Eleven Swarthmore Students and Alumni
Awarded Fulbright Fellowships
by Stacey Kutish
Nine Swarthmore College seniors and two alumni are recipients of Fulbright fellowships for 2012. 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.
Shilpa Boppana of Vestavia Hills, Ala. plans to teach English in Indonesia, which will allow her to further explore several interests she developed while at Swarthmore. Boppoana was a dancer with Gamelan Semara Santi, the College's Balinese percussion orchestra, and she developed an interest in education while serving as a tutor through the Dare to Soar program and volunteering with the Chester Youth Court, she founded the Chester Youth Court Volunteers (CYCV) group in 2010. Boppana majored in religion and minored in psychology while at Swarthmore.
Jonathan Erwin-Frank, a political science major from Whitefish Bay, Wis. will live and teach in Madrid, Spain during his Fulbright fellowship. He plans to conduct research on education inequality-particularly as it relates to immigration and Spanish politics, while also continuing his study of classical guitar. Erwin-Frank tutored students through the Dare to Soar program while studying at Swarthmore and volunteered at an elementary school for children of indigenous migrants in Quito, Ecuador while studying abroad.
Clara Gordon , from Lenox, Mass., will serve as an English teaching assistant at a Moroccan university. She also intends to engage in independent research on colloquial Moroccan Arabic in popular media, an expansion of work she did for her Swarthmore linguistics thesis. Gordon studied Arabic while at Swarthmore and looks forward to immersing herself in Moroccan culture while developing her teaching skills.
Camilia Kamoun from Wynnewood, Pa., designed a special major in Islamic Studies while at Swarthmore. With her Fulbright fellowship she plans to conduct a participant-observational study of women's views on modern prenatal care services in low-income communities in Rabat and Fez, Morocco. Her research will focus on the influence of social and cultural practices, health reforms, and women's status within those cities, enabling her to combine her interests in medicine, Islam, and Arab societies. In the future Kamoun intends to become a physician and to work in the fields of public and global health in North Africa. She explored these themes while at Swarthmore, serving on the executive board of Global Health Forum and as co-president of the Middle Eastern Cultural Society.
Melinda Neal will spend her fellowship year teaching English in South Korea. At Swarthmore Neal, from Austin, Texas, majored in political science and minored in peace and conflict studies and Asian studies. During her time at Swarthmore she volunteered as a teacher in Ecuador with the Village Education Project and was a member of the varsity swim team.
Nicole Oberfoell '07 will work with the National Telehealth Center of the Philippines to help develop a sustainable, community-driven telehealth program in Batanes, Philippines. By evaluating the state of the regional healthcare system and assessing chief health complaints of the province she plans to identify strategies to integrate a cellphone-based clinical information model to the National Telehealth Center's telehealth program. At Swarthmore Oberfoell majored in biology and minored in psychology, volunteered as an EMT and was a member of the women's soccer team. Since graduating she has traveled extensively and pursued work, volunteer opportunities, and further education related to public health.
Teal Patterson, an honors linguistics major with a minor in French from Gainesville, Fla. will spend her fellowship year doing research at a psycholinguistics laboratory in Lyon, France. This opportunity will allow her to expand upon work she explored in psycholinguistics, semantics, and logic while at Swarthmore, while further developing her proficiency in French.
Benjamin Rachbach of Tucson, Ariz., will employ his special major in Chinese and Educational Studies by researching the potential of information and communications technology (ICT) to improve literacy education for migrant and rural students in China. This work will build upon his thesis research, which used ethnographic methods to explore the potential for using ICT in schools for migrant children in Beijing.
Kathryn Stockbower, a German studies and biology double major from Fort Washington, Pa. will serve as an English teaching assistant in a high school in Hessen, Germany. In addition to teaching English, Stockbower plans to start an after-school basketball camp for the youth in the local community. While at Swarthmore, Stockbower taught German to local elementary school children and studied abroad in Munich, Germany. She was involved in the German club, served as one of the student coordinators of the weekly language table, and was a four year member of the Swarthmore women's basketball team.
Aakash Suchak, an Honors English literature major with minors in art history and interpretation theory from Aiken, S.C. will pursue a master's degree in critical theory from the University of Sussex in England. Sussex has an outstanding international reputation for the teaching and research of literary theory, a field which Suchak began to study while at Swarthmore. Suchak was also involved in the literary magazine Small Craft Warnings and held a Mellon Librarianship Internship..
Claudia Seixas '10, has already begun her fellowship and is serving as an English literature teaching assistant at a university in Santarém, Pará, Brazil and teaching English language courses to grade school teachers. She is volunteering with a local organization, Projeto Saúde e Alegria (the Health and Happiness Project), which works in the areas of ecotourism, agroecology, sustainable artisan craft production, participatory mapping, community organization and development, renewable energy, and health and sanitation. Seixas majored in art and minored in history and environmental studies, after graduation from Swarthmore she joined an Americorps program that develops community and school gardens and farm-to-school programs to increase awareness of healthy lifestyles and increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. She is documenting her time in Brazil's Amazon region.