Science and Mathematics Complex on Buffalo State University campus

Buffalo State University Mathematics Professor Receives Fulbright Scholarship


Buffalo State mathematics professor Hongliang “Jimmy” Xu has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar Award, a competitive fellowship that provides an opportunity to teach and conduct research abroad.

Xu, who will spend five months teaching at Fulbright University Vietnam during the spring 2025 semester, was inspired to apply for a Fulbright given his experience with international recruitment and desire to enhance Buffalo State University.

“I am excited to represent Buffalo State on the world stage,” said Xu, who coordinates the applied mathematics program.

Headshot of Jimmy Xu

Fulbright Scholar Jimmy Xu, Ph.D.

From 2010 to 2020, Xu played an important role in designing, developing, and executing Buffalo State’s 3+2 program, a collaborative effort that allowed students to complete three years of study at home institutions in China and attend Buffalo State for the fourth (undergraduate) and fifth (graduate) years, receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the home institution and Buffalo State respectively. Although the pandemic disrupted the program, Xu remains inspired by its impact.

“We recruited more than a hundred 3+2 students,” said Xu, who received the Buffalo State President’s Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creativity in 2017. “I hope the university can resume this kind of international collaboration not only with China, but other countries as well. I thought the Fulbright was a good opportunity.”

Xu’s project centers on conferring the benefits of applied learning in the United States on the traditional classroom environment in Vietnam, a move away from the theoretical learning common in Asian countries. “Students are passive learners; they’re not getting the variety of learning in different settings,” Xu said. “Economics are booming in Vietnam. The country needs more students trained in STEM, who have learned in the classroom but also have applied learning experience to enhance their post-education opportunities.”

The project’s anticipated gains are not only for Vietnam; Xu’s motivation is helping Buffalo State benefit from the educational collaboration and expand its reach into Southeast Asia. He plans to study the impact of cultural influence on student learning outcomes and share that information with Buffalo State faculty so that programs can be tailored to eliminate obstacles for international students with different learning styles.

“I want to put my effort more toward educational aspects,” Xu said. “I want to be involved with international education programs and understand student learning styles and challenges, so as a university we can serve them better. That’s my goal.”

A Fulbright fellowship means being away for an entire semester; Xu secured support from Buffalo State before applying. Buffalo State has supported several past Fulbright scholars, including Aimable Twagilimana, a Buffalo State University English professor who has been awarded a record four Fulbright scholarships or fellowships.

“This is a testament to Dr. Xu’s outstanding abilities as a researcher,” said Kelly Frothingham, interim dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. “His award reflects positively on Buffalo State, because Fulbright scholars raise the profile of their universities.” 

Amitra Wall, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, added, “Fulbright scholars make an impact around the world. This achievement increases our reputation and should be applauded.” 

About the Fulbright
Established in 1946, under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given more than 400,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields and include 62 Nobel laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 80 MacArthur Fellows, and thousands of leaders across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.