Nine receive Fulbright grant offers
By Connor Watumull
Published on Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Nine Dartmouth students and alumni have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Grants by the U.S. State Department to conduct research or teach abroad, according to the College’s Scholarship Advising Office. Among the recipients are five members of the Class of 2012, two Dartmouth graduate students and two recent Dartmouth alumni, who will pursue projects in disciplines ranging from biology and physics to English and economic development. Next year, the grant recipients will travel to diverse locations around the world, including Malaysia, Tanzania, Germany, Thailand and Kazakhstan.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest educational exchange program that provides opportunities for students, young professionals and researchers in the U.S. to engage international communities through service, research and education, according to the program’s website. Approximately 40 Dartmouth students apply to receive Fulbright grants every year, according to Assistant Dean for Scholarship Advising Kristin O’Rourke.
The Fulbright program allows its grant recipients to design their own research projects, and O’Rourke said she attributes much of the program’s popularity among Dartmouth students to the flexibility of its research structure.
The College’s off-campus programs often serve as inspiration for Dartmouth students to seek Fulbright scholarships or similar international research grants, O’Rourke said.
“Many students go on their Language Study Abroad and Foreign Study Programs and decide that they want to continue their studies after they graduate,” she said.
Jacob Batchelor ’12, a grant recipient who plans to teach English next year to schoolchildren in Malaysia, said the program appealed to him because it provided the unique opportunity to serve the international community in a remote and exotic location.
“I chose to accept the grant because I get paid to fly across the world and teach little kids my native tongue in a beautiful country,” Batchelor said.
Comparative literature graduate student David Dulceany said he plans to explore his academic interest in Cuban-Romanian relations in Romania next year using his grant. Dulceany, the son of Romanian immigrants, said he appreciates the Fulbright program’s emphasis on grant recipients’ personal relationships with their academic research.
“It’s really significant to go back [to Romania] and re-experience my heritage while maintaining an academic focus,” Dulceany said.
Dulceany’s research will focus on the complex sociocultural and diplomatic relations between Romania and Cuba during the Communist era, and he intends to conduct the majority of his research using Romanian cultural and historical archives, he said. Following the completion of his research in Romania, Dulceany hopes to pursue a PhD in Spanish.
Several Fulbright grant recipients said they appreciate the preparation and guidance that the College afforded them during their undergraduate years.
Claire Scott ’09, a former Fulbright grant recipient now conducting research in Munich, Germany, said her Dartmouth senior thesis inspired the direction of her current research under a Fulbright grant. Her project explores themes of “home” and “homecoming” in the memoirs of German Jewish women.
“The Fulbright was a perfect opportunity to look in more depth at some of the things that ended up not fitting into my thesis,” she said.
Fulbright grant recipients are not limited to exploring academic topics that relate directly to their project, Scott said. This weekend, Scott will present a lecture about American Civil War re-enactments in Bamberg, Germany, to a group of German and American students, she said.
“During my time here, I have never felt very far away from the Dartmouth community,” Scott said. “The international connections that I have made both at Dartmouth and through the Fulbright program are invaluable to me.” Michael Chen ’11, a 2011 recipient studying Egyptian history in Germany, said an internship at Berlin’s Egyptian Museum during his junior spring led to his interest in the Amarna period of Egyptian history and enabled him to develop relationships that helped him in the Fulbright application process.
Chen said that he has enjoyed the intellectual liberty that the Fulbright program affords its participants.
“The most wonderful aspect of the Fulbright program is the enormous freedom it offers — one essentially continues one’s studies at whatever pace or manner one desires,” Chen said in an email to The Dartmouth.
The U.S. Student Program is a subsidiary of the Fulbright Program, an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Since the program’s founding in 1946, over 300,000 students, professors and professionals have traveled to 155 countries to increase mutual understanding between individuals of different nationalities.
Each fall, students and young professionals seeking Fulbright grants submit a “Statement of Grant Purpose” to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, whose members award grants to over 1,500 American students and recent graduates.
Batchelor is a member of The Dartmouth Staff