaching Program is to provide K-12 teachers
with the opportunity to take a leave of absence from their regular teaching duties to do
practical research abroad. For his participation in this program, Joseph will travel to
Finland during the Spring 2019 semester to conduct his research.
The overachieving goal of Joseph’s Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching research
project is to explore the framework of biotechnology career pathways from secondary
education to the workplace in Finland. Specifically, he plans to study how Finnish
students transition from secondary school vocational technology education programs
into the biotechnology workforce or into higher education in biotechnology at
polytechnics or universities. Additionally, a key part of his research project is aimed at
understanding why Finland is so successful in the recruitment, retention, and teaching
of female students in secondary vocational education programs with an emphasis on
Joseph intends to use the knowledge he gains to enhance the dual enrollment Austin
Community College and Austin Independent School District Biotechnology Level I
Certificate pathway he runs at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy High School in
Furthermore, Joseph plans to broadly disseminate his research within the secondary
and higher education biotechnology workforce education community both nationally
and internationally to develop best practices.