Jessica De Palo of Teachers College, Columbia University, and a 2001 Red Bank Catholic graduate, has been selected by the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to Finland in psychology. Jessica has been selected from a national pool of candidates to conduct research at the University of Jyväskylä this spring (pending travel restrictions due to the coronavirus). While at RBC, Jessica was a basketball standout and was inducted into the Red Bank Catholic Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017.

Her research project will test psychometric properties and initial validation of the Career Adapt-Abilities Scale - Dual Career Form (CAAS-DC), developed by Dr. Ryba in Jyväskylä, Finland, in U.S. intercollegiate student-athletes. The study will look at the potential for the CAAS-DC to assist in identifying psychological resources and competencies that can be used for developing intervention programs to support student-athletes’ transition from sport into their professional career, as well as exploring if the CAAS-DC can be used as a self-report inventory to assess student-athletes' self-regulation capacities to better support them during their student-athlete experience. Additionally the study will contribute to cross-cultural research, comparing data found in the U.S. to Dr. Ryba's research with Finnish athletes.

Jessica is hopeful that this research will lead to new insights surrounding student-athlete career development and believes that she will be able to utilize and implement recommendations that will be drawn from this research in her current role as the Associate Athletic Director for Enrichment Services at Columbia University. If COVID-19 restrictions allow Jessica to conduct her research study this spring, she will be going to Jyväskylä, Finland from January 2021 to May 2021. Jessica will continue her position with Columbia Athletics upon her return.

De Palo is one of over 2,100 U.S. citizens who will conduct research and/or teach English abroad, share knowledge, and foster meaningful connections across international communities and the United States for the 2020-2021 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected in an open, merit-based competition that considers leadership potential, academic and/or professional achievement, and record of service. As Fulbright alumni, their careers are enriched by joining a network of thousands of esteemed scholars, many of whom are leaders in their fields. Fulbright alumni include 60 Nobel Prize laureates, 88 Pulitzer Prize recipients, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to forge lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, counter misunderstandings, and help people and nations work together toward common goals. Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has enabled more than 390,000 dedicated and accomplished students, scholars, artists, teachers, and professionals of all backgrounds to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and find solutions to shared international concerns. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in more than 160 countries worldwide. Congratulations Jessica, on this outstanding achievement!