FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Six Reed College students awarded coveted Fulbright fellowships to pursue studies abroad
PORTLAND, OR (June 28, 2005) - The prestigious Fulbright fellowship has been awarded to six Reed College students, allowing them to pursue studies abroad. Awarded by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and the United States Department of State, the recipients of research Fulbrights include Margaret Anderson of Chicago, Illinois; Javier "Sammy" Hidalgo of Sylmar, California; Mike Rencewicz of Burlington, Vermont; and Joy Wattawa of Denver, Colorado. The recipients of teaching Fulbrights are Ariel Jacobs of Costa Mesa, California, and Malika Maskarinec of Honolulu, Hawaii. All are 2005 graduates of Reed College except Wattawa, who will receive her degree in January 2006.
These six students join 55 others from Reed College who have been awarded Fulbrights since 1966. "Reed has always excelled at producing Fulbright scholars," notes Paul DeYoung, director of international programs for the liberal arts and sciences college. "However, six Fulbrights in one year is a record for us, especially considering that there are only about 1,350 students at Reed." DeYoung credits the close collaborative research between students and faculty for the high number of Fulbright fellowships at Reed College.
The Fulbright fellowship allows recent college graduates, as well as master's and doctoral students, the chance to gain meaningful international academic experience. Fulbright grants for U.S. students generally pay for travel, tuition, language courses, research costs, living expenses, and health insurance for one year of study abroad.
Preparing for her Fulbright fellowship to Russia, Margaret Anderson, a political science major, hopes to enjoy Russian culture and folk life while studying the effect of political literature on the voting populace.
"The twisted and beautiful enigma that is Russia fascinates me endlessly," Anderson says. "During my year in Russia, I hope to learn more whether reading trashy political memoirs influences voter behavior or their view of the president."
Anderson hopes that her time spent abroad will lead to an understanding of Russian culture and a career in political consulting. "I hope to eventually become a consultant who advises investors on how political events in post-Soviet states will affect their financial holdings," Anderson says. "Spending a year in Russia with the Fulbright will equip me with the necessary linguistic and cultural skills to navigate my way to this career path. During my time in St. Petersburg, I hope to secure contacts with influential journalists and businessmen."
Javier "Sammy" Hidalgo
Javier "Sammy" Hidalgo, a philosophy and political science major, has a Fulbright to Germany. Extremely interested in German culture, Hidalgo seeks to use his time abroad to learn about political theory at a German university and to immerse himself in the culture of a foreign land. Additionally, Hidalgo has become deeply interested in the politics and public policy of Germany; he hopes to use his time to study both of these aspects of German society.
"I've never lived in another country for a long period of time," Hidalgo admits, "and I really would like to have that experience. I've been interested in German culture for several years and that led me to apply for the German Fulbright. My main goals are to gain insight into another culture, make many German friends, and master the language. I also want to hone my research skills and study political theory at a German university. I plan to study changing German citizenship laws and the evolution of public opinion towards citizenship. In the past few years, Germany has dramatically liberalized its citizenship laws, so that ethnically non-Germans can now become citizens. How did this change come about? Do Germans now view citizenship as having less to do with ethnicity and more to do with a common loyalty to German democracy? What are the prospects for further reform? These are some of the questions I hope to address."
After the year in Germany, Hidalgo plans to continue his studies. He believes that his time spent abroad, studying German policy, culture, and language will be invaluable when he applies to a doctoral program in political science.
While academics have been a tremendous part of Mike Rencewicz's life during his time studying general literature, Reed College's equivalent of comparative literature, he hopes to gain in non-academic ways from his Fulbright experience. Studying in Russia, he hopes to find a world of different cultural identities and different ways of life.
"More than anything," Rencewicz says, "I am excited about the opportunity the Fulbright grant will give me to live abroad. This is a time in my life where I want to try on different identities and explore different ways of living in and seeing the world. I can think of no better way to do this than by living as a member of a culture extremely different from my own."
Rencewicz does not know what the future holds for him. Instead, he hopes to draw on his upcoming experiences in Russia to help guide his future life decisions. "Though I have some general plans for afterward, part of the excitement is not knowing what the future, after such a unique experience, can hold," he adds.
Through her Fulbright to France, Joy Wattawa, a biochemistry and molecular biology major who will receive her degree in January 2006, hopes to observe first-hand how government and culture affect scientific endeavors, and use the Fulbright to overcome language barriers that exist in science.
"I worked in a bilingual lab in Florida last summer," Wattawa says, "and it was amazing. I met people from many parts of France, and all over the world, for that matter. The necessity of overcoming cultural-language barriers in order to work cooperatively enriches the scientific process and the experience of working in a lab. I have always been interested in science as a social institution, as well as in biochemistry proper, and I feel that the Fulbright represents an opportunity to experience first-hand the way the scientific process is influenced by governmental and cultural factors."
In the future, Wattawa not only hopes to go on to get her Ph.D. in molecular biophysics, but also would like to explore the role of science in the world community.
"Working in that bilingual lab last summer," Wattawa continues, "I also got a taste for how the French attitude influences both responsibilities in the lab and thinking about the role of science at large. I find myself increasingly interested in the communication between scientists and the world in general, the culture of science, the distribution of money in research, and how scientists influence policy."
The only Fulbright recipient from Reed not destined for Europe or Russia, Jacobs, an art major, is headed for Taiwan. "It's a great opportunity," Jacobs says. "I can't think of a better way to get involved in a culture than become part of the school system. In exchange for the insight that I will be able to gain, I also have an opportunity to give back to the community through teaching. I've done a lot of work at Reed related to China and I see this as an extension of that. I chose Taiwan instead of mainland China for the obvious reason that Taiwan has a teaching fellowship and the People's Republic of China [PRC] doesn't. Also, Taiwan's position is very interesting to me as a place that is now precariously outside the PRC, but which is, in many ways, culturally very distinct from the mainland."
When asked of her plans for the future, Jacobs says she is not sure what she will be doing after the year in Taiwan. However, she anticipates pursuing something related to her two loves, art and education. "I hope," Jacobs says, "that the Fulbright will help me be able to answer that question later. I am definitely interested in education and, while my heart goes first to art, I hope to combine the two in the future."
Malika Maskarinec, a philosophy major, chose Germany as the destination for her teaching Fulbright because of her interest in both German philosophy and culture. She sees the program as an opportunity to immerse herself in her studies, and also to travel and to learn about the lives that German people lead.
"I became interested in the Fulbright as an opportunity to travel and learn," Maskarinec says. "I hope to gain further familiarity with Germany, some experience teaching, and a chance to read a lot of new books." She hopes to attend graduate school in the future to pursue her interests in German philosophy.
The Fulbright Program
The flagship international educational program sponsored by the United States government, the Fulbright Program is designed to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries..." With this goal, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 250,000 participants - chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential - with the opportunity to study and teach in each other's countries, exchange ideas, and develop joint solutions to address shared concerns.
The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by former Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. Since its inception more than fifty years ago, 255,000 "Fulbrighters" - 96,400 from the United States and 158,600 from other countries - have participated in the Program. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 4,500 new grants annually.
Fulbright alumni include Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, governors and senators, ambassadors and artists, prime ministers and heads of state, professors and scientists, Supreme Court justices, and CEOs.
Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards in the country. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes Scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915). For more information, visit web.reed.edu.