Eleven Vassar students were granted Fulbright Fellowships for the 2013-14 academic year. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the college ranks fifth in producing Fulbright Scholars compared to other bachelor's degree-granting institutions.
Vassar’s Fulbright Fellows are teaching and conducting research in various countries during the 2013-14 academic year. Upon winning their fellowships, here’s what they said about their plans:
Rachael Borne ’13 ETA Argentina “As an ETA in Argentina, I would facilitate cultural exchange as a person who has felt the frustrations of learning a language, who has lived in South America, and who has experience with education in a wide variety of contexts with people from all walks of life. I am passionate about creativity in the classroom, and I would like to do work in non-traditional settings during my free time, such as community arts projects or rehabilitation programs.”
Megan Cooper ’13 ETA Azerbaijan “The experience of working as an ETA in Azerbaijan will give me the opportunity not only to practice the Russian language skills I have acquired over the past few years, but simultaneously to immerse myself in an unfamiliar culture. I am particularly intrigued by Azerbaijan’s identity as a post-Soviet country with strong Middle-Eastern heritage. I look forward to interacting with university students of backgrounds entirely different from my own, but also hope to draw on my experiences working as a peer advisor with Vassar students through Residential Life to engage and share with this new group of students.”
William Dickson ’12 ETA Moldova “As a nation, Moldova promises unique cultural preservation as well as distinguished interest in the language and culture of the United States. I propose volunteerism to extend the benefit of my grant to Moldova's orphaned population. My academic background in English, my work as a writer, and my experience with Moldovan immigrants make me an excellent conduit for cultural exchange. My preference is to use poetry as central tool in that exchange.”
Anna Frumkin ’12 ETA Germany “Teaching is a passion of mine, and as an Education student, I have experience teaching elementary school children and English language learners. In Germany, I want to foster an exchange of ideas between US and German classrooms. I also want to return to Germany to learn more about German expressionist and contemporary art. I would like to work with German artists and students in a community art group as well as take art classes at a local university.”
Christine Marsico ’13 ETA Taiwan “I want to inspire children in Taiwan the way that my Taiwanese teachers have inspired me. I am active in promoting foreign language education. Two years ago, I started a Chinese after-school program at Poughkeepsie Middle School. I have also conducted original research on schooling experiences of ethnic minority students in China. As a side project in Taiwan, I hope to volunteer for an organization that prepares students for studying abroad.”
John McCartin ’11 United Kingdom “I intend to undertake a Masters of Architecture in Urban Design at the Bartlett School of Architecture within University College London. This taught degree approaches the study of urban space through proposals that rely on criticality and experimentation. By taking this course and working within the Bartlett, UCL, and London generally, I will enhance my ability to engage urbanism from a vantage point between theory and practice.”
Daniel Sohval ’13 ETA South Korea “I have developed an interest in the developing mind and language-learning. I have several years experience working with children as an instructor and a tutor. A secondary school ETA in South Korea would allow me to explore my passions for educational psychology and linguistics and prepare me for a career as a researcher in those fields. Working in a Korean school will challenge any "Western" bias in my educational philosophies in favor of more global approach.”
Luke Steele ’13 ETA Germany “I want to put my passion for languages to good use, encourage others in learning English, and improve my own German skills and knowledge of German culture, with an emphasis on interpersonal interaction. I’ve experience in mentoring, tutoring, and teaching, and I love that I learn from the students as much as they do from me. I also want to research children's literature in translation and how it affects German perceptions of other nations.”
Sidra Tareen ’13 ETA Malaysia “Working collaboratively with Malaysian teachersto enhance students’ learning and to help them achieve their goals in life is the foundation for why I am applying. I have experience and qualities that make me a caring and respectful teacher. I will engage the Malaysian community by inviting them to appreciate and share their country’s incredible biodiversity through bird watching groups, where I will also learn about their relationship with local species.”
Victoria Weiss '13 ETA Bulgaria “After studying abroad to Peru, want to explore other areas and immerse myself in another culture. Bulgaria is a vibrant country with a multicultural history and kind people. I come to the program with classroom experience, which is enhanced by my personal understanding of what learning a language entails. I wish to use my previous experience to give my students the tools they need to explore the world as I have. I also plan to volunteer with the elderly.”
Nina Weissman ’13 ETA Vietnam "My bicultural background has taught me cultural sensitivity and the importance of communication across linguistic and cultural boundaries as a means of exchanging knowledge and engaging differences. I have chosen to apply for an ETA position in Vietnam specifically because of the country's potential to become an important player on the global stage, and my personal interest in Vietnamese culture. I have significant cultural and professional experience."
Lisa Kooperman, director of Vassar’s Office for Fellowships and Pre-Health Advising, said that her office “supports more than 40 candidates each year in their applications for Fulbright grants to research, study or teach abroad.”
Other Vassar fellowship winners this year include:
• Anthony Graves-McCleary ’15, a math major, was named a Goldwater Scholar. The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation seeks those who have outstanding potential and intend to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering.
• Emma Redden '15 and Jeffrey From '15 have been awarded the Davis United World Scholars 100 Projects for Peace Prize for their project, “Peace Bound: Portraits for Non-Violence.” Redden and From drove 10,000 miles across the United States in the summer of 2013 taking photographs of people and asking each subject, “Why is it important to support victims of domestic violence?” The answers were written on the photographs and posted onto the project blog; From and Redden will also create a book of their work.
• Nathan Tauger '14 received the Truman Scholarship. The Truman Scholarship Foundation awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. Taugher is a biology major who plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health and return to his home state of West Virginia to address policies that impact the underserved population there.
About the Fulbright Program
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide. Each year Vassar College supports as many as 40+ applicants for Fulbright Grants. Vassar College will forward to the Fulbright Commission all appropriately completed applications for a Fulbright award. Recipients are chosen by the National Screening Committee.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.