NIU music professor awarded Fulbright Scholarship

Rodrigo Villanueva set to spend Summer 2022 in Brazil as part of scholarship research.


Courtesy of Rodrigo Villanueva

NIU music professor Rodrigo Villanueva, is the recipient of one of the 2022 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Awards and will spend four months this summer teaching and conducting research in Brazil.

DeKALB— An NIU School of Music professor became the recipient of a flagship U.S. government-sponsored scholarship program that will send him to Brazil for four months as part of the Fulbright Scholars program. 

Rodrigo Villanueva, NIU School of Music professor of Jazz Studies was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award. The award will allow Villanueva to spend four months in Brazil researching Afro-Brazilian rhythms along with the opportunity to teach at two universities, over the Summer 2022 term. 

While abroad, Villanueva will also compose music for drums and percussion based on Afro-Brazilian rhythms. This project is named “Cracking the Afro-Brazilian Rhythmic Code”. Villanueva believes that there needs to be better understanding outside of the normal mediums.

“I have realized that it is my duty as an educator to expand my students’ knowledge and awareness of music styles from other cultures of the African diaspora,” Villanueva said. 

Villanueva will share knowledge and create connections across both the United States and Brazil. Fulbright Scholars often continue their research collaborations that are started abroad after they return. Scholar alumni have been known to improve their careers by joining a network of other scholars, many of which are leaders in their fields.

Fulbright alumni have 60 Nobel Prize laureates, 86 Pulitzer Prize recipients and 37 who have served as head of state or government. 

The Fulbright Program, the flagship international exchange program, is sponsored by the U.S. government and was created to make strong connections between people in the United States and people in many other countries. The program was established in 1946 and has enabled more than 400,000 students, scholars, artists, and professionals from all backgrounds to study, teach and conduct research, according to the Fulbright program