Eight Seniors Awarded 2013 Fulbright Fellowships

by Zach Epstein

Eight members of the Class of 2013, and an alumna from the Class of 2012, are recipients of Fulbright fellowships for 2013. The Fulbright Program is designed to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries" and encourages collaboration in developing ideas and addressing international concerns. 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.

Alexander Anderson

Alexander Anderson's project is a 10-month period of study and artist residency at the China Academy of Art, where he will continue to develop his work in functional and sculptural ceramic art. The purpose of this experience is to advance his work technically and conceptually in an environment with other artists from the academy under professorial guidance. Anderson plans to return to the United States to complete an MFA in ceramics and eventually obtain his own studio. Anderson, an honors Chinese major and studio art minor from Seattle, Wash., chose China in part because the realism present in the Chinese ceramic aesthetic has had a significant impact on his most recent work. Hangzhou, the city in which Anderson's project will take place, is also near Jingdezhen, a ceramic mecca that he plans to visit periodically during his time abroad.


Nicole Cox '12Nicole Cox ’12 will spend her time in India studying the classical Indian dance form of Kathak, focusing specifically on abhinaya, the art of expression and storytelling. She’ll begin with three months of studying with Sanjoy Bhattacharya in Kolkata, after which she plans to travel to Ahmedabad to train under the mentorship of Kumudini Lakhia at the Kadamb Center for Dance and Music. Cox’s goal is to better understand the emotional and narrative elements of abhinaya, and on an anthropological level, a dancer's embodied connection to the content of the dance. This research will inform Cox’s doctoral studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, where she’ll begin in Fall 2014 on a distinguished scholar fellowship. Cox, a Los Gatos, Calif. native, was introduced to Kathak at Swarthmore and danced with the Courtyard Dancers, a Kathak dance company directed by Associate Professor of Dance Pallabi Chakravorty. She graduated with a double major in sociology & anthropology and dance.


Ben Goossen

Ben Goossen will spend next year in Berlin, Germany, where he'll research the history of the German Protestant diaspora between the years 1871 and 1914. Most of Goossen's time will be spent doing archival research on German Protestants living outside of Germany, particularly in the African colonies, the Pacific, North and South America, and the Russian Empire. Goossen is especially interested in the intersections between religion and nationality and how those themes are expressed across geographic distances. A double major in history and German studies from Topeka, Kan., Goossen has also been involved with the Quakers on Campus student group and with environmental activism. He hopes to further pursue issues of peace and justice during his time in Berlin.


Rebecca Hammond

Rebecca Hammond, a biology major and chemistry minor, will use her Fulbright scholarship to research the immune response across different strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis at a lab associated with both the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the University of Oslo. Her project will also involve testing a rapid TB test the lab is developing for global use and Hammond is excited to collect samples from all over the world. A microbiology course Hammond took during the fall of 2012 helped develop her interest in studying these topics. She eventually plans to study global pandemics and to pursue a M.D./Ph.D., in order to combine research with clinical work. The Davis, Calif. native is also a decorated member of Swarthmore’s track team and an All-American in the 1500m.


Max Nesterak

“I will spend a year in Berlin pursuing independent research on how multiethnic communities use street art and urban interventions to claim space and articulate identity in the public sphere," said Max Nesterak in the Daily Gazette. " I will be studying reports of protests and street art from unification onward while maintaining an active blog of current movements in order to better understand how people change public space for political and ideological ends." Nesterak, a double major in German studies and English literature from Williamstown, Mass., hopes to also work closely with faculty in the Institute of Art History at Free University and in the Institute of Art and Visual History at Humboldt University.


Joan OBryan

Joan O'Bryan will serve as an English teaching assistant in the town of Dillenburg, Hesse, Germany, teaching grades 5-10 in conversational English. "I'm really grateful to the German department for their help in allowing me to achieve such a wonderful opportunity," O'Bryan says. "I actually got a taste of the experience teaching at a school in Mainz (Rheinland-Pfalz) the summer after my sophomore year thanks to a German Department grant, and it not only sparked my interest but I think made me a more competitive applicant. In general, the Department could not have been more supportive!" O'Bryan is a political science major and hails from from Herndon, Va.


Mariam Vonderheide

Mariam Vonderheide, a Spanish major from Wellsville, N.Y., will investigate the relationship between dental health services in Guatemala, maternal oral health, and the incidence of low birth weight newborn babies. She plans to document and compare the experiences of mothers from different communities, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. She is particularly interested to see what aspects of the PAHO regional 10-year program were most effective and successful in Guatemala, especially how these women benefitted from them. "My experiences and the opportunities I've had at Swarthmore have sparked my interest in public health and Latin America," she says. "This Fulbright project combines the two. In the future, I hope to establish a career that combines dentistry and public health." Vonderheide is also a four-year member of the women's soccer team and plans to attend dental school in the fall of 2014.


Alice Wong

Alice Wong, a chemistry major and native of Oakland, Calif., will travel to Japan to conduct chemistry research in Yujiro Hayashi's lab at Tohoku University in Sendai. The Hayashi lab is known for organic catalyst development as well as total syntheses of natural products. Wong's project utilizes one of the catalysts developed in his lab in a total synthesis project. Developing total syntheses are important for not only the new chemistry developed in the process, but also because many natural products can only be extracted from nature in very small quantities, requiring chemists to make larger quantities that can then be tested for potential biological utility. "I have learned laboratory research skills by working in Professor Robert Paley's lab at Swarthmore for the past two and a half years and I have been studying Japanese for eight years," she says. "I have always wanted to go abroad, but I haven't had time because of all the science that I also wanted to learn. I finally get to do both." Upon her return, Wong will attend graduate school at the Scripps Research Institute to study organic synthesis. She was a member of the swim team at Swarthmore and plans to continue swimming while abroad.


Monika Zaleska

Monika Zaleska will participate in an English Teaching Assistantship in Poland. At Swarthmore, Zaleska was an Honors english literature major and an Honors educational studies minor, graduating with with High Honors, Phi Beta Kappa. She was also a writing assistant and co-editor in chief at The Daily Gazette. "I'm the first person in my family born in America, and much of my extended family is in Poland, so I've always wanted to go back to improve my language skills and learn more about my heritage," says the Narberth, Penn. native. "I'm also very interested in language teaching. Before this, I spent four months teaching English in Paris. While I'm there I also plan to run English conversation and culture meetings."