Clarque Brown will spend her year on the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in South Korea. Brown brings extensive language learning and teaching experience to her ETA. She speaks Spanish and French and is learning Korean and Chinese, and she has taught English in both China and France. Her previous work experience has enabled her to hone her teachings skills — she has practice crafting lesson plans with pedagogical research in mind, while still keeping the class environment comfortable and fun. Beyond Brown’s has sharp technical skills, however, her underlying motivation, however, is to find sites of cross-cultural connection.
Her curiosity about Korean culture stems from her close friendships with Korean students at Amherst, and she hopes to engage with the Korean Christian community and study classical Korean voice performance. As she writes in her application, “What I will discover under all those lovely layers of difference will be similarity that draws us together.”
Samuel Chen sees his Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in Indonesia as the next step in a progression of cross-cultural learning experiences. In his application, he described his time studying abroad in Germany as a critical moment in his education — a time when he immersed himself in German culture and found companionship with his Indonesian roommate. Chen also reflected upon his teaching experience in Lima, Peru. “That summer, my students and I stood on opposite ends of a racial, socioeconomic and linguistic spectrum, yet managed to forge a strong connection through a love of learning and a passion for play,” he wrote in his personal statement.
As an anthropology major, Chen values cultural disorientation and plans to immerse himself in his new community by stepping outside of his comfort zone as much as possible. He also plans to draw on his experiences as a college athlete to create an active after-school program.
Sophie Chung will bring her passion for interdisciplinary cross-cultural exchange to South Korea for her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA). During the summer of her sophomore year, Chung taught English at a school in the village of Lepan on the Yucatán Penninsula in Mexico. Through this experience, she learned how to improvise and engage students. Chung and also enriched her understanding of her own Korean ethnic identity as she discovered the largely erased history of Korean migrant labor exploitation and enslavement in the Yucatán during the early 20th century.
She applied her thoughts surrounding ethnic identification to her English thesis, focusing on Asian-American and Asian-Caribbean personal narratives on digital platforms and as a features writer for Soompi, an English language site about Korean pop culture. While living with a homestay family and teaching in South Korea, Chung hopes to incorporate technological innovation to foster cross-cultural storytelling.
On his Fulbright project, Anthropology and Biology double major Soham Gupta will review the preventative healthcare non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government efforts aimed at rural populations surrounding the Indian city of Udaipur. Gupta has already worked there one summer with an NGO, Seva Mandir. There, he found that ethnographic research on efforts to improve the water supply came with many complications, as Udaipur has a large tourist population and lack of social mobility.
In his essay, Gupta observed that the tendency to frame NGOs apolitically “serves to obscure the partisan implication of NGO action,” which can inhibit or overlap with local government efforts. Through participating in the community as a volunteer for preventative health organizations, Gupta hopes to find ways for programs to better serve the locals they intend to benefit.
History of Art and Chemistry double major Emma Hartmann has been offered a Fulbright to study conservation techniques in India. India’s harsh climate made conservation of indigenous texts necessary for hundreds of years before contemporary methods were developed. Yet, Hartmann notes in her application that the “climate-controlled” spaces of Western museums, where she has extensive experience in conservation, do not aptly reflect the work’s heritage.
Due to the value she places in cross-cultural exchange, Hartmann will be learning Hindi while working at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi and visiting other regions to engage with original materials. Hartmann conducted “a kind of personal record keeping” across her childhood, filling shoeboxes with objects. She wrote in her personal statement, “Conservation permits me to do for global histories what I have long done for my own personal history: to preserve memory through materials.”
JiaMei Huang will bring her bilingual skills to Mexico for her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA). In her low-income Latino and Asian-American neighborhood, interracial tension and her father’s stories about racism he experienced when living in Venezuela tainted her relationship with Spanish. Yet, once she began to learn Spanish in high school, she fell in love with the language.
Huang deepened her passion when she studied in Spain and Chile and researched the açai tree in the Bolivian Amazon for her biology thesis. Given the highly politicized relationship between the U.S. and Mexico today, she hopes to encourage cross-cultural understanding through language and develop sensitivity for community health issues facing Mexican immigrants. In the future, she hopes to work in health education in underserved Latino communities. “Teaching English in Mexico would allow me to further develop my communication abilities and cultural sensitivity, two invaluable skills for this career path,” she wrote in her application.
Robert Kwark will teach English in South Korea on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA). A physics major at Amherst, Kwark hopes to draw on his experiences of teaching other students as a physics teaching assistant in his new position.
Through the ETA, he hopes to gain more classroom experience as well as further his understanding of the differences in educational atmosphere and classroom experience between the U.S. and Korea. His interest in these differences stemmed from interactions he had with a Korean exchange student he hosted at his home two summers ago.
“I aim to create a hands-on, interactive approach to teaching English,” Kwark wrote in his application. Upon his return, Kwark plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Education and become a secondary school educator in physics. Kwark also hopes to share his love for adventure and exploring the outdoors by planning field trips for students.
Lindy Labriola’s Fulbright open study grant will take her to Bodø, Norway to study climate adaption methods and the effects of climate change upon the indigenous Sámi people. The Norwegian Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research-Oslo has reshaped approaches to climate adaptation through the concept of “transformation,” which encourages addressing climate change’s most pressing effects through local action.
Having incorporated Native American Studies in her English thesis on North American indigenous origin stories, Labriola plans to study both Norwegian and Sámi at Nord University to enrich her cultural literacy. She will also work with the Nordic Centre of Excellence, which studies climate-sensitive infections that change their course due to climate change and affect reindeer health. Thinking comparatively about socioeconomic and cultural change, Labriola’s interdisciplinary approach to climate adaptation is an exciting approach to addressing this globlal threat.
Cara Lembo will be using her Fulbright science research grant on a one-year Master of Science program in geology at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Lembo, a geology major at Amherst, is passionate about studying the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on the climate with an emphasis on carbon dioxide accumulation. During her Fulbright year, Lembo will conduct an independent study project that looks at atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, focusing on the Holocene era. Her methods include examining sediment cores from a fjord in New Zealand.
Lembo also hopes to become involved in the community of earth science experts in New Zealand, having noted in her application that “international collaboration is particularly critical in environmental sciences … [A]s global temperatures continue to rise each year, international partnerships are becoming imperative.” This, she hopes, will prove beneficial for pursuing a future doctorate.
An art history and English double major, Catherine Lowdon will spend her next year in Malaysia on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA). She is interested in Malaysia’s multi-ethnic community and the potential for cross-cultural discourse. In her application, she wrote at length about her research on the Mead Art Museum’s Rotherwas Room and how that experience ignited her interest in thinking about spaces as more than structures, focusing instead on atmospheric qualities. “As a person who studies visual objects and the effect these objects have, I’m curious to see how a landscape wholly different from the U.S. shapes how people feel and see themselves,” she wrote in her application.
Drawing on her experiences as a Folger fellow, an au pair in Sweden and a captain of the women’s cross country and track team, she hopes to bring English language and culture to life in the classroom.
Bringing her passion for ecology and evolutionary biology to the field, Victoria Luizzi will conduct an open study Fulbright at the Magne Friberg Department of Ecology and Genetics at Uppsala University in Sweden. At Amherst, the biology major discovered a passion for ecology after taking a class in tropical biology, which involved a trip to Costa Rica, during her sophomore year. She also studied interactions between plants and pollination at the Chicago Botanic Garden last summer.
Luizzi plans to use her Fulbright to continue studying plant-insect interactions and to gain more experience for her future study of chemical ecology. She also hopes to collaborate with scientists outside of the U.S., which will expose her to other researchers in the scientific community and develop her Swedish language skills.
Kathryn McHenry will return to Tanzania for the third time on her Fulbright to raise awareness about pediatric cancer in the country. An interdisciplinary public health major and advanced Swahili speaker with extensive knowledge of healthcare in Tanzania, McHenry enters the program with wide-ranging of the country and its culture. While most public health initiatives within and outside of West Africa target communicable diseases, “cancer kills more people each year than malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS combined,” she wrote in her application. She also noted that 90 percent of childhood cancer deaths occur in developing countries.
Tanzania, for example, is poised to improve its pediatric oncology initiatives through the development of three new cancer centers, but these opportunities are not commonly known. McHenry will conduct a media campaign to enhance public knowledge about cancer while learning about cultural barriers in order to facilitate early diagnoses and disrupt acute inequalities in medical care.
Sheila Chukwulozie grew up in Nigeria and remembers watching Mmanwu masquerade from a hidden vantage point inside her house. Her project, “Dressing Culture: Learning to Create West African Things for West African People,” is partly inspired by this experience of witnessing masquerade. In her application, she describes how it ignited “a deep curiosity within me about the distance between women and the culture we are supposedly part of, but not in control of.”
Her Watson year will take her to Senegal, Sierra Leone, Trinidad, Ghana and Liberia, where she will apprentice with artisans. Throughout her travels, she will think about how objects reveal culture and spend time documenting different creative processes, adapting her method of documentation according to each cultural context. Eventually, she hopes to become the first woman from either her mother’s or father’s village to create her own mask and full-bodied masquerade.
Tomal Hossain, a music and computer science double major with a Five College certificate in ethnomusicology, will become a Watson Fellow and work on his project “Music Cultures of Muslim Majority Communities.”
From his childhood in Little Bangladesh, Los Angeles to the present, music has been a vital part of Hossain’s studies and interests. He is interested in understanding the place of music in Islam and the intersection of music and religion. “How has music been patronized or censored by organized groups or religious doctrine?” he asked in his application. “What is at stake when individuals challenge orthodox beliefs with regards to music’s place in Islam?”
Hossain, who won and declined a Fulbright to India, will start his Watson year in Senegal. He then moves on to Morocco and India before ending in Indonesia.
History of Art and English double major JinJin Xu will spend her Watson year listening to and writing about the narratives of mothers with her project “A Daughter’s Journey: Rewriting the Narrative of Dislocated Motherhood.” Growing up in Shanghai, Xu had personal experiences with women in various motherhood roles shaped by unique situations. Now, as Xu wrote in her application, she hopes to “rewrite the ways we tell and listen to these women’s stories, reclaiming their experiences from the static, gendered narratives of motherhood,” particularly for mothers who are refugees or migrant workers.
Xu will begin her exploration at a Burmese refugee camp in Thailand before heading to India, Australia and Germany. She will spend her final three months in the writing community of Cape Town, South Africa, finishing a book and writing project that she has already begun, titled “Mami’s Tail.”