PNW Professor Returns from Exciting and Educational Fulbright Program in Finland
Purdue University Northwest faculty member, Maureen Mascha, associate professor of Accounting in the College of Business, recently returned from an 11-month Fulbright program at the University of Vaasa in Finland.
“It was an experience unlike any other,” says Mascha. “Just living in a culture that is different from the U.S. was educational. The ability to do research full-time was highly beneficial, and it introduced me to new colleagues and new avenues of research.”
Mascha received a Fulbright Award to conduct research related to sustainability reporting and textual data analytics as it relates to the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). The SFDR is a hallmark of the European Union’s (EU) sustainable finance agenda and seeks to increase the transparency of sustainability claims and decrease the use of greenwashing by financial firms.
“The research looks at the readability, the tone and the effect of both on various performance outcomes for EU reports since the regulation versus U.S. reports for the same time period,” says Mascha. “I was introduced to capital markets research while there which opened up new streams of research to me.”
Mascha is looking forward to incorporating her research and experiences into her courses. “Most students are aware of the obvious differences of how the EU differs from the U.S. in its regulation and financial reporting,” she says. “I don’t think they’re aware of the extent to which the EU regulates most of Europe and how that affects everyday life.” She also plans to expand the parameters of a project in her graduate-level communications course in Accounting by having students compare the readability and tone of both the annual 10-K regulatory reports and the sustainability reports in public company filings in the U.S.
It was an experience unlike any other . . . The ability to do research full-time was highly beneficial, and it introduced me to new colleagues and new avenues of research.
Outside of the university setting, Mascha was able to take advantage of several Fulbright gatherings, present her work to various university and secondary students and visit different areas of Finland. One of those remarkable places was Rovaniemi, located on the Arctic Circle in Lapland. There she traveled by dogsled to visit the official hometown of Santa Claus, took in the Northern Lights display, received a certificate for crossing the Arctic Circle, and even received her reindeer driving license.
The Fulbright Scholar Program is the flagship international education exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and designed to foster international understanding and cooperation between the U.S. and other countries. Established in 1946 by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the program gives faculty, scholars and professionals the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research in each other’s countries. It is one of the most prestigious and well-known international exchanges programs in the world.
PNW was recognized in 2023 as a Fulbright Top Producing Institution for U.S. Scholars. PNW ranked among other top higher education institutions in the Master’s category, as designated by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Mascha and Meden Isaac-Lam, associate professor of Chemistry, represented PNW on separate engagements abroad during the 2022-23 time period.