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Ten Recent Alumni Receive Fulbright Grants

2018 Fulbright students collage

Clockwise from top left: Nikhil Chopra '18, Joseph DeBrine '18, Mariah Everett '18, Griffin Kammerer '18, Alice Liu '18, Pendle Marshall-Hallmark '14, Madeleine Feldman '17, Liliana Frankel '18, Susan Whaley '18, and Bridget Scott '18.

Eight members of the Class of 2018 and two other alumni have received Fulbright grants for next year, affirming the College’s status as one of the program’s top producers.

The award is 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 Fulbright program emphasizes leadership development.

The Swarthmore alums earned seven English teaching assistantship (ETA) grants, two research grants, and one binational internship program grant. 

Nikhil Chopra '18Nikhil Chopra '18, who graduated with a special major in public health, received a research grant to India.

"In direct response to the substance use epidemic in Punjab, I will spend a year in Ludhiana, answering: How are the individuals who suffer from substance use disorders in Ludhiana currently navigating their experiences within their current healthcare system? Validating the narratives and lived experiences of those who are suffering most has the potential to challenge the stigma surrounding substance use and mental health."

Joseph DeBrine '18Joseph DeBrine '18, who graduated with majors in classical studies and linguistics, received an English teaching assistantship to Belgium.

"I am a lifelong student of language, but after a bad experience learning Greek in a New York City program, I decided to become a teacher to promote supportive classroom environments. I want to start my career as a teacher through Fulbright as an ETA. While studying regional French dialect in a linguistics laboratory in France, I became fascinated by the Dutch influence on regional lexicon in France. This inspired me to apply for an ETA in Belgium.

Belgium is linguistically fascinating since it’s separated into French-speaking Wallonia and Dutch-speaking Flanders. Their political borders even reflect their linguistic borders, and it seemed like a fascinating place to teach a foreign language, especially an imperial language like English. I’ll be teaching English at l’Université Catholique de Louvain from September to June, and I could not be more excited."

Mariah Everett '18Mariah Everett '18, who graduated with a major in biology, received an English teaching assistantship to the Czech Republic.

"I chose the Czech Republic because my family came to America from this area over 100 years ago, and no one in my family has ever gone back. Looking forward to my future post-college, I want to look back and explore how my roots can inform my future. I am also applying to the program because I love working with children and I have extensive teaching experience, particularly with students from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

"While at Swarthmore, as a Lang Opportunity Scholar, I developed a narrative photography project with refugee students in New Mexico. During my year in Czechia, I want to bring the Czech students into conversation with the refugee students I worked with in New Mexico. Through these international connections, I hope that the students will begin to confront xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiments in their communities and recognize the power of human connection."

Maddie Feldman '17Madeleine Feldman ’17, a student teacher at Friends Select School in Philadelphia, Pa., received an English teaching assistantship to Brazil.

"I will be teaching English at a federal university in Brazil. I look forward to continuing to develop my practice in creating a classroom where my students and I can build a shared language to explore our national, cultural, and lived experiences. A return to Brazil also allows me to further engage with organizations that, during my short study there [as an Honors student], ignited my interests in community building, arts, and advocacy.

"To make the most of a Fulbright experience, I hope to explore my interests in urban space, theater, and social justice, by joining an organization that practices Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, a theater practice that originated in Brazil, and involves its audience in imagining and embodying different realities in order to promote social and political change."

Liliana Frankel '18Liliana Frankel '18, who graduated with an English literature and Latin American studies special major, received an English teaching assistantship to Mexico.

“I applied for an ETA Award because of the pleasure I take in teaching and language, as well as a desire to develop my professional interests within the field of Latin American studies before I specialize in a graduate context. I have experience teaching English to Spanish speakers in the U.S. and in Mexico, and fieldwork experience in Mexican university settings, which I believe help qualify for me for the job.

I am so grateful for this chance to continue learning beyond Swarthmore. While college taught me a lot of coping strategies and shortcuts, it’s my hope that my spiritual, personal, and intellectual growth can proceed apace outside of the College. I look forward to a challenging and rewarding life far from campus."

Griffin Kammerer '18Griffin Kammerer '18, who graduated with majors in economics and psychology, received an English teaching assistantship to Malaysia.

"A Fulbright ETA Award is the best way to bridge the gap between my interest in experiencing new cultures and teaching. My interest and ability in teaching comes from working as a writing and speaking tutor at Swarthmore and coaching youth sports. I selected Malaysia because of its globally unique mix of cultures and because I believe the rural placements would allow for me to leave a greater impact on the students and community.

"I plan on incorporating my experience as a Writing Associate to host writing clinics after school. I also plan on getting involved with sports at the school (or starting sports clubs if the school doesn't have any). When I got to Swarthmore, all I wanted to do was go to medical school right away and move back to my hometown to practice medicine. What I want to do now couldn't be further from that, and I attribute this change to Swarthmore helping me broaden my horizons and aspirations."

Alice Liu '18Alice Liu '18, who graduated with majors in biology and economics, received a research grant to China.

"I will qualitatively evaluate how family-based screenings in rural China will raise awareness of ocular problems and promote eye help-seeking behaviors. Through an array of interviews and observations, I seek to understand how Chinese cultural beliefs or habits deter certain participants from pursuing ocular treatment in rural settings. This newfound knowledge will help policy-makers and clinicians design more effective programs to protect the vision of the rural Chinese.

"The intervention involves sending community health members to different households to educate and teach at least one family member how to conduct visual acuity tests (to know if people are seeing 20/20 or worse). During that one year of intervention, we're hoping that family member will perform visual acuity tests on other family members, and participants will visit an ophthalmologist if their vision is poor. Since a lot of health decisions in China require the approval of the entire household, it's important to introduce this intervention at the household level."

Pendle Marshall-Hallmark '18Pendle Marshall-Hallmark '14, an international human rights accompanier in Colombia, received a binational internship program grant, to participate in the Mexican Binational Business program in Mexico City.

"I'm looking forward to getting to know Mexico City, and to working in a field that's relatively new to me: social entrepreneurship. I have a lot of experience working with nonprofits and building networks of support for what are often marginalized groups, and have seen how difficult it can be to sustain long-term social change on a precarious charity-based financial model. I am curious to see how we can move away from such a model to solve social needs, and instead build sustainable companies that strengthen and serve the communities they do business in."

Bridget Scott '18Bridget Scott '18, who graduated with a special major in a biology and educational studies, received an  English teaching assistantship to South Africa.

"I bring experience as teaching assistant, a counselor, a coach, and a community member to an ETA Fulbright in South Africa. I want to immerse myself in a new community of South Africa and engage students in conversations about how this place with complex social and environmental history shapes how they learn at home and at school. This experience will challenge me to be a better communicator, teacher, and global citizen.

"The house I grew up in is two miles away from Swarthmore, and I've never lived anywhere outside of southeastern Pa. This opportunity has offered me a new adventure and the chance to widen my ideas and perspectives by being incorporated into a completely new community. I'm so excited to explore and learn from this new place where culture, people, and the environment are intricately linked. I approach this opportunity with an open heart and open mind certain that my students and other people I'll meet will leave a lasting impact on me that I can't even begin to imagine at this point." 

Susan Whaley '18Susan Whaley '18, who earned an Honors history degree, received an English teaching assistantship to Benin.

"With a wealth of cross-cultural and international experiences, as well as a background in education and advanced proficiency in French, I am eager to serve as an ETA in Benin. I am passionate about education, international development, and have a deep personal and academic interest in the history and literature of Benin and West Africa.

"I'm super excited to improve my French (hoping to finally become at least somewhat fluent), and to finally be on the other side of the class as a teacher! I am, of course, also super excited to live in and explore Benin!"

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