2023 Wesleyan Fulbright Fellows Begin Their Work

Steve ScarpaAugust 29, 202312min


The interests and accomplishments of Wesleyan’s current cohort of Fulbright Fellowship recipients is diverse, ranging from education to translation to refugee reception to tracing ancient trade routes across the Mediterranean.

“This reflects something that I’m not sure people realize about the Fulbright program: with hundreds of distinctly different grants available across more than 140 countries, there’s no one cookie cutter Fulbrighter,” said Erica Kowsz, Associate Director for Fellowships.

Nick Bowman ’23, Margalit Katz ’22, Ben Levin ’23, Emily McDougal ’23, and Anna Tjeltveit ’23 will fan out across the globe for their Fulbright years starting this Fall. “With two going to Central Europe, we’ll still have representation on a bunch of continents and world regions: East Asia, the Middle East, North America, and South America, in addition to Europe. Usually, we have people going to three or four distinct world regions during the same year,” she said.

Nick Bowman, the student tracing ancient trade routes, grew up around museums, sparking his interest in archeology. He approached the Fulbright process with a focus on his future academic career—underwater archaeologist. He’ll be studying in a master’s program in Israel. “Archaeology is such a profound storytelling device. I loved stories of ancient heroes and characters growing up. As I’ve become more academically driven and focused, so it’s less about individual cosmic and mythic figures. It’s more about recovering past stories … I think the ability to recover those narratives that are otherwise lost and holding objects that are thousands of years old is quite inspiring,” Bowman said.

Anna Tjeltveit, an English major and novelist, is hoping that through her work teaching English in Germany that she’ll be able to dive deeply into the local literary community. During her time studying abroad in Hamburg, she was involved in a writing circle connected with an experimental theatre company. “Fulbright really wants people who are self-starters, who are going to seek out things for themselves. I think for me, as an artist, it’s really important to engage with people who are doing different work,” Tjeltveit said.

While in Argentina, Emily McDougal plans to explore the cultural connection between the Italian and Spanish languages spoken there. “I am interested in the looking at the interplay between those languages and what influences they have on each other,” McDougal said.

Teaching English is the first step towards a career as a translator. A self-described book worm, McDougal found in high school the dual thrills of literature and foreign languages. “I was reading a lot of books in translation and I thought it would be really cool if I were one of the people to help get these authors, these new perspectives into a wider audience,” she said.

With the application deadline of September 12 rapidly approaching, Kowsz is excited to see what kind of innovative ideas current Wesleyan students might have. The Fulbright US Student Program webpage has resources for interested students, including profiles of Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors. Wesleyan’s own David Vizgan, ’21, is one of the twenty official alumni ambassadors this year.

“Anyone who is eligible and interested should do a little exploring and see if the program might be right for them,” Kowsz said.


Nick Bowman ’23 is from Carlisle, Pennsylvania. At Wesleyan, he is majoring in Archaeology and Classical Civilizations with a minor in Environmental Studies. During his undergraduate studies, he conducted international archaeological and marine science field-based projects in Israel, Scotland, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. This summer he will return to Israel as a geographic information systems (GIS) specialist on the archaeological excavation at Tel Shimron. His undergraduate honors thesis explores maritime connectivity and mobility in the southeastern Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean during the Neopalatial Period of the Late Bronze Age. Using modern wind speed and direction data in conjunction with sailing performance metrics of Neopalatial vessels he approximates sailing times and likely routes of travel between coastal settlements using GIS, which he compares to extant ceramic assemblages from those sites. Nick has been awarded a Fulbright fellowship to pursue an MA in Maritime Civilizations at the University of Haifa, where he plans to expand upon his undergraduate research by exploring interregional maritime connectivity between sites on the Israeli coast with other coastal settlements across the eastern Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Age.

Margalit Katz ’22, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Mexico. Margalit is from New York City and majored in Anthropology and Hispanic Literatures and Cultures at Wesleyan. Last year, Margalit completed a thesis in Anthropology entitled Between the Lines: Transience, Transgression, and Transfers in New York City’s Subway, which employed ethnography to investigate the social functions of the subway, the affective nature of embodied social proximity it affords, and the role of MTA workers in preserving its delicate environment. Their work can also be found in Capacious: Journal for Emerging Affect Inquiry. Margalit currently works as an associate special educator, teaching 7th grade literacy and peace studies and supporting a 7th grade homeroom at Mary McDowell Friends School in Brooklyn, NY. As they look forward to their Fulbright year, Margalit is particularly interested in methods for teaching English language learners and students with learning disabilities, and the ways that these approaches may inform each other. They hope to eventually pursue a master’s in special education through a disability studies lens.

Ben Levin ’23 is a recent graduate of Wesleyan and an incoming Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in the Czech Republic for the 2023-24 year. At Wesleyan, he majored in Government and Education Studies and pursued the Civic Engagement minor, and his professional interests lie in education equity and legal advocacy. Throughout his four years, he’s worked on various research projects examining education clauses in US state constitutions and desegregation court cases. After his Fulbright experience, Ben hopes to pursue a legal career, a career in policy, or a career in education to make substantive change to inequitable systems. Ben hails from Nyack, New York and has spent the past many summers as a division head and counselor at Ramah Day Camp in Nyack. Outside of academics, he’s competed on Wesleyan’s Mock Trial and Club Tennis teams, sang in The Mazel Tones, Wesleyan’s Jewish a capella group, and worked in the Office of Admission. This coming year, Ben looks forward to learning about the Czech education system and bringing new perspectives back to work in the United States.

Emily McDougal ’23, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Argentina. Emily McDougal ’23 was born and raised in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia and came to Wesleyan as a Questbridge Scholar. At Wes, she continued learning Spanish and took up Italian, ultimately combining the two to pursue a Romance Studies major. She began taking Japanese in her sophomore year eventually completing a minor in the College of East Asian Studies. She got the chance to deepen her connection to these languages and cultures through semesters spent studying abroad in Spain and Italy and a summer participating in Middlebury College’s immersive language program for Japanese. Even while on campus she has worked for globally focused organizations and publications, acting as a student coordinator for the Power of Language conference, a writer and editor for the Italian magazine, WeScrive, and most recently a student liaison for the International Student Buddy program. While Emily ultimately hopes to work in translation, she sees teaching abroad as a way to not only continue improving her own linguistic skills and cultural understanding but also help those who want and/or need to learn English in order to create a more mutual language exchange.

Anna Tjeltveit ’23, is a German Studies and English major from Allentown, Pennsylvania. At Wesleyan, she worked as a Writing Tutor and co-leads the Wesleyan Democratic Socialists. A creative writer, she has published short stories and plays in several small literary magazines, including The Lavender and Hive Avenue. Her other literary engagements include working with Professor Courtney Weiss-Smith to edit the Norton Anthology of English Literature: 18th Century, and producing the Words of Wesleyan podcast, which featured discussions by Wesleyan community members about the role of writing in their lives. Since 2019, she has worked at Concordia Language Villages as a German language counselor, and this summer she will begin teaching Norwegian there as well. Currently, she is working on her honors thesis, a novella about environmental destruction in socialist East Germany. During her time in Germany, she plans to engage with the literary community by joining a writing circle, volunteering at a literature house, and incorporating creative writing into her English lessons. After spending time in Germany, she hopes to return to the United States and pursue a Master of Arts in Fiction Writing.