In spring 2020, Ryan Arazi ’21 embarked on a personal journey to Argentina. He planned to immerse himself in the culture of his father’s homeland and complete interview-based research on the dictatorship his father lived through.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, upending Arazi’s experience.
“On the plane back home, I knew I wanted to come back to finish what I started,” he says.
Arazi will now seize that opportunity, through a Fulbright grant in the U.S. student program. He joins Madison Snyder ’21 as Fulbright grantees this year, affirming the College’s status as one of the program’s top producers.
A third student, Josephine Thrasher ’21, was offered a Fulbright grant but instead took a job with a research lab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and three other students were selected as alternates.
Fulbright grants are bestowed “to encourage collaboration between citizens of the U.S. and those of other countries to develop ideas and address international concerns.” With its vast academic focus, including the social sciences, the humanities, and the sciences, the program emphasizes leadership development and cultural exchange.
Arazi, who majored in peace & conflict studies, accepted an English teaching assistantship.
“I’ll be able to exchange in mutual learning with Argentines and gain a new personal connection to my father’s country,” says Arazi, who will also continue his research efforts from last year.
Snyder received a Fulbright research grant that will take her to Barcelona, Spain. Her project is titled “The Aggressiveness of Colorectal Cancer in Spain: Insights from IncRNA Molecules.”
“I am so incredibly grateful and excited to be doing cancer research in Barcelona this fall,” says Snyder, who majored in biology and Spanish at Swarthmore. “I feel very honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to pursue an integrative biology and Spanish experience abroad.”
As a junior, Snyder did biology research entirely in Spanish through a research assistantship at the University of Granada. She found that work “very challenging but also incredibly rewarding” and hopes to build upon her Spanish in Barcelona while learning and growing as a biologist.
In February, Thrasher was offered a Fulbright study grant to pursue a master’s in cellular and molecular biology through the CY Cergy Paris University in France. But with the significant impact of COVID-19 at the time, and the slow rollout of vaccines in France, she did not feel comfortable committing to the grant.
“It was really difficult to decline the offer, especially since my semester abroad in Switzerland was cut short after only four weeks due to COVID,” says Thrasher, who majored in biology and French & Francophone studies at Swarthmore. “But all I could do was make the best decision I could with the information I had at the time. I look forward to traveling abroad again in the future, either with a different Fulbright grant or just on my own.”