Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Every year, a number of Swatties are awarded prestigious fellowships and other grants to pursue research or study outside of Swarthmore. The Daily Gazette reached out to a list of awardees sent to us by Fellowships and Prizes Advisor Melissa Mandos. Here’s what they had to tell us (in email messages) about their upcoming experiences.
The Fulbright Program
This program, administered by the Department of State, awards grants that give recipients the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research with the intention of contributing to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
Ben Goossen ’13
Goossen will use his Fulbright to travel to Berlin, Germany. He’ll be there from September 2013 to July 2014 and will be researching the history of the German Protestant diaspora during the period 1871-1914.
“I’m especially interested in the intersections between religion and nationalism as expressed by these groups. I got interested in the topic through the process of writing my senior history thesis, which is about the German Mennonite diaspora during the same time period. I come from a diasporic German Mennonite community in central Kansas, and I’m fascinated by the ways that religion and nationality can be transmitted and transplanted from one place to another and how they evolve over time.”
Rebecca Hammond ’13
Hammond received her Fulbright research grant to study in Norway. She will work with a group at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo that is developing a saliva-based rapid test for tuberculosis.
“My project is to examine patient antibody response across strains of TB and to ensure that the rapid test is suitable for global use. The Grant is enough to survive for ten months. Apparently a gallon of milk costs like twelve dollars in Norway…”
Joan O’Bryan ’13
“I’m very excited for next year! I’ll be teaching English to middle and high school students in Germany. I haven’t been placed in a school yet; I’ll find out sometime in June or July. I think it’s going to be a really great opportunity—I’m excited to have a “year off” from high-stress academics while doing something interesting and meaningful to me!”
Alice Wong ’13
Wong received her Fulbright to do research in Japan. She will be working in the Yujiro Hayashi Laboratory at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. This laboratory focuses on developing organic catalysts and total synthesis of natural products.
“I am a Chemistry Major at Swarthmore, and have been working in Professor Paley’s lab for the past two and a half years doing synthetic organic/organometallic chemistry. Additionally, I am also a Japanese Minor, and I sought to combine these two interests and thus applied for a Fulbright Fellowship to do chemistry research in Japan.”
Max Nesterak ’13
Nesterak is a double major in German Studies and English Literature.
“As a recipient of the Fulbright Full Research Grant for 2013-14, I will spend a year in Berlin pursuing independent research on how multiethnic communities use street art and urban interventions to claim space and articulate identity in the public sphere. I will be studying reports of protests and street art from unification onward while maintaining an active blog of current movements in order to better understand how people change public space for political and ideological ends. I will work closely with faculty in the Institute of Art History at Free University and in the Institute of Art and Visual History at Humboldt University.”
Alex Anderson ’13
Anderson will be continuing his work in pottery with an arts-based study experience in China.
“My project is a 10-month period of study and artist residency at the China Academy of Art where I will continue to develop my work in functional and sculptural ceramic art. The purpose of this experience is to advance my work technically and conceptually in an environment with other artists from the academy under professorial guidance. My work in this capacity will serve as a transitional learning space between undergraduate and graduate studies before I return to the United States to complete an MFA in Ceramics and eventually obtain my own studio. While there are opportunities for international study in ceramics across the world, I chose China because it is the best place for me to continue my art at this point in my career, as the realism present in the Chinese ceramic aesthetic has had a significant impact on my most recent work. Hangzhou, the city in which my project will take place, is also near Jingdezhen, a ceramic mecca that I plan to visit periodically during my time in China to gain further technical skill.”
Thomas J Watson Fellowship
This fellowship, awarded by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, named in honor of the founder of IBM, gives students funding for a year of independent travel in an international setting.
Javier Perez ’13
Perez will use his fellowship to travel abroad for a year to Brazil, South Africa, and tentatively El Salvador. Here, he will work in hypercriminalized and marginalized communities, chronicling youths’ stories through spoken word and written poetry.
“This project embodies where my various passions intersect: poetry and spoken word, criminal and juvenile justice reform, education, activism, and youth empowerment… The fellowship is granting me the opportunity to explore newness in several different ways, including art forms I have little prior experience in (e.g. photography), countries I can decide to add to my project at any point, and people I aspire to meet from all different fields and communities.”
Nguyen was also awarded a Watson Fellowship but did not reply to a request for comment.
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship gives recipients $30,000 for graduate studies for four years.
Akunna Uka ’14
Uka plans to teach for a few years before pursuing a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
Mackenzie Welch ’14
Welch plans to use the funding to enter a joint degree program and pursue a JD and Masters in International Affairs.
“I’m interested in studying the effects of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America, especially in regards to rural communities. Eventually I hope to join the U.S. Foreign Service to help shape policy decisions that deal with Latin America.”
The Beinecke Scholarship funds the cost of students’ graduate studies.
Heather Lane ’14
Lane is planning on going directly from Swarthmore into a PhD program.
“I came into Swarthmore expecting to go on to a PhD and an academic career, and every semester I’ve become more convinced that I really want to do history for the rest of my life—I like research, and I like explaining it.”
National Institute of Standards and Technology Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship
These fellowships provide research opportunities for students to work with NIST scientists, expose them to research, and to promote the pursuit of graduate degrees in science and engineering.
Justin Cosentino ’15
Constentino will be conducting research at the Intelligent Systems Division in the Engineering Laboratory at NIST. He plans on investigating sensor object identification systems using a Kinect sensor and the Point Cloud Library.
“Not only does this fellowship provide a great opportunity to gain valuable research experience, but I will be working on a project that directly relates to my Intelligent Systems Honors preparation. I have not yet worked with robotics in any of my Computer Science classes, so it will be great to study a new field and see how my previous knowledge and skills relate to new topics.”
David Nahmias ’14 and Peter Weck ’15
Nahmias and Weck were also awarded NIST SURF Fellowships but did not reply to requests for comment.
Humanity in Action
This fellowship brings together international students to study national histories of discrimination as well as explore issues affecting minority groups today.
Cariad Chester ’13
Chester will be using his fellowship to spend the summer in Europe studying different historical and contemporary human rights abuses with a group of international scholars.
“As someone interested in the intersection between medicine and human rights, HIA seemed like a great opportunity to learn about injustices on an international scale… The reading list to prepare for the fellowship is over 500 pages… Swarthmore never ends…”
Woodrow Wilson-Rockefellers Fund Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color
This fellowship provides $30,000 as well as opportunities to receive mentoring and professional development in exchange for a minimum of three years of service in a high-need school.
Julio Alicea ’13
Alicea will be using his fellowship to attend Brown University as a Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) candidate.
“I applied for the award because I believe that there is a drastic need of teachers of color, especially male teachers of color, and I have a passion for teaching. I would like to work in an urban high school as a history teacher where I can teach for social justice, embrace student identities, and interrogate dominant narratives.”
James Madison Fellowship
This fellowship provides $24,000 to support the graduate study of aspiring secondary history/government teachers.
Victoria Pang ’13
Victoria will use her fellowship for one-year of a Master’s teaching program at Brown University starting this summer.
“After I complete my James Madison Fellowship and graduate from Brown University, I plan to teach History/Government in a high-need urban school district. As a Lang Opportunity Scholar, I worked with Chester high school students, which confirmed my passion for teaching. I hope to infuse my classroom with ideas, debates, and issues that are relevant to my students’ lives.”
Max Nesterak is a Co-Editor in Chief of The Daily Gazette.
Update: This article was updated to include a statement from Alex Anderson.