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WMU associate professor chosen for education fellowship

Nov. 30, 2010

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's Dr. Laura Spielvogel is one of 25 recipients of a competitive fellowship to develop educational products for the Kauffman Education Ventures program.

Spielvogel, associate professor of anthropology, was selected for the program from a pool of more than 1,400 applicants. She is part of a three-person team charged with developing two interactive "social e-textbooks," one covering cultural anthropology and the other on the Civil War and Reconstruction.

From mid-February through May, fellows in the Kauffman Education Ventures program will be immersed in an intensive, residential, hands-on fellowship designed to catalyze the creation of educational companies with the potential to change the face of education and generate thousands of jobs and dramatic economic benefits. Part of the time will be spent at Kauffman's headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., and the remaining time will be spent participating as an intern at a relevant company or business.

Spielvogel and her team completed initial prototypes for these new interactive textbooks this past summer and have received interest from textbook publishers to market and distribute these e-textbooks, and publish existing print-based textbook titles on the social e-textbook platform.

"My intention is to use the fellowship to further my research agenda by completing an e-textbook for cultural anthropology; to continue strengthening my qualifications to teach courses such as Cultures of Asia, Peoples of the World, Anthropology through Fiction, and Sex, Gender, and Culture; and to develop professional contacts that will help place our students in high-quality internships in education, social media, software development and Web design," Spielvogel says.

The pool of 1,400 applicants for the fellowship was initially winnowed to 50, and those educators were required to spend a week at the Kauffman Lab in a competitive "boot camp." The final selections were made by a panel of judges and coaches.

A WMU faculty member since 2000, Spielvogel works on issues of gender, popular culture and globalization in contemporary Japan and with notions of identity and community that define cultures in the United States. She is the author of "Working Out in Japan: Shaping the Female Body in Tokyo Fitness Clubs," (Duke University Press, 2003), and numerous articles. She earned her doctoral degree from Yale University in 1998.

For more information, contact Dr. Laura Spielvogel at laura.spielvogel@wmich.edu or (269) 387-4140.

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Media contact: Deanne Puca, (269) 387-8400, deanne.puca@wmich.edu

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