Florin Ovidiu Călțun

Fulbright Visiting Scholar, 2018-2019

The immersion in the everyday life of a USA higher education institution as a Fulbright scholar is an experience that deserves any effort. Fulbright Fellows are considered highly professional visitors and supported to finalize with excellent results their academic project (teaching or research) agreed with the host university coordinator. You will be received with sympathy from the first day of your stay and officially presented to the department. You will be the beneficiary of the facilities that the university generously offers to you. (office, access to the academic platform, access to the classrooms and / or labs activities, supplies, etc.).





CESAME - Center for STEM Education of California State Polytechnic University – Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where my research project was carried on, is a pole of excellence in California and USA. CESAME implements several programs addressing students and teachers. A special attention is paid to the underrepresented groups in STEM and to their inclusion in the American educational system. I had the opportunity to observe these programs running for almost 6 months starting with the first days of the academic year in September 2018. I followed and participated in the activities promoting the center and the programs, the training with the in-service teachers, the activities with the future teachers and the activities for the middle schools students. I observed and assessed the CESAME programs in agreement with the main objective of the educational research project “Comparison in between European and American best practice in STEM education”. Some results of the research were implemented at Cal Poly in activities with future elementary school teachers and are to be presented at one of the largest European conference in STEM education (GIREP-ICPE-EPEC-MPTL 2019 CONFERENCE to be held in July in Budapest). I have traveled using the Outreach Lecturing Funds Program at Florida State University and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University of Tallahassee to promote the Fulbright Program. I visited places, cities and universities in America and I met wonderful people.





At Cal Poly, the International Students' Organization set up social events for visiting teachers and students, facilitating a deeper knowledge and understanding of American society. The academic year was opened with the traditional Bonfire on the Pacific shore in Pismo Beach, continued with carving pumpkins on Thanksgiving, the Christmas party (Carols party and the White Elephant game) and the hikes. A great diversity of athletic, cultural, social or entertainment events can make at Cal Poly a very busy agenda. To this agenda can be added the events organized especially by a local representative of the Fulbright Agency.

At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, two of Mustangs’ slogans, namely "Learning by doing" and "Love, Empathy Respect”, respectively, are the reality of a very dynamic academic life in which the professionalism blends with the desire to push things further. The Cal Poly athletics band, fans and supporters are used to keep the competition rhythm with the slogan “Go Cal Poly Go! Go Mustangs Go!” and it feels everywhere in the campus. It was an honor for me to be hosted by the Mustangs and to be wearing the T-shirt with the logo of the College of Mathematics and Sciences for 6 months.

The effort to prepare a winning application for a Fulbright Scholar Award competition is rewarded by experiencing the American academic life, living in a multicultural environment thousands of kilometers away from home, and responding daily to professional and social challenges. It's a must-try!

My fulbright experience

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Students at the advising center

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