Fulbright Scholars 2013
Anaise Williams ’13, an honors anthropology major who also minored in biology, will travel to Bangladesh on a Fulbright Study/Research grant. Under the guidance of her mentor, Professor Malabika Sarker, a public health researcher at the James P. Grant School of Public Health in Dhaka, she will conduct an ethnographic study of why low-income, urban women who recently gave birth may not make use of the low-cost delivery centers available to them. She hopes her research can contribute to a reduction in the alarming incidence of maternal mortality and postpartum morbidity in Bangladesh.
This project builds upon several experiences abroad and in the U.S. Williams spent part of last summer doing qualitative analysis as an intern with the Georgetown Institute for Reproductive Health in Washington, D.C., which gave her invaluable experience developing project management skills and reinforcing her research abilities. In spring 2012, she participated in a study abroad program based in Khon Kaen, Thailand, where her courses included classwork and fieldwork on the effects of development and globalization on traditional practices and cultural beliefs of rural villagers. With support from the Samuels Scholarship from the Department of Anthropology, and the Susan B. Anthony Grant from the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies, she was able to extend her stay in Thailand to conduct fieldwork on cultural perceptions of prenatal precaution for her honors thesis. Working only with a translator, Williams traveled independently, touring villages and hospitals to interview expectant mothers on their perceptions of pregnancy and how they reconcile traditional and modern views of prenatal care. This spring, Williams presented the results of her research at the National Collegiate Research Conference at Harvard University and was given the Award of Excellence, the second place prize awarded to five out of 250 student presenters and the top prize for the social sciences.
A resident of Belgrade, Maine, Williams contributed to diverse aspects of campus life during her time at Rochester. She was a teaching assistant in both anthropology and biology and served for two and a half years as a primary school tutor through Rochester’s UReading Program, from which she received the community service award. She also served as business manager and president of the Undergraduate Anthropology Council, is a member of Alpha Phi Sorority, and was a founding member and executive board member of GlobeMed at UR, where she created awareness activities that focused on human rights issues. Williams, who graduated cum laude and was awarded highest distinction and honors in research in anthropology, plans future graduate study in public health and anthropology with a focus on women’s reproductive health.
Thanks to a Fulbright Study/Research grant to India, Andrew Otis ’11 will combine the passion for newspapers he developed as a child with his interests in history and political science as he explores the historical archives of the Bengal Gazette, the first English newspaper published in Calcutta. His research will look at the effects the early press may have had on the Bengal Renaissance, the 19th-century social reform movement critical to the development of the concept of India as a nation-state. He believes that understanding this period of India’s history will improve understanding of contemporary India. He will conduct his Fulbright research with guidance from scholars at University of Calcutta, Jadavpur University, Presidency University, and the Center for Studies in Social Sciences.
In addition to his Fulbright student grant, Otis was awarded a Critical Language Enhancement Award to pursue studies in Bangla to aid his research efforts. The CLEA, which required a separate application, is also sponsored by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is available to Fulbright applicants to selected countries for critical-need foreign languages. As an undergraduate, Otis spent all of 2010 studying abroad, first in Cape Town, South Africa, followed by a semester in Hyderabad, India, when he also visited Calcutta for the first time. At University of Cape Town, he was a writer and editor for the student newspaper. This year-long experience planted the seeds for his history honors thesis entitled Freedom of the Press in British South Africa and India.
This will be the second time Otis immerses himself in historical newspaper archives. In 2011, he was awarded a Joseph P. O'Hern Scholarship for Travel and Study in Europe from Rochester’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter, and used it to extend his senior thesis work by studying British colonial newspapers at the British Library in London. The excitement of working with the largest supply of colonial newspapers, in turn, helped set the stage for Otis’ Fulbright proposal. The project also intersects with his interest in journalism, which was fostered through work as the opinion and online editor of the Campus Times, Rochester’s undergraduate newspaper. While a student, he also completed a summer press internship with the office of the Connecticut Secretary of State. After graduation, Otis interned with National Public Radio, working with the opinion section of the news program All Things Considered. On admission to Rochester, Otis, of Higganum, Conn., received the Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Scholarship in Humanities. He also won a study abroad scholarship from AIFS International, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, graduated magna cum laude, and achieved highest distinction and honors in research in history. After his year in India, he may pursue an advanced degree in history.
Anja Weinrib-Weiss ’13, a brain and cognitive sciences major and American Sign Language minor, was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Thailand, where she will be teaching middle and high school students at the Maerim Wittayakom School, located in the northern province of Chiang Mai. During the summer vacation period in Thailand, she hopes to put her knowledge of sign language to use as a volunteer with an organization that serves deaf youth. As her academic focus suggests, she brings to the ETA position a deep commitment to learning how others learn language, as well as significant travels abroad.
For Weinrib-Weiss, the Fulbright year in Thailand will build on a solid resume of teaching experiences in different cultural contexts, with students of varying age levels. Between high school graduation and enrolling at Rochester, she spent a year teaching English in Israel to both Israeli and recently immigrated elementary and high school students. Subsequently, she spent a semester tutoring a middle school student in math and served as a calculus teaching assistant for six semesters at Rochester. Add to that five summers of teaching and mentoring at a youth camp and a summer working as an instructor and resident advisor for Exploration summer programs, an academic program for American and international high school students, and you have a well-equipped toolkit for the teaching and ambassadorial duties of her Fulbright position.
A resident of Arlington, Mass., Weinrib-Weiss immersed herself in campus life at Rochester. She was involved with the Mock Trial Team and worked as a Meridian in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. As a member of Sigma Delta Tau sorority, she served on the organization’s executive board. She also was a member of the Order of Omega Greek honor society and the National Society for Collegiate Scholars. Graduating cum laude and with high distinction in brain and cognitive sciences, Weinrib-Weiss aspires to a career as a science educator; she said that she wants to be a role model for girls who love science and math .
Biomedical engineering major Ankit Medhekar ’13 will put his Spanish minor and three years of experience as a chemistry workshop leader to use as he travels to Spain as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. Placed at a bilingual secondary school in Madrid, he will help teach classes in subjects that encompass the natural sciences, social sciences, and technology. While studying in Granada in summer 2012 and living with a host family, Medhekar realized the Fulbright ETA program provided the perfect opportunity to combine his love of teaching, passion for the sciences, and long fascination with Spanish language and culture. Besides his teaching and ambassadorial duties, he is eager to bring to life one lesson in particular from his study of Spanish. In Professor Claudia Schaefer’s course, Postcards from Spain: Visitors, Observers, and Imaginary Geographies, students learned about the culture and history of Spain by writing fictional postcards about aspects of different cities. Medhekar hopes he’ll have time to travel to cities like Barcelona and Guernica and visit the landmarks he wrote about in class.
For Medhekar, the study of Spanish was one piece of his undergraduate career. As a biomedical engineering (BME) student, he conducted research on stem cells, pathology, and biomechanics in laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh. Along with students W. Spencer Klubben, Michael Nolan, Sonja Page, Matt Plakosh, and Erin Schnellinger, Medhekar developed TrakOr, a biomedical engineering senior design project, which was created to make a more accurate electronic tracking system to replace pencil and paper tracking systems for intravenous (IV) drugs. TrakOr won third place in the biotechnology and healthcare category at the New York Business Plan Competition and earned a second place finish in Rochester’s Charles and Janet Forbes Entrepreneurial Competition.
Medhekar’s list of co-curricular activities is as impressive as his academic credentials. He was president of the Association for Development of Interest in the Indian Subcontinent (ADITI), president of Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, served as a mentor to other BME students, and was a four-year member of the Indian dance team, Rochester Raas. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa this spring, he graduated magna cum laude and with highest distinction in biomedical engineering. A Rochester Early Medical Scholar, Medhekar, of Coraopolis, Pa., hopes the increased language and cultural proficiency he gains from his Fulbright experience will enable him to better serve future patients as a clinician and educator.
Asad Arastu ’12, an economics major who minored in Spanish, was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Turkey. With extensive world travels bookended by two brief trips to Turkey 10 years apart, Arastu was drawn to this country straddling Europe and Asia for several reasons, including his affinity for the blend of Eastern and Western ideas and practices that stems from his own multicultural background. During his spring 2012 visit to Turkey, Arastu spent much of his time talking with Turkish youth, and this sharing of experiences and perspectives fueled his desire to return to the country to continue this kind of cross-cultural exchange while also making a contribution to the global preparedness of young Turks by helping them learn English. His undergraduate experiences as a freshman mentor, admissions tour guide, and deputy speaker of the Students’ Association made him well-suited to the role of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant working with university students abroad.
Arastu is a Rochester Early Medical Scholar who will pursue a medical degree at Rochester once his Fulbright year is complete. He hopes this Fulbright experience will provide a “global perspective” that he feels is essential to the delivery of medical care in a world made smaller by the effects of globalization and digital communication. This will augment an academic career that has largely focused on combining interests in medicine and economics. Arastu earned laboratory experience at the Strong Children’s Research Center training with doctors there on vaccine development. At the same time, he conducted an independent study on health economics, which in turn inspired him to pursue a master’s degree in international health policy and health economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. As he completes his degree requirements, he also is engaged in an internship with the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, where he is working with health economists to look at how to most effectively offer tuberculosis screenings. He’ll complete the internship and LSE degree before heading to Turkey.
A resident of Whittier, Calif., Arastu was an active member of the campus community, holding several leadership roles in the Students’ Association senate, presiding over his class council, and co-founding the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. He studied abroad in Spain, received the Freshman Leadership Award, was an Iota Book Award winner, and graduated in May 2012 magna cum laude and with distinction in economics.
Cameron La Point
Cameron La Point
A recipient of a Fulbright Study/Research grant, Cameron LaPoint ’13 will spend 10 months studying behavioral economics at Kyoto University in Japan. Through the grant, the Henrietta, N.Y., resident has found a way to translate a triple-major in economics, history, and math, along with a minor in Japanese, into a research project that will explore how people in Japan make fiscal decisions. This project will build on research he conducted for his senior honors thesis in history examining changing attitudes towards the financial sector in East Asia since the start of the 20th century, as well as his honors thesis in economics, which relied on pre-existing data to make estimates on risk aversion. In Japan, he’ll construct a survey to understand how Japanese culture and tradition affect economic decisions. “The savings rates in Japan are much higher than in the United States,” LaPoint said. “I’m interested in seeing if, historically, the Japanese have been more risk-averse and what sort of trends are behind this economic behavior.” Previous studies have approached the saving disparity between the U.S. and Japan from different perspectives than the one that interests LaPoint.
For LaPoint, who has studied Japanese for three years, this will be his first experience in Japan and his first time working with the survey method. Consulting with faculty mentors at Rochester, he is doing some of the work for the survey this summer prior to his departure for Japan. Once in Kyoto, he’ll work with an economist at Kyoto University's Graduate School of Economics to collect data from a cohort of participants affiliated with his host university, and noted his enthusiasm for learning about the survey etiquette of another culture.
With support from an NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant (REU), LaPoint spent summer 2011 at Tulane University, where he conducted historical economics research on the interregional slave trade, studying in particular its impact in Baltimore and New Orleans. He co-authored a paper on this project with his REU mentor, Professor Jonathan Pritchett. LaPoint’s work at Rochester under the direction of economics professor Asen Kochov allowed him to study risk aversion and analyze surveys on risk preferences, providing him a solid foundation for his Fulbright project in Japan. He was also a research assistant to history professor Elias Mandala through that department’s HOUR program and held several editorial positions on Rochester’s Journal of Undergraduate Research. His impressive list of academic honors include winning the Undergraduate Writing Colloquium Contest for Social Sciences and the Modern Languages and Cultures Book Award for Japanese, induction into Phi Beta Kappa, graduating magna cum laude, and earning highest distinction and honors in research in both economics and history, as well as distinction in mathematics. LaPoint plans to pursue a Ph.D. in economics following his Fulbright year in Japan.
Garrett Rubin '12E/T5'13 was awarded a 2013-14 Fulbright mtv-U Award to Jordan. A recent addition to the Fulbright program, the mtv-U grant, which is given to just four applicants each year, supports projects that promote music as a global force for mutual understanding. A voice major at Eastman, Rubin is the first Rochester Fulbright applicant to receive an mtv-U Award. The grant will allow Rubin the opportunity to work with the Jordanian National Music Conservatory to implement a music outreach program for displaced Iraqi children at the Collateral Repair Project Refugee Community Center in Amman, Jordan. Additionally, Rubin will document his project by creating a multimedia "songbook" for American music classrooms. This web-based music education tool will include recordings and sheet music from the program in Amman, as well as original video footage documenting the lives and stories of program participants and their families.
Rubin's Fulbright project will afford him an opportunity for first-hand experience in the Arab world, following his study of U.S.-Middle Eastern cultural diplomacy as a participant in Rochester's Take Five Scholars Program, a competitive-application program that allows selected students a tuition-free semester or academic year of additional study beyond degree requirements to pursue a topic of interest as a broadening experience. However, before heading off to Jordan, Rubin will continue the Arabic language and culture study he began at Rochester by spending eight weeks of his summer at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., at the West coast site of the world-renowned Middlebury Language Schools. This intensive study opportunity is made possible by Rubin's recent selection as a recipient of a highly competitive Kathyrn Davis Fellowships for Peace: Investing in the Study of Critical Languages. One hundred of these awards are made available for intensive summer study in six languages.
At the Eastman School, opera fans may recognize Rubin from his lead role of John Wilkes Booth in Eastman Opera Theatre's production of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins. In recognition of his academic and musical excellence, he was given the Ornest Award, the highest honor given by the Eastman voice department to a third-year undergraduate student. Rubin also was distinguished as a 2011-2012 Presser Scholar, which is a nationally funded award given by the school in association with the Presser Music Foundation. During his time at Rochester, Rubin also participated in several projects that use the arts as a way to engage with the community. In fall 2008, he helped found Rochester Area Students for the Shropshire Music Foundation, a student organization that fundraises and increases awareness for the Shropshire Foundation, an organization that uses music education to help children affected by armed conflict. In conjunction with this foundation, he went to Kosovo in summer 2010 to teach music classes to Kosovar youth. In the summer of 2012, he served as the co-director and program facilitator at the Vancouver International Song Institute’s Arts of Conscience Symposium. Based at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, the symposium is a six-day program of lectures, workshops, and film screenings designed to inspire young artists toward social and civic engagement. As a summer 2009 Urban Fellow, a service-learning and civic engagement program of the Rochester Center for Community Leadership, Rubin worked at Writers & Books on the development of a scholarship fund for underprivileged urban youth. The leadership, character, and interest in serving his fellow students that he demonstrated in his first year won him the Andrew Fried Prize, awarded annually to one freshman at the University. Rubin also helped design and implement the now annual George Eastman Day of Service at the Eastman School of Music. Fittingly, in spring 2012, he received the Presidential Award for Community Service.
Jyothi Purushotham’s ’13 first exposure to stem cell research was during an internship at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute during summer 2012. The experience sparked in her a passion to continue such research, and now, thanks to a Fulbright Study/Research grant, the molecular genetics major and anthropology minor will travel to India to do just that. Working under Dr. Virender Sangwan at the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, she will research how to advance eye care delivery to the marginalized residents of rural India. More specifically, she intends to investigate the potential use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for corneal regeneration in patients suffering severe ocular damage. This alternative therapy would eliminate the need for stem cell donors and thereby expand this treatment to many more patients.
“My Fulbright research project is a true intersection of the fields I’m interested in—stem cell research, clinical care, and public health,” said Purushotham, who plans to attend medical school in the future. “Experiencing how to treat people who cannot afford medical care is a wonderful model to learn from.”
Purushotham’s outstanding academic record and passion for biomedical sciences led to laboratory research experiences in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology as well as the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She also completed an independent research project on leukemia. For several years, the junior-year Phi Beta Kappa inductee also shared her knowledge of molecular biology, chemistry, and organic chemistry as a workshop leader and teaching assistant. She also was a member of GlobeMed at Rochester and volunteered as a GED tutor at the Center for Youth, a local non-profit organization. She graduated summa cum laude.
A native of Honeoye Falls, N.Y., Purushotham has made several family trips to India to visit relatives. As a painter and art history enthusiast, she is particularly excited about living in Hyderabad and experiencing its unique combination of traditional Hindu and Mughal art and architecture.
Richmond, Vt. resident Laurel Raymond '13 will spend her Fulbright year as an English Teaching Assistant in Turkey. Her initial interest in Turkey was sparked by interactions with high school-aged Turkish refugees during her work as a volunteer tutor through Rochester’s Rotaract Club. Motivated by this experience, she chose to make a short trip to Istanbul at the end of a summer 2012 study program in Paris. “Turkey really stood out from the European countries I had visited,” she explained. “I was struck by the friendly, welcoming nature of the people I encountered and felt it offered something different than what I had experienced before.” Conversations with the clerk in her hotel about English and Turkish literature had set the tone for her entire experience in Turkey, making her eager for the extended stay and cultural immersion that the Fulbright would offer her.
Raymond, who completed both a bachelor of arts degree in English and a bachelor of science degree in brain and cognitive sciences at Rochester, said that the three years she spent as a Writing Fellow, as well as her biology workshop leader training and experience will be particularly useful during her teaching assistantship in a Turkish university. Additionally, she is familiar with the challenges and opportunities that come with helping students who are not native speakers of English. A research project she co-conducted on the Writing Center looked at the services requested versus the services provided and offered recommendations for how the center could improve. It was an important lesson, she said, on teaching pedagogy and the benefits of collaborative tutoring. This research was presented at Rochester’s 2012 Undergraduate Research Expo and garnered the Dean’s Choice Award for Research in the Social Sciences. The research paper also was published in the Writing Center Journal in summer 2012. In addition to the Writing Center research project, Raymond worked on two honors theses, in English and brain and cognitive sciences. She’ll present results from work she did under the guidance of Professor Mike Tanenhaus at the Experimental Pragmatics Conference in the Netherlands in fall 2013. Raymond’s English thesis also garnered a Dean’s Choice Award for Research in the Humanities.
Raymond’s campus involvement was as diverse as her academic interests and included not only presiding over the Undergraduate English Council but also participating in the Hatha yoga club and playing flute in the University Wind Ensemble. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa this spring, the magna cum laude graduate capped off her undergraduate career with highest distinction and high honors in research in brain and cognitive sciences, as well as highest distinction and honors in research in English. During commencement, Raymond also was awarded the John R. Slater award, given to the student who has shown the most competence in the use of the English language, the Charles Miller Williams and Mary Washington Miller Memorial Prize for the best essay in English or the Classics, and the Susan W. Williams Memorial Prize, given to a female student who has done the best work in the Department of English. After returning from her Fulbright year in Turkey, she plans to apply to doctoral programs with hopes of a university teaching career in American or cultural studies.
Rebekah Shannon Carpio
United Kingdom (England)
Vienna, Va., native Rebekah Carpio ’13E hopes to master her performance skills through intensive orchestral training at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, England thanks to a Fulbright Study/Research grant. A clarinet performance major at Eastman, she will continue her education while training with members of the London Symphony and enrolling in master classes taught by members of the Barbican Associates.
While the Fulbright will be Carpio’s first experience abroad, she has spent her undergraduate career traveling along the east coast of the United States, performing at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, N.Y., and with the National Symphony Orchestra’s summer music institute program in Washington, D.C. At Eastman, she was a member of the Wind Ensemble and several chamber music groups. Before heading to London, Carpio will perform at the Norfolk Chamber Music Fest in Norfolk, Va.
At Eastman, Carpio earned a Howard Hansen Merit Scholarship, was a member of the Dean’s List, and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Lamba, a music honor society. She was also enrolled in the Eastman Arts Leadership Program.
For Rohini Bhatia ’13, a Fulbright Study/ Research grant will be an opportunity to continue research on youth tobacco use in Delhi, India. An epidemiology major, she will work under mentor Dr. Monika Arora at the Public Health Foundation of India, studying their tobacco prevention curriculum and developing plans for scaling it up to a national program. “I’ll be looking at this curriculum to see which factors can be nationally adaptable and which factors are culturally adaptable by state,” said Bhatia. This project will build upon research she conducted in summer 2012 in Ladakh, India, under the guidance of Dr. Nancy Chin, an associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University’s Medical Center. Using the Research and Innovation Grant (RIG) that she was awarded on admission to Rochester, Bhatia, along with three other students, surveyed school-age children to get a baseline understanding of their knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to tobacco use. On returning home to Maryland after her summer research in India, Bhatia sought to marshal her new knowledge and skills for the benefit of her local community by presenting a literature review of successful youth tobacco cessation programs to help inspire a pilot program for the Howard County Health Department. She followed up these experiences with a full semester of study in New Delhi pursuing a program focused on health and human rights in India. Before Bhatia begins her Fulbright study, she will spend the summer volunteering with Arogya World, a nonprofit working to prevent non-communicable diseases through health education and lifestyle change.
While Bhatia, a resident of Ellicott City, Md., created an impressive undergraduate research portfolio at Rochester, her public health research experience actually began in high school, when she interned at the National Cancer Institute for two summers. This work led to a 2010 publication in the Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. In summer 2011, she completed an internship in behavioral epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. A 2012 Truman Scholarship finalist, Bhatia played an instrumental role in the establishment of Rochester’s chapter of GlobeMed, serving as co-president for two years. She was also a co-recipient of the inaugural Dr. Holly A. Atkinson Prize in Public Health in spring 2011, when she also won the Sokol Prize for Sophomore Leadership.
Besides her exceptional public health work inside and outside the classroom, Bhatia was an active contributor to the campus community through roles as Vice President of the Students’ Association, residential advisor, and member of the award-winning Bhangra Dance Team. Graduating cum laude and with high distinction and honors in research in epidemiology, the Rochester Early Medical Scholar plans to return to the University to complete a medical degree after her Fulbright year in India. During her medical training, Bhatia hopes to bring her growing expertise on youth tobacco use to prevention initiatives in the Rochester area.
Gabrielle Cornish of Elmira, N.Y., was a Russian studies and music major at Rochester. Her knowledge of the language was fostered by study abroad experiences in Ufa, Russia as a Critical Language Scholar and in St. Petersburg, Russia, as a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholar. She also participated in the highly selective and intensive summer language institute at Middlebury College. During her two study terms in Russia, Cornish gained experience teaching English to Russian speakers and also gave several presentations on American history, culture, and values, giving her a taste of the role she would play as a Fulbright ETA and cultural ambassador. Prior experiences as a college teaching assistant and summer youth counselor are also part of her toolkit.
For Cornish, the Fulbright is an opportunity to integrate fully into a Russian community; an experience she feels will be different from her time as a visiting student. Her ETA placement will take her to Chelyabinsk, where she’ll be teaching at Chelyabinsk State Pedagogical University. Cornish is also an alternate for the Critical Language Enhancement Award, a special opportunity for individualized language training relevant to the student’s academic interests and career goals that is available to Fulbright grantees in selected countries. While abroad, she hopes part of her cultural exchange will include a music component, noting that Russian composers including Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky sparked her interest in the language. This year, she won the President’s Award at the Undergraduate Research Expo for a paper she wrote on the history of Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony. “I’m excited to share lessons about American music, and learn more about Russian music,” said Cornish, who also studied classical percussion at Rochester. “I’ve found that particularly with contemporary music, you can always find something that resonates well with others.”
In addition to her studies, Cornish was involved in the Slavic Club, the Undergraduate Musicians’ Council, Trebellious A Capella, and the Modern Languages Council. A member of the Slavic Honor Society, Cornish graduated cum laude with distinction in Russian Studies and highest distinction in Music. She hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in Russian musicology after completing her Fulbright.
For Madeleine Klingler ’13, a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Russia represents the chance to progress further towards her goal of fluency in the Russian language while gaining valuable experience teaching English as a second language in a formal classroom setting. Klingler studied in St. Petersburg, Russia in fall 2011, and she also took advantage of a volunteer opportunity to teach English to Russian adults. While abroad, Klingler also sang in a Russian choir. For her, the Fulbright ETA experience is a dream opportunity to spend a year doing what she aspires to do professionally for a good period of her life—furthering her knowledge of everything Russian while teaching English.
Awarded a Renaissance & Global Scholarship, the full-tuition, four-year scholarship given to an exceptional group of students upon acceptance into Rochester, Klingler came to UR from Chatham, N.Y., with a strong interest in teaching and a passion for foreign languages. Since her first day of Russian 101, she was hooked and soon decided to pursue a major in Russian, to which she added a minor in linguistics along with coursework in cognitive sciences. These language-focused studies, which also include Spanish and Latin, are complemented by an impressive resume of teaching experience as well. As a three-year member of the University’s Partners in Reading program, Klingler tutored elementary school students in first, fourth, and sixth grade in the Rochester City School District. During summer 2012, she also took the initiative to develop and teach a beginner’s Russian language course, offered free of charge to residents at the public library in her small, rural community.
As an undergraduate, Klingler was active in the Slavic Club and played saxophone in the University’s Pep Band for one year. A regular member of the Dean’s List, she was awarded the Sophomore Book Award in Russian in 2010, inducted into the Slavic Honor Society, and received honorable mention from the American Council of Teachers of Russian in the 2012 national post-secondary Russian essay contest.
Russian and Classics double major Meredith Doubleday ’13 grew up in Richfield Springs, N.Y., among a strong Russian Orthodox community. However, her first time engaging with the language in an academic setting was at Rochester, where an introductory course under Professor John Givens would soon translate into a rich undergraduate career studying the language and culture. Doubleday studied abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia during the fall 2012 semester, where she volunteered as an English instructor at the Language Club and taught a wide age range of adults. She’s also traveled to the country several times as a member of the Russian Orthodox Youth Choir and given presentations on her work with this group to students, faculty, and political representatives in addition to her musical performances. With placement in Voronezh, Russia, the Fulbright ETA opportunity is the perfect vehicle for Doubleday’s intensive engagement with Russian language and culture and her life-long desire to teach English as a second language. Her decision to devote her Russian honors thesis to pre-revolutionary Russian orthography demonstrates the depth of her passion for Russian. Moreover, Doubleday’s years of experience navigating between Russian and American cultures position her extremely well for the ambassadorial duties of a Fulbright fellow.
Doubleday’s Russophile proclivities have also found expression through her experience working in museums. Summer stints at the Fenimore Art Musuem and the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, NY, enabled her to obtain a competitive internship at the Hermitage Museum during her semester in St. Petersburg. This experience led to another prestigious internship with the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress in summer 2012. There, she updated the virtual card catalog of rare, pre-revolutionary Russian books and maps from the Library’s 80,000-volume Yudin Collection. In an interesting case of detective work, Doubleday found that certain maps in the collection were created by the great-grandfather of family friends who hosted her while she was in D.C.
At Rochester, Doubleday complemented her exceptional academic work with diverse campus involvement. She served as president of the Undergraduate Religion and Classics Council, was a member of the Slavic Club, and participated in Colleges Against Cancer and Relay for Life. Doubleday was also a Freshman Fellow and volunteered as a language tutor in a Rochester city elementary school through the Modern Languages and Cultures Council. Her list of academic accolades is extensive, including the Iota Book Award from the Rochester chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the Sophomore Book Award for Russian, the Classics Honor Society, and the Slavic Honor Society. Doubleday was also inducted into Phi Beta Kappa this spring, graduating summa cum laude, and with highest distinction in both Russian and Classics. Doubleday has returned to the Library of Congress for the summer before heading back to Russia to commence her Fulbright year.
Chester, N.Y., resident Veronica Price ’13, who studied psychology and German at Rochester, was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Germany, where she will help students in Nordrhein-Westfalen improve their English communication skills and learn more about U.S. culture and history. During her 10 months abroad, she’ll draw on experiences as an elementary school tutor through Rochester’s Partners in Reading program and her high school tutoring background, as well as her knowledge of child and adolescent development. She also intends to apply lessons from her own experience learning German language and culture in the U.S. from instructors who were natives of Germany.
For Price, the Fulbright will be her first significant experience abroad and fulfills a long desire to use her knowledge of German in an immersive environment. While at Rochester, she was awarded the German Book Award, given by the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, and the Kreyer Prize, given for excellence in spoken German. In addition to working in various college offices including the Office of Alumni Relations and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at URMC, Price spent several semesters and a summer conducting research in developmental psychology, contributing particularly to the Me and My Family Project led by professors Melissa Sturge-Apple and Patrick Davies. Her honors thesis in psychology focused on the relationship between early childhood temperament and developmental outcomes.
Outside of her studies and research, Price contributed to campus life through leadership roles as a member of the Community Learning Center, a special-interest house at Rochester. She was also the business manager and president of the Bowling Club. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior, Price served as a student representative for the honor society. She graduated summa cum laude, with highest distinction in German, as well as highest distinction and honors in research in psychology. She hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology after her Fulbright year in Germany.
Meet Rochester’s Record-Breaking Fulbright Recipients
This spring, a record-breaking 13 Rochester students and two alums have been awarded 2013-14 Fulbright U.S. Student Grants to advance their studies, perform research, and teach English abroad while serving as young ambassadors to their host countries. Fulbright faculty committees at both the River Campus and Eastman endorsed 29 and three candidates, respectively, in the recently completed competitions, with 13 out of 14 River Campus finalists receiving Fulbright awards, and two out of three Eastman finalists finding success. These new Rochester Fulbright student scholars will be heading to 10 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Fulbright Grants, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, offer opportunities for career-launching study, teaching, and research abroad to college graduates and current graduate students. Since 2008, 45 Rochester students and alumni have received a Fulbright Grant, which is among the most prestigious and competitive post-graduate fellowship programs.
“This has been an extraordinary year in national student fellowship competitions at Rochester, and nothing about this year’s successes thrills me more than seeing so many of our Fulbright candidates with their diverse backgrounds, academic and extracurricular interests, and career aspirations chosen to pursue highly varied projects around the globe,” said Belinda Redden, director of fellowships at Rochester who worked with many of the students who earned Fulbrights. “All of us who worked with Fulbright candidates this past year are extremely proud and pleased for our students’ success on this national scale. We know that they are already inspiring future Rochester Fulbright applicants, making it all the more important that we celebrate the triumphs of our winners.”
The Fulbright program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, offers opportunities for career-launching study, teaching, and research abroad and is designed to promote education and cultural exchange between the United States and other nations. Post-graduate scholars pursuing study or research design their own programs and arrange institutional affiliations in the host countries. The grants cover expenses such as international travel and health insurance, and also provide a monthly stipend. Established by Congress in 1946, Fulbright is the largest federally sponsored international educational exchange program.