Eight Amherst College Seniors Awarded Fulbright Fellowships for Study and Teaching

Submitted by Caroline J. Hanna

May 22, 2008       
Contact: Emanuel Costache ’09
Media Relations Intern
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Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations
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AMHERST, Mass.—Eight Amherst College seniors have been awarded J. William Fulbright Fellowships for study and teaching abroad during the 2008-09 academic year. The winners include Vincent Chen, Benjamin Dickman, Adriana Fazzano, Brad Haynes, Katherine Roza, Emily Smith, Alice Tsay and Marina Weiss.

“Amherst had a large number of strong applicants this year,” said Denise Gagnon, the college’s fellowship coordinator. “We are thrilled to have so many winners, because the Fulbright program provides our seniors and recent graduates with a wonderful opportunity to have an international experience after Amherst.”

What follows is some brief information on each recipient and his or her plans.

Vincent Chen

Chen, a chemistry major from Grand Rapids, Mich., and Shanghai, China, received a Fulbright grant to fund an independent study project at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics in Frankfurt, Germany. There he will conduct research investigating the active sites of ion pumps in the bacteria E. coli. At Amherst, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, helped found the badminton team and was a teaching assistant for introductory and organic chemistry courses. In addition, he conducted research in the labs of chemistry professors Anthony C. Bishop, Helen Leung and Mark Marshall at Amherst, as well as with Kenneth A. Jacobson at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Upon his return from Frankfurt, Chen aspires to attend medical or graduate school and apply his experience in Germany—both cultural and scientific—to his future work and research.

Benjamin Dickman

A mathematics major from Brookline, Mass., Dickman will use his Fulbright grant to study the pedagogy of mathematics in modern-day China. He will interview and interact with high school teachers in and around the city of Nanjing and take courses at Nanjing Normal University, a teaching college whose mathematics department will help him experience first-hand how mathematics teachers are trained in the country. During his time at Amherst, Dickman was involved in a number of math-related activities; he participated in National Science Foundation-funded research, completed an honors thesis in number theory, served as a teaching assistant for an introductory calculus class and a grader for several other math courses, volunteered to answer questions on MathNerds.com and tutored local high school students in preparation for their end-of-the-year statewide exams. He also contributed a weekly word puzzle to The Amherst Student newspaper, is a member of the National Puzzlers’ League and loves to play Boggle. He intends to return to the United States to obtain a doctorate in pure mathematics and then go on to work at an American college or university.

Adriana Fazzano

Fazzano, of Coral Springs, Fla., was awarded her Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to teach English in Italy. A history major, she has been involved with many organizations at Amherst, including the equestrian team, the College Republicans group, The Amherst Student and Capacidad, a multicultural, anti-bias after-school program for local elementary schoolers. She also collaborated with Amherst professor Ilán Stavans on a recent book of César Chávez writings and participated in the 2005 Bloomberg College Editors’ Leadership Workshop. Her career plans involve pursing post-baccalaureate studies in the sciences in order to apply to medical school. 

Brad Haynes

Haynes, an English and political science major who completed coursework for his diploma in December 2007, will teach English in Chile on a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship. The Boxford, Mass., native has served as a writing tutor, a tutor for local high-schoolers and a research assistant for political science professor Javier Corrales during his college years. He was also editor-in-chief and senior editor at The Indicator, a campus journal for social and political thought, and gained outside journalism experience reporting for The Hill in Washington, D.C., and The Seattle Times. He is currently reporting for the Associated Press and will also spend time this summer in The Wall Street Journal’s Washington, D.C., bureau before departing for Chile. While in the country, he hopes to work with the local media in the time available beyond his Fulbright commitments. He also eventually plans to teach in a bilingual context or write on education and politics between cultures.

Katherine Roza

Roza, an English major from Hagerstown, Md., has been awarded a Fulbright full grant in support of her independent project titled “Literacy and Language Development of Deaf Children” at the Siena School for Liberal Arts in Siena, Italy, and will study Italian literature at the University of Siena while conducting her research. A published writer, she authored a children’s book last year titled Lampino e Le Vipere (Lampino and the Vipers), which incorporates Italian and Italian Sign Language. Through her fellowship, she plans to continue creating multilingual texts in spoken and signed languages in order to enhance the reading literacy and language development of deaf children. She also hopes to establish a collaborative program for the long-term production of these materials. Accepted to Mount Sinai School of Medicine under its Humanities and Medicine Program, she aspires to provide wholly accessible health care to deaf patients. At Amherst, Roza wrote and edited for The Amherst Student, sang in the Amherst Women’s Chorus, tutored in Holyoke and served as an emergency medical technician. She spent her summers interning at the National Institutes of Health, researching HIV prevention, and at Mount Sinai Medical Center, developing a prenatal genetic test for Noonan’s syndrome, a congenital heart disorder.

Emily Smith

Smith, a geology and religion major, will teach English in Indonesia on her Fulbright Teaching Assistantship and sees the experience as an opportunity “to grow as a creative and innovative teacher and to appreciate the Indonesian culture and environment.” While there, she also plans to investigate the global economy’s “shift toward many Third World countries, including Indonesia.” At Amherst, the Dallas resident has participated in Educate!, a student-run nonprofit working to raise money to build schools in Uganda, and spent a summer interning for the organization in Rwanda and Uganda. She also assisted in a Brooklyn middle school last January as part of an Urban Education Internship and was awarded an E.J. Murphy Scholarship in support of her geology honors thesis. She has been an active member of the ultimate Frisbee team and rowed varsity crew for two years. Upon her return from Indonesia, she intends to pursue a master’s degree in geology and possibly a Ph.D., with the hope of embarking on a career in water management, responsible use of natural resources or higher education.

Alice Tsay

Tsay, an English and music major from Palo Alto, Calif., will be working with teachers-in-training at the Hong Kong Institute of Education on her Fulbright Teaching Assistantship. While there, she plans to organize cultural activities that encourage “sincere laughter and honest conversations as the groundwork for joint experiences of learning.” An active member of the Amherst Christian Fellowship, Tsay is also a harpist in the college orchestra and volunteers regularly at the Little Red Schoolhouse, a preschool located on campus. In addition to doing translation work for the National Digital Archives Program of the Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan, she has taught technical writing and served as a teaching assistant at the Western Culture and Leadership Camp at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan. She hopes one day to pursue a graduate degree in English literature.

Marina Weiss

An English major by way of the life sciences, Weiss was offered a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Colombia even though she initially applied for a position in Brazil. While the Lexington, Mass., resident had been preparing for her Fulbright by studying Portuguese, she is already a fluent speaker of Spanish and had put her language skills to work tutoring Amherst students in Spanish and as an Afterschool Classroom Assistant at the Boys and Girls’ Club of Holyoke. Her travel to Colombia will mark her return to South America; she spent last summer there on a travel grant from the English department titled the Laura Ayers Snyder Poetry Prize. At Amherst, she assisted in introductory biology labs and served as house president of the Humphries House Living Cooperative, also known as The Zü. After her Fulbright year, she plans to enter an M.F.A. program in poetry or pursue a Ph.D. in English literature. “I am ultimately interested in teaching English or creative writing at the university level,” she said. “I will continue to read and write poetry for the rest of my life.”

About the Fulbright Program

Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946 to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges. Senator J. William Fulbright, sponsor of the legislation, viewed scholarship as an alternative to armed conflict. Today the Fulbright Program, the federal government’s premier scholarship program, funded by an annual Congressional appropriation and contributions from other participating countries, allows Americans to study or conduct research in more than 100 nations.

About Amherst

Founded in 1821, Amherst is a highly selective, coeducational liberal arts college with approximately 1,600 students from most of the 50 states and more than 30 other countries. Considered one of the nation’s best educational institutions, Amherst awards the B. A. degree in 34 fields of study.

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