Eight Vassar students and alumnae/i were granted Fulbright Fellowships for the 2014-15 academic year. In 2013 the Chronicle of Higher Education ranked the college fifth in producing Fulbright Scholars compared to other bachelor's degree-granting institutions. Several others were awarded fellowships in diverse areas of study.
Vassar’s Fulbright Fellows are teaching and conducting research in various countries during the 2014-15 academic year. Upon winning their fellowships, here’s what they said about their plans:
Sahara Borja ’03, Photographer, to Colombia: “In 2006, a lawyer named Patricia Guerrero and one hundred women from The League of Displaced Women built a small settlement in Turbaco, Colombia. Today that settlement is known as Colombia's “City of Women” and has grown to five hundred. I propose to document this community via photography and audio/visual interviews to show the powerful ways in which these women have reclaimed their lives and renegotiated their status as victims of displacement.”
Daniel Davies ’11 to the Netherlands: "I intend to study ‘Law and Politics of International Security’ at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and to write a thesis on the evolution of the definitions of lawful combatant, unlawful combatant, and non-combatant, and their proper extension going forward. This would enable me to contribute to the rapidly developing field of international humanitarian law and to help ensure that civilians are not targeted." (Daniel applied with the support of Fordham Law School)
Ian Edwards ‘14 ETA to Germany: “After having grown up in a family of educators that always fostered a special appreciation and respect for languages, I have pursued several student teaching opportunities at my home high school, a Virginia middle school, and at a Parisian elementary school while abroad. I wish to bring all of my prior experience together as an educator and student of German and International Studies to share my culture in a country that has already taught me so much.”
Helen Haft ’14 to Russia: “If granted a Fulbright scholarship, I will research Jewish life in St. Petersburg during the Soviet Union. Due to Soviet policies which marginalized Jews and encouraged assimilation, Jews were forced to maintain their culture and religion through underground methods such as self-publication (samizdat) and secret study. Through archival research and oral histories, I plan to examine the ways in which Jewish culture was upheld during this period.”
Eleni Macrakis’ 14 ETA to Malaysia: “I am applying to the ETA program in Malaysia because of my desire to learn more about Muslim communities around the world after having lived in Jordan for seven months. I bring experience in teaching students from all backgrounds and I believe that teaching English will aid in cross-cultural understanding and will give me a platform on which to connect with students outside of the classroom.”
Victoria Qiu ’14 ETA to Germany: “I developed a love of teaching English when I worked as a camp counselor at an English learning camp in Ukraine. The joy of working with youth and witnessing their progress have motivated me to pursue this passion. It would have been beneficial to have had a working knowledge of the local language, which is why I would like to work in Germany. My knowledge of the German language as well as my love for the culture both urge me forward to apply to Germany.”
Annikea O'Dea '08 to Senegal: "I plan to work with the Ecological Modeling Center (CSE) in Dakar to evaluate coastal evolution and coastal hazards in the Joal-Fadiouth region of Senegal. This yearlong project will include a quantitative analysis of historical coastal change rates in the region, an assessment of erosion and flood hazards, and finally a discussion of potential future coastal hazards related to climate change." (Annikea applied with the support of Oregon State University)
Sophia Wasserman ’13 to Iceland: “Iceland's management of their cod fishery is a success story, especially in the face of economic upheaval. Yet, their management techniques may not be fair to independent fishermen. Exploring the historical context of and current realities of the fishery may provide insight for the developing world, given Iceland's size and recent development.”
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:
• Four members of the class of 2014—Joshua Cartwright, Kiersta His, Katherine Neville and Sheeva Seyfi—received Chinese Government Scholarships to study Chinese language or related disciplines at institutions of higher learning in China.
• Julianna Shinnick ’14 has been awarded the Davis United World College Scholars 100 Projects for Peace prize for her project, “Creating Peace for People with Epilepsy.”
• Gabriel Dunsmith ’15, an environmental studies major, was awarded a Udall Scholarship. The Udall is given to college students who have demonstrated a commitment to careers relating to the environment including policy, engineering, science, education urban planning and renewal, business, health, justice, economics and other related fields.
• Robert Sandstrom ’12 received a National Science Foundation Award for his work in geoscience.
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.