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March 15, 2021

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Johnson County Community College (JCCC) is proud to be on the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced a 2020-2021 Fulbright U.S. Scholar. Laura-Harris Gascogne, fine arts professor, has accepted this prestigious award in tandem with a 2022 sabbatical. Each year the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announces institutions that received grants through the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program.

JCCC is the only Kansas institution to have a Fulbright Research Scholar recipient in 2020-2021. The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes the lists annually. However, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, grant timelines have been extended.

Gascogne, a ceramicist and a ceramic figurative sculptor, will take her expertise in terracotta sculpture to India for five months. Her end goal is to help the long tradition of terracotta sculpture-making survive in the state of West Bengal.

“My passion is to shed light and help preserve the rare gift West Bengali Kumbhakar communities offer to not only the ceramic arts but to all of humanity,” she said. “I believe that India’s rapid modernization and lack of income potential for artists has made it increasingly difficult for families to maintain viable businesses, thus cultural traditions are at risk of demise.”

The Fulbright Program was created to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. It is supported at JCCC through the International Education office, which offers opportunities to develop global awareness and learn about geo-political issues.

“Professor Laura-Harris Gascogne is a brilliant artist with a passion for her students and her craft. Being a Fulbright Scholar is recognition of the excellence she brings to the intersection of her work as an artist and her commitment to her students here at Johnson County Community College,” said Andy Bowne, JCCC president. “Her sabbatical study of pottery techniques as well as the cultural belief systems tied to art in regions of India will add to the experiences she brings to JCCC.  We are so fortunate to have talented and committed faculty like her, and our students are the beneficiaries of this experience.”

Since 1946, over 400,000 people from all backgrounds have participated in the Fulbright Program and returned with an expanded worldview, a deep appreciation for their host country and its people, and a new network of colleagues and friends. Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists and teachers. They include 60 Nobel Laureates, 88 Pulitzer Prize winners, 75 MacArthur Fellows, and thousands of leaders in private, public and nonprofit sectors. Fulbright is active in more than 160 countries and partners with governments, host institutions, corporations and foundations.