Seven Seniors, Two Alums Awarded Fulbright Grants
Swarthmore's reputation as a top producer of Fulbright Grantees is secure.
Seven seniors and two alums have received Fulbright Grants, which are bestowed to “encourage collaboration between U.S. citizens and the people of other countries in developing ideas and addressing international concerns.”
Elizabeth Bachman ’15 will travel to familiar terrain. She studied in Taiwan the summer after her sophomore year and will return to the island nation as a Fulbright to teach English.
“I'm hoping to see some of the wonderful people I met last time and get to catch up with them over some stinky tofu — believe it or not, that's its actual name! — and bubble tea,” says the Asian studies and political science major from Mercer Island, Wash. “Nothing beats authentic Chinese food!”
Bill Beck ’11 of the Department of Classical Studies at The University of Pennsylvania heads to the United Kingdom, where, under the supervision of Eleanor Dickey at the University of Reading, he'll work on a translation of the first four books of the scholia (ancient commentaries) to the Iliad.
“The scholia have a lot to teach us, both about the Iliad and about the ways in which readers in antiquity thought about the Iliad in particular and literature more generally,” says Beck, who graduated from Swarthmore with the highest honors in Greek and Latin. “I'd like to make those insights available to students and teachers alike.”
Paul Bierman ’15, an Honors sociology & anthropology major, will serve as an English teaching assistant in Thailand. Specifically, he will help students in the north or northeast of the country to improve their conversational English.
“Before coming to Swarthmore, I had never imagined I would have the chance to live in another country,” says the Hauser, Idaho native. “So what I’m looking forward to most is letting myself adapt to a completely new situation.”
Randall Burson ’15 is off to Temuco, Chile, to investigate the cultural competency of mental health services in community clinics. He’s interested in how cultural and social influences of mainstream Chilean culture and the indigenous Mapuche affect the healthcare system and how different conceptions of health and illness can shape diagnosis and care.
“It’s such a rare opportunity for undergraduates and recent grads to get this type of experience,” says the Honors biology major from Los Lunas, N.M. “I think that Swarthmore has given me a great toolkit to be able to pursue this project.”
Supriya Davis ’15 returns to the place where she learned to read, write, and speak Hindi, helping to address the critical problem of tuberculosis in her mother's native India. She will help researchers in New Delhi find a quicker diagnosis for the disease.
“As I got older and busier, I lost touch with this side of my heritage,” says the biochemistry special major and chemistry and computer science major from Chapel Hill, N.C. “So I’m really excited to reconnect with Indian traditions and culture.”
Aaron Hollander '07, a doctoral candidate in theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School, returns to Cyprus to pursue fieldwork for his dissertation on the imagination and representation of holiness in Greek Orthodox Christianity. He will investigate how the museums and monuments of the divided island commemorate its "national struggle" in ways that infuse the cultural-political experience of a community with theological warrants and resonances.
"Cyprus is a place where histories, cultures, religions, and geographies collide in ever-surprising ways," says Hollander, who graduated from Swarthmore with highest honors in religion and environmental studies. "It's like nowhere else I've been on the planet, and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to pursue research that matters to the peace process as well as to my own field. I'm endlessly inspired by my teachers at Swarthmore who showed me what it means to combine intellectual rigor with ethical commitment on the public stage."
Vasomnoleak Ly ’15 will return to his native Cambodia for the first time in 15 years to study the nation’s diaspora in its transnational dimensions.
“Specifically, I propose an ethnography of diasporic Cambodians who have returned to Cambodia for work or volunteer reasons and how their desires to aid in Cambodia's redevelopment are informed by familial and national histories of war and genocide,” says the Honors special major in sociology-anthropology and educational studies. “Ultimately, I want to probe the relationship between memory and capital in the context of diaspora and nation building.”
Isabel Sacks ’15, a Latin American studies and educational studies special major from Chevy Chase, Md., travels to a Brazilian university to work with students training to be English teachers and examine how universities fit into the larger framework of the country’s historical, political, and social forces.
“I feel deeply grateful for the professors who wrote me recommendations, [Fellowships and Prizes Advisor] Melissa Mandos for facilitating the application process, my parents for sparking my interest in Brazil, and the experiences I had at Swarthmore that made me who I am today,” she says.
Victoria Shepard ’15 will expand on her thesis of pre-modern Chinese mosque architecture in cities such as Hangzhou. She will examine the aesthetic and spatial elements of pre-modern mosques and research their historical contexts, building upon research she did in China last summer.
“I really enjoyed the process of visiting architectural sites in the morning, coming home to write down reflections and observations in the afternoon, and then digging into readings and research in the evening,” says the art history major from Morage, Calif. “It's a very luxurious life!”
Swarthmore nominates students for Fulbright consideration and helps to manage their application process. Alumni can apply for the honor through Swarthmore or, as Bill Beck '11 did, independently as an "at-large" candidate.