Fulbright & Watson Scholars
Issue   |   Fri, 05/24/2013 - 13:43

FULBRIGHT

Jasmine Hardy

A native of Hanover, N.H. and a basketball player at Amherst, Jasmine Hardy will spend next year as an English Teaching Assistant in Vietnam. Hardy has several teachers in her family, and she herself is not new to teaching English abroad; she spent the summer following her sophomore year teaching in Italy. Her interest in Vietnam stems from the experiences of her grandmother, who taught midwives there, and from the nation’s culture surrounding education.

“Vietnam, with its historic love of and respect for learning and commitment to improvement, seems to me the perfect setting to work in,” Hardy wrote on her application.

An English and Psychology double-major who hopes to become a college professor, Hardy has written a thesis on the subject of “creolization” and also hopes to learn Vietnamese to bolster her knowledge of the nature of languages. One of her primary goals of traveling to Vietnam is to “look more closely at the complexities of language and language barriers.” She recalled, “The questions that these new friends [her elementary school-aged Italian students] asked about the English language were so detailed and well thought-out, so thorough. I was taken with their appreciation of and interest in learning [English] and determined that I wanted to work…with more advanced English speakers.”

Mark Hellmer

Geology major and former U.S. Army Ranger Mark Hellmer was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Scholarship to travel to Russia. Before coming to Amherst in the fall of 2010, Hellmer served for five years as an Imagery Analyst, deploying regularly to both Afghanistan and Iraq for up to six months at a time. On his first deployment in the military, Hellmer brought with him Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.”

“The characters and their interactions help me to accept life on its own terms,” Hellmer explained on his Fulbright application.

From Tolstoy to Dostyoevsky, Russian novelists have grown to be a great passion in Hellmer’s life, equaled only by Geology. Hellmer has already traveled to Russia and is familiar with its vast geological range, but anticipates his return. While abroad, on top of serving as a Teaching Assistant, Hellmer also plans to conduct geological fieldwork and master the Russian language. Upon returning from Russia, Hellmer intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Geology with a focus in Hydrogeology, and hopes to chose a dissertation topic that will allow him to return to Russia to conduct more fieldwork. As most Ph.D. programs for geology require candidates to teach at an undergraduate level, his Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Scholarship will be all the more valuable.

Aubrey Jones

With her English Teaching Assistantship, Jones hopes to utilize her seven years as a language tutor to teach English and American culture to French students.

“My passion for French developed at age twelve,” Jones wrote on her application. “Around the same time, I developed a passion for teaching. My first year in high-school, I began tutoring recent Hispanic immigrants at a local school.”
Despite initial difficulties of communication, Jones soon understood the great rewards.

“During my four years as a tutor, I not only honed my teaching skill,” Jones wrote. “But I also came to understand that teaching is just as much about learning yourself than about instructing others.”

Jones continued tutoring at Amherst with immigrant children at El Arco Iris in Holyoke and as a Resident Counselor. Jones is the recipient of the $25,000 Schupf travel scholarship and the Hamilton prize for highest GPA in economics, a member of the Cum Laude Society and a Mellon Fellow with a grant for research on executions. Schupf will draw upon her experiences living in Washington state, Mississippi and Massachusetts to share a broader knowledge of American culture with her French students. Upon returning to the U.S., she hopes to pursue a Ph.D. program in French and share her love of the language as a high school teacher or college professor in a French or Romance Languages department.

Timothy Poterba

Timothy Poterba spent the last year writing a senior honors thesis on protein hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry (HXMS). He applied for a Fulbright Scholarship in order to continue this vein of research by studying the folding of the Rubisco protein and its interactions with another brand of proteins, chaperonins. He hopes to apply his research on protein folding to the problem of aging. Poterba will with Dr. Manajit Hater-Hartl in her lab at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) in Martinsried, Germany. Dr. Hater-Hartl, an expert in HXMS and Rubisco biogenesis, is enthusiastic about Poterba joining her research group. At the MPIB, Poterba will join a diverse and distinguished group of scientists from over 40 countries.

“I am excited by the prospect of being part of such a distinguished and diverse group of scientists,” Poterba wrote in his Fulbright application. “[S]pending a year carrying out research there would provide an excellent opportunity to interact with scientists from around the world.”

The working language at the MPIB is English, but Poterba plans to take courses in the German language during his stay in the Munich area. Upon his return, he plans to receive a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in order to further pursue his interest in protein folding and address the problems of aging.

Jenna Troop

Jenna Troop, a German and European Studies major who says she first decided to learn German “on a whim,” will spend next year working as an English Teaching Assistant in Germany. Troop has previously studied abroad in France and in Göttingen, Germany, as part of the College’s study abroad program. She also has English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring experience within the United States, and she was active in extracurricular activities at the College including admissions and the women’s rugby team.

Troop, who hopes to apply for Teach for America upon her return, believes that “a classroom provides the perfect setting for the type of intercultural exchange that is necessary in today’s global interactions.” Troop hopes to build connections with her students by moving beyond traditional textbook-oriented learning, much as she did during her time as a local ESL tutor.

“I hope to combine my previous experiences as a tutor with what I already know about German culture to find instances of pop culture that I can use as a starting place to connect with the German high school students,” Troop wrote on her application. “I want to welcome their interests into the conversation.” Drawing on her own language-learning experiences, Troop says the biggest impediment to learning a new language is being afraid to make a mistake, so she hopes to “foster an atmosphere where students are willing to speak and take risks.”

Eirene Wang

Inspired by the Peace Corps girls’ empowerment camp she helped staff in Elakwutini, South Africa, as well as past teachers who helped her find her own voice, Wang will further her passions for language and education with a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Russia. She hopes to promote cross-cultural discourse through classroom exercises, bringing a hunger for learning and her sensitivity and drive to connect with other cultures. Wang, who grew up in Montreal, Quebec and Silver Springs, Maryland, has a lifetime of experience connecting with others through language, namely Chinese, French, English, Spanish and, more recently, Russian.

“In many respects, finding community through language has been the unifying thread in my life,” Wang wrote on her application. “Outside of my teaching duties, I hope to devote my remaining hours to organizing community art events for my students through which I can better get to know them.”

A Black Studies major, Wang has also studied Russian for three years at Amherst, and both foci have given her a broader perspective outside largely negative media. Over her time at Amherst, Wang has served as a tutor and mentor in Reader to Reader, the Peace Corps, and an Adult Literacy Center, to name only a few.

WATSON

Keri Lambert

All-American runner Keri Lambert plans on using her Watson Fellowship to close the gap between production and consumption in order to uncover the sociocultural repercussions of masked consumerism. The Amherst native plans to listen to the stories of farmers, fishermen and factory workers in Ghana, Tanzania and Malaysia to realize the ways in which lives are shaped by economic, environmental and social forces, both local and global. During her year abroad she will keep an online blog to make the experiences of local producers as available to global consumers as the rubber, Nile perch and palm oil they produce.

“One farm, one story, one blog post at a time, I will unveil the interconnectedness of Earth’s community and the profound implication of our insatiable appetites,” Lambert wrote on her application.

After her fellowship year, Lambert hopes to work to promote social justice and improve standards of living in rural communities. Eventually, Lambert hopes to teach after studying Environmental history at the graduate level.

“I have been blessed to have had teachers who have inspired and empowered me, and I hope to do the same for my students,” Lambert wrote. “My dream is the share my passion for nature and history so that future generations may see how, on the most visceral level, we are all crucial components of Earth’s organic identity.”

Lindsay Stern

Published author Lindsay Stern was awarded a Watson Fellowship. The English and Philosophy double major hopes use he Watson year to explore the reparative capacity of language both in solitude and in the company of children. Stern will be traveling to five orphanages in Bangladesh, Nepal, South Africa, Panama and Guatemala, bringing a creative arts program she developed called WORDBOX to those orphanages. In between these visits, she will live and write in neighboring cities. She hopes to return with a new novel and an anthology of her student’s work. While at Amherst, Stern served as editor-in-chief of The Indicator and Circus Magazine, and currently serves as a contributing writer to The Common and The Faster Times. The New York City native also recently published a novella, “Town of Shadows.” After her Watson year, Stern hopes to return to school for either an MFA or Ph.D. in English, Classics or Philosophy and plans on pursuing a career in academia and fiction writing. Stern hopes that the Waston Fellowship will allow her to synthesize her love of teaching with her passion for writing, while at the same time deepening her education in Philosophy.

“I can imagine no greater personal honor than the opportunity to bring Socrates’ ancient insight [that when it comes to the most meaningful truths, what we call learning is actually recollection] to life in South Asia, whose children would teach me far more, no doubt, than I could hope to teach them,” Stern wrote on her application.

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