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Narun (Non) Pornpattananangkul: A Fulbright Success Story!

Published Date : Apr 29, 2019


By Dr Bruce B. Svare
2004 and 2014 U.S. Scholar
Professor of of Psychology and Neuroscience, the University at Albany, Albany, New York, USA.

In 2006, I had the good fortune of receiving a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award to Thailand. I was thrilled to bring my discipline of behavioral neuroscience to Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok for a year of teaching and assisting with faculty and curriculum development. My experiences teaching and mentoring students and faculty were very rewarding and life changing for me. I believe that I was able to impact my students and Thai colleagues in positive ways that continue to this day.

In my first class at Chulalongkorn, I had the good fortune to meet and get to know Narun (Non) Pornpattananangkul, a student who was in his third year at the university. He took my class in behavioral neuroscience and soon found himself intrigued by the subject matter to the point that he started thinking seriously about attending graduate school in psychology and neuroscience. Our discussions both inside and outside the classroom lead me to believe that his curiosity, drive and intelligence would make him an ideal candidate for my discipline. I proceeded to encourage him to dream big and stay focused on his desire to someday attend a top rated Ph.D. program in psychology and neuroscience. I also encouraged Non to apply for a Fulbright award to continue his studies in the United States.

As part of his education at Chulalongkorn University where he majored in psychology, Non also spent a year taking additional psychology coursework at the University of Queensland in Australia. After graduating from Chulalongkorn in 2008, he applied for acceptance into the psychology doctoral program (Brain, Behavior and Cognition) at Northwestern University. He simultaneously applied to the Thailand Fulbright award program (Thai-US Educational Foundation (TUSEF)) to support his studies. With acceptance into Northwestern and support from TUSEF as well as a US National Institute of Health (NIH) fellowship, Non embarked upon his graduate neuroscience studies in 2009. He received an MS in psychology in 2011 and his PhD in psychology in 2015. He specialized in the field of social, clinical and cultural neuroscience while at Northwestern.

Non then obtained more training in his field by spending two years as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Psychology and Neurobiology at National University in Singapore. While there he specialized in the field of decision neuroscience and neuroeconomics. Most recently, he has conducted additional postdoctoral work in clinical neuroscience at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Washington.

Non already has over two dozen publications in high impact scientific journals such as Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, Psychoneuroendocrinology, and Neurolimage. He is at the forefront of the field of social neuroscience and in the years to come will be one of the leaders in this relatively new and important research concentration. The Fulbright program gave Non his start in graduate school. He commented to me at one time that “Fulbright made a huge difference in my life. It allowed me to pursue my passion for research on the study of brain function and behavior. I will always be indebted to the Fulbright program and the people who supported me during my education.”

Non Pornpattananangkul and his wife Yao are looking forward to the next step in their journey. In the fall of 2019, Non will be starting a faculty position in the prestigious Department of Psychology at the University of Otago, New Zealand. His close family, mother Supannee, father Damrong, sisters Nu and Noi, and brother Nord have supported Non every step of his life. Like me, they understand the power of the Fulbright program to change lives. Narun Pornpattananangkul is another wonderful example of a Fulbright success story. It is comforting to know that this joint program between the United States and Thailand continues to thrive today and will be there for others like Non in the years to come.