Deborah Krieger ’16 was visiting an art museum with her grandmother when she got the email: the toiling on her Fulbright application had paid off.
“I was so happy and emotional that I had to run and find a quiet place in the building so I could cry a little bit from the utter joy I was feeling,” says Krieger, of Los Angeles, Calif., who majored in art history at Swarthmore.
Krieger is one of five alumni this year to be offered and to accept a coveted Fulbright grant, which is bestowed “to encourage collaboration between U.S. citizens and people of other countries in developing ideas and addressing international concerns.” With its vast academic focus, including the social sciences, humanities, and the sciences, the program emphasizes leadership development.
Krieger will head to Vienna, Austria, to teach English at a local school, study at the University of Vienna, and explore how Jewish and Roma visual artists express their identities as minorities and/or historically oppressed peoples.
“Being a Swarthmore student has made me incredibly aware of and passionate about learning about and participating in social justice work and activism,” says Krieger, who plans to pursue a career in museum curation with a focus on the intersection of visual arts and social activism.
Also teaching English through the Fulbright grant is Andrew Dorrance ’15. The second time was a charm for the Hummelstown, Pa., native, who unsuccessfully applied for a Fulbright grant last year.
“I almost didn't apply for it this year, but I’m glad that I did,” says Dorrance, who majored in Spanish at Swarthmore and is eager to help command a classroom as an English teaching assistant in Mexico.
“I’m considering a career in education, so it will be a great experience to help me figure out my future goals,” says Dorrance, who also plans to volunteer in the LGBT community for his independent project.
And after spending a year in China without having studied Chinese, Dorrance is eager to deploy his Spanish.
“I miss being able to communicate with everyone around me,” he says.
Also receiving an English teaching assistantship is Joe Warren '16, who is heading to Argentina.
"I’m most excited about seeing a different side of the country than when I studied abroad in Buenos Aires my junior year," says Warren, who majored in film & media studies at Swarthmore and credits the faculty with sparking his interests in the Spanish language and the history and culture of Argentina. "In a country with so much regional diversity, I can’t wait to learn more about wherever I’m placed."
Yearning for cultural immersion is Sun Park ’16, whose Fulbright grant will take her to South Korea to teach English. Park will undergo six weeks of intensive Korean language studies and cultural training workshops before she begins teaching. Throughout the year, she will attend conferences in South Korea as a cultural ambassador of the U.S.
This is a homecoming for Park, who came to the U.S. from Korea at age the age of five and has had few opportunities to go back.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to go back to the country that my family is from and have the chance to reconnect with the culture and language,” says Park, who was a McCabe Scholar at Swarthmore and majored in economics.
The fifth Swarthmore alumnus to be offered and accept a Fulbright grant is Miriam Hauser ’13, who will travel to Amman, Jordan to research mental health services for refugees. This builds on a year-long internship Hauser held as a therapist in a mental health program for refugees, through her master’s degree in social work from The University of Chicago.
“I'm interested in how need is being identified, how services are being coordinated, and how well the services that are available match how refugees conceptualize their own mental health needs,” says Hauser, an Honors English literature major at Swarthmore who traveled abroad to Amman.
“I'm hoping to gain more insight into mental health and mental health care from a non-Western perspective,” she adds, “and believe that this experience will provide me with a strong start to my career as a social worker.”
Each alumnus thanked the College for its role in preparing them for this opportunity. Park lauds her peers and professors, in particular, for their support — and for setting an example.
“By being surrounded by some of the most generous classmates and professors, I have learned what teaching with passion and kindness looks like," she says. "I can only hope that I will be able to emulate what I have experienced as a student at Swarthmore for the past four years in my teaching in South Korea next year.”