10 Wesleyan Students, 1 Alumna Receive Fulbrights

Lauren RubensteinApril 25, 20166min

Eleven Wesleyans were finalists in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program this year, including 10 from the Class of 2016, and a Class of 2013 alumna. In all, 23 people from Wesleyan applied for Fulbrights, and 12 were semi-finalists.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The program operates in 160 countries worldwide. Primary funding for the program comes from an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations and foundations in the U.S. and abroad also provide direct and indirect support.

The program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs. Candidates must submit a Statement of Grant Purpose defining activities to take place during one academic year in a participating country outside the U.S. Recipients are selected based on academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

The program is open to graduating seniors and recent graduates of BA programs, as well as master’s and doctoral candidates and certain young professionals.

Of the 11 finalists at Wesleyan, seven accepted the Fulbright Scholarships.

Those who accepted are:

  • Leah Bakely ’16, teaching assistant Fulbright in Spain. She wants to use her teaching skills in Spain because it offers her the opportunity to meaningfully engage with her academic interests and career aspirations, and improve her language skills.
  • Stephanie Blumenstock ’16, teaching assistant Fulbright in France. She wants to fully immerse herself in the French culture, and make a difference by helping students from underprivileged backgrounds learn English.
  • Abigal Gruppuso ’16, teaching assistant Fulbright in Taiwan. She wants to further explore her love for Chinese culture, and transfer her experiential language learning onto students.
  • Tenzin Kyisarh ’16, teaching assistant Fulbright in Thailand. She would like to learn about Thai culture in greater depth and create a mutual exchange of knowledge with students about their respective cultures.
  • Colfax Phillips ’16, academic Fulbright in Jordan. He will be analyzing how and why the norms for participating in public life are changing among the younger generations of East Bank Jordanians, with a focus on East Bank Jordanian tribal communities in the northern and southern areas of the country. The project will focus on the shifting role that youth play in Jordan and how Jordanian policy can adapt to these changes, with policy implications for youth-state dynamics in the region.
  • Nellie Triedman ’13, academic Fulbright in Chile. She will seek to improve understanding of the psychological factors and developmental problems associated with childhood obesity, which has become a major public health problem in Latin America. She plans to collaborate with a research team to develop and incorporate measurements of mental health, behavioral health and wellbeing into the Growth and Chilean Cohort Study, a large longitudinal study in Santiago, Chile.
  • Emily Weinstock-Collins ’16, teaching assistant Fulbright in Spain. She intends to pursue a career in education, with a particular interest in teaching English as a second language. She wants to return to Spain, where she previously studied abroad, to more fully immerse herself in the community and culture.

Kate Smith, associate director of fellowships, internships and exchanges, said, “In my first year with the Center for Global Studies, I have enjoyed meeting so many students and working with them to prepare their applications for Fulbright. Many applicants have had the opportunity to study abroad and want to build upon that experience either through education as an English Teaching Assistant or to further explore areas of academic interests through independent research.”

She advised any student who is interested in the Fulbright to begin planning for it now.

“This year, Wesleyan will have an on-campus priority deadline of July 1 in an effort to encourage interested applicants to contact me early on to discuss their ideas and application,” she said. “The sooner you start to think purposefully about the application, the stronger and clearer your ideas will be.”