Thirteen Students and Alumni Win Fulbright Fellowships

Stacey Kutish

Thirteen Swarthmore Students and Alumni 
Win Fulbright Fellowships

by Stacey Kutish
06/13/2008

Nine Swarthmore seniors and four alumni are winners of Fulbright Fellowships for 2009. Natalie Bowlus '08 will study in Hungary, Elena Chopyak '08 will conduct research in Tunisia, Christian DeSimone '06 will study in Germany, Rahul D'Silva '08 will study in Ireland, Jonathan Edwards '06 will conduct research in Nepal, Scott Fortmann-Roe '08 will conduct research in Poland, Michael Forster Rothbart '94 will document life in the Ukraine,  Susannah Gund '08 will study in Morocco, Yusha Hu '08 will study in China, Nicole Nfonoyim '08 will conduct research in Spain, Ronni Sadovsky '08 will study in Israel, Alyssa Van Thoen '08 will teach in Belgium, and Latika Young '03, will teach in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Fulbright Program is designed to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries." Fellowships are awarded to American students, young professionals, and artists selected through a national, open, merit-based competition for study, research, internships and/or service abroad. With a broad academic focus including the social sciences, humanities, and the sciences, the program emphasizes leadership development. Approximately 1,200 awards are presented each year.

Natalie BowlusNatalie Bowlus '08 plans to study mathematics at Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE) in Budapest, Hungary. In addition to her coursework, she will study how English language programs at ELTE and other universities are changing as a result of Hungary's recent entry into the European Union. She is a mathematics major at Swarthmore, and is very involved in the arts, including painting and theater. She also serves as a writing associate and writes a regular column for The Phoenix.

Elena ChopyakElena Chopyak '08 will travel to Tunisia to study family planning promotions and various Islamic interpretations of family planning. She will be affiliated with a research center and she plans to visit family planning clinics in rural and urban areas. She also plans to speak with women involved in women's empowerment groups. Chopyak is a sociology and anthropology major at Swarthmore. During her time at Swarthmore, she worked as a telephone counselor for the Women's Law Project in Philadelphia, responding to women's legal inquiries. While studying abroad in France, she interned with Unité de Réflexion d'Action des Communautés Africaines, serving as a community health educator for African immigrants in Paris. Both of these experiences focused her attention on family planning and public health.

Christian DeSimoneChristian DeSimone '06 will research state surveillance and domestic security policy at the Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany. He will focus on the impact of recent federal counter-terrorism measures and Constitutional Court decisions on civil privacy. An economics and public policy major at Swarthmore, DeSimone currently researches youth disability issues in Washington, D.C.

Rahul D'SilvaRahul D'Silva '08 will travel to Dublin, Ireland, to undertake an M.Phil in Creative Writing at Trinity College, focusing on both poetry and fiction. He will also research the development of lyric poetry from Michael Longley to W.B. Yeats. D'Silva is an English major with a Creative Writing concentration at Swarthmore. He has published in both creative and critical journals at Swarthmore and outside, interned at the Asian American Writer's Workshop in New York, and studied English and creative writing at Oxford University. He has tutored at the Columbus Elementary School in Chester, PA, and has also competed on the Swarthmore Varsity Tennis Team. He has won various awards for creative and critical writing, and is a co-founder and co-editor of The Swarthmore Literary Review, Swarthmore's first international literary magazine.

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards '06 will research urban sustainability in Bhaktapur, Nepal. He is particularly interested in studying the food culture of the Newar linguistic group including their agricultural practices, cooking, and related rituals, and how things are changing in this once self-sufficient city as a result of modern agricultural methods and globalism. A religion major and math minor at Swarthmore, Edwards has spent his time since graduation working in the restaurant industry, farming, and most recently, training in the Ayurvedic medical tradition.

Scott Fortmann-RoeScott Fortmann-Roe '08/> is an engineering major at Swarthmore. He will spend his Fulbright year researching the remediation of fluoride in ground water in Poland. His mother Louise Fortmann, a professor of natural resource sociology at UC-Berkeley, has also been awarded a Fulbright Grant for 2008-09. She will be conducting research in Germany.

Michael Forster RothbartMichael Forster Rothbart '94 will document the lives of Chernobyl survivors in Ukraine. He will photograph daily life and interview residents of seven irradiated villages in the inhabited Chernobyl zones as part of his larger After the Nukes project examining Soviet-era nuclear industries. He will collect individual stories to explore the continuing social, medical, and economic impacts two decades after the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Forster Rothbart was an English and education major at Swarthmore. He has worked as a photojournalist since 1996 and has spent time based in India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Madison, Wis., where he was a staff photographer for the University of Wisconsin for six years.

Susanna GundSusannah Gund '08 will research language attitudes and usage in Moroccan urban secondary schools. Gund is a special major in languages and linguistics, focusing on Arabic and French, and has a minor in educational studies. At Swarthmore she serves as a resident assistant and as a writing associate. She was also a founding member of the Genocide Intervention Network and helped lead Swarthmore Sudan.

Yusha HuYusha Hu '08, an honors biology major at Swarthmore, will study water resource management in China. She will work with the director of the Institute for Environmental Management and Policy at Tsinghua University in Beijing. At Swarthmore, Hu writes a column about science and the environment for The Phoenix.

Nicole NfonoyimNicole Nfonoyim '08 will travel to Spain to study and document the immigrant experiences of Dominican and Sub-Saharan African Women in Madrid. She is an honors major in sociology and anthropology, with a minor in Latin American studies. At Swarthmore has been involved in several cultural organizations and the communities of the Intercultural Center and the Black Cultural Center.

Ronni SadovskyRonni Sadovsky '08 is an honors major in philosophy with a second major in linguistics. At Swarthmore, she founded the Lady Philosophers' Dinner group. She is also involved in Ruach and serves as a writing associate. She plans to spend her Fulbright year in Israel at the Center for the Study of Rationality at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, studying the way that people's thoughts, emotions and desires help them to perceive and fulfill moral obligations.

Alyssa Van ThoenAlyssa Van Thoen '08, a music  and French double major, will teach English to students at the University of Ghent in Belgium. She also plans to play in a string quartet and take Dutch language courses. Heavily involved in music at Swarthmore, her experiences have included playing in a string quartet and the orchestra and directing an a cappella group.

Latika YoungLatika Young '03, an honors dance major with minor in environmental studies, will teach English to students at the University of Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina and will advise on educational matters for the university and for outreach projects. In addition, she will create a video documentary that explores how artistic practices connect across socio-political boundaries within the country. Having become interested in the post-socialist state while studying abroad with the Swarthmore program in Poland, her most recent research took her to Kosovo in the summer of 2007, where she produced a documentary about the divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica with students from around South East Europe.