This year's Fulbright scholars want to train politicians, return artwork looted by Nazis and teach English in areas all around the globe, ranging from South Korea to Morocco.
Fourteen Dartmouth students and alumni were awarded grants in the 2017-18 cycle — nine to pursue study and research and five to serve as English teaching assistants. Dartmouth's Fulbright scholars will go to Brazil, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Germany, India, Ireland, Morocco, Poland and South Korea to pursue their projects. The total number of recipients is similar to last year's total of 15 Dartmouth students and alumni, which marked a significant increase from the 2015-2016 cycle, in which eight students and alumni received the award.
The recipients are Charlotte Blatt '18, Madeleine Coffey '18, Sarah Cohen '18, Mary Liza Hartong GR'18, Alyssa Heinze '18, Amanda Herz '18, Axel Hufford '16, James Jung '14, Natasha Maldi '16, Gricelda Ramos '18, Alexandra Reichert '18, Nicole Simineri '17, Catherine Treyz '13 and Karen Wen '16. Two Dartmouth students or alumni were also named as alternates, meaning that they may be offered an award if additional funding becomes available.
Herz and Hufford said they see their Fulbright experience as a cultural exchange. They will both spend the next year as English teaching assistants in South Korea.
"Immersing myself in a different culture will prompt me to reflect on my own values and predispositions, and affect the way I see, think and act in the future," Herz said.
Hufford said that for him, the Fulbright scholarship will make both a personal and public impact.
"It represents a chance for me to explore another culture, and also challenges me to act as a cultural ambassador of the U.S. at a time when the perception of Americans may be in question for South Koreans," Hufford said.
Both Herz and Hufford said the classes they took at the College as undergraduates affected their motivation to go to South Korea.
As a film and digital studies major, Herz said she thought Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 21.03, "Exploring Korea Through Film" with art history and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies professor Sunglim Kim was "in her wheelhouse," but even then she did not predict how much Korean history and culture would fascinate her.
Hufford was a government and Middle Eastern studies double major, and said he found himself similarly captivated by History 5.4, "Introduction to Korean Culture" with Kim and Asian and Middle Eastern studies professor Soyoung Suh in his senior year.
Coffey said her experience as an Arabic drill instructor at the College and English teacher to Arabic immigrants in New York during one of her off terms pushed her to apply for the Fulbright. She will be teaching English in Morocco, where she studied abroad the summer of her freshman year on the Arabic LSA+. Coffey said how she ended up studying Arabic and spending so much time with the Arabic community in Morocco and in the U.S. still comes as a surprise, because her primary academic interest has been medicine. However, Coffey said the Fulbright scholarship does not represent a dismissal of her medical career — rather, time abroad is vital to her education as a doctor.
"By immersing myself in the Moroccan language and culture, I will feel better equipped to navigate the numerous cultural barriers doctors face when treating diverse patients," Coffey said.
Both Blatt and Heinze said that their Fulbright projects are closely connected to their coursework at Dartmouth. Heinze's government senior thesis studied the impact of women leaders' intersectional identities on political performance in India. She said this project has inspired the research she'll be doing in Mumbai, India next year about training programs for female politicians. This will be Heinze's fifth time going to South Asia, after two internships, the AMES and women's, gender and sexuality studies FSP in Hyderabad, India and a month in 2018 researching for her government thesis.
Blatt is also a government major and wrote a thesis on U.S. pre-war assessments of conflict from the Truman to Obama administrations. Next year, she will be a research assistant at the Centre for International and Defense Policy in Kingston, Canada, studying the intersection of women's rights and international security. Although Blatt also contemplated an academic career, she will matriculate at Yale Law School in the fall of 2019. She said she will use the Fulbright to reflect on her interests in international security and find a career path within law that addresses those interests.
While many of this year's cohort of Fulbrights said they are using the scholarship as a gap year before settling into a career, Treyz said she has decided on her career as a journalist. Since graduating from Dartmouth five years ago, Treyz has moved to Washington, D.C., working with the National Journal, Fox News and now as an editor in CNN's Washington bureau. Treyz won a grant to participate in Germany's Fulbright Program for Young Professional Journalists. Treyz said that in addition to conducting research on German authorities' attempts to return art looted by the Nazi government, she will also work within a German news agency.
"I'm excited for the opportunity to compare and contrast journalistic practices in a similarly fast-paced German political atmosphere, and become immersed in their news and culture," Treyz said.
Hufford and Treyz are former members of The Dartmouth staff.