Fulbrights Sophie Chung, Robert Kwark, and Clarque Brown
L to R: Sophie Chung ’17, Robert Kwark ’17, and Clarque Brown ’17 will be English teaching assistants in South Korea. Photo credit: Faith Wen ’20.

Thirteen members of the class of 2017, and three alums from the class of 2016, have been offered Fulbright grants to do independent research, assistant-teach English or pursue a master’s degree abroad in the coming year.

For more than a decade, the Fulbright Scholar Program has recognized Amherst for its unusually high number of scholarship recipients. This trend has consistently placed the College high on the list of programs The Chronicle of Higher Education deems to be “top producers” of Fulbright scholars.

The fellowship is one of the most prestigious in the world, claiming among its alumni 43 Nobel laureates and 78 Pulitzer Prize winners. It operates in more than 155 countries worldwide, sponsored by the U.S. government to increase mutual understanding between Americans and citizens of other countries.

Some Fulbright scholars are offered grants to conduct research or pursue a one-year master’s degree in a participating Fulbright country, or to do some combination of research and course enrollment. Other Fulbrights are awarded an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to aid in teaching English and U.S. culture to non-native speakers in classrooms abroad.

All grantees receive round-trip transportation to the host country, as well as room, board, living expenses and health benefits; some grants may receive research allowance, enrichment activities, tuition, language study, pre-departure orientations and training in ESOL teaching.

Three seniors will be English Teaching Assistants in South Korea:

Clarque Brown ’17 has been offered an ETA to teach English in South Korea. A psychology major, she studied in France and China and worked on campus with Reader to Reader. Her long-term goals include pursuing a master’s degree with a possible focus on bilingual education.

Sophie Chung ’17, an English major, has been offered an ETA in South Korea. Chung currently writes for Soompi, an English-language website devoted to Korean pop culture. She is excited about experiencing the influence of “K-Pop” first-hand for her articles. She will later teach at a school in Lepan, Mexico, as part of a team creating an annual English-learning summer program. Ultimately, she wants to earn a master's degree in international educational policy.

Robert Kwark ’17 has been offered an ETA in South Korea. An outdoorsman, he wants to  organize outdoor field trips for students. He also plans to engage with fellow musicians. He is a physics major who intends to pursue a career as a secondary school physics teacher, possibly becoming a policymaker in education.

Two seniors will be English Teaching Assistants in the East Asia/Pacific Region:

Fulbrights Samuel Chen and Catherine Lowdon
L to R: Samuel Chen ’17, Catherine Lowdon ’17. Photo credit: Faith Wen ’20.

Samuel Chen ’17 has been offered an ETA in Indonesia. He graduates this year with a degree in anthropology and plans to ultimately attend medical school, concentrating on the health of overseas or minority communities. “I plan to immerse myself by stepping far outside of my comfort zone,” he wrote in his Fulbright application. “Whether this means attending cooking classes, religious ceremonies or community gatherings, I intend to spend my time in Indonesia forgetting how to say ‘no.’”

Catherine Lowdon ’17 has been offered an ETA in Malaysia. A double major in English and art history, she is looking forward to the cultural discourse of this multi-ethnic community of Malays, Chinese and Indians. She is a captain of Amherst’s cross-country and track teams, and in Malaysia she plans to participate in or organize after-school sports and running clubs. She has her eyes on a career in education or museum work.

Three seniors who won grants for Science Research:

Fulbrights Victoria Luizzi, Cara Lembo, and Malinda L'Abriola
L to R: Malinda “Lindy” Labriola ’17, Cara Lembo ’17, and Victoria Luizzi ’17. Photo credit: Christine Overstreet.

Malinda “Lindy” Labriola ’17, a senior double major in English and geology, has been awarded a research grant to Norway. She plans to study the climate adaptation strategy known as “transformation.” She also plans to work alongside scientists and researchers from Nord University to determine the effects of climate change on vulnerable Norwegian communities, such as the indigenous Sami people. Upon her return, she plans to continue working in the climate sector, possibly with city planners and government officials to mitigate the dangers of climate change in U.S. coastal areas and Native American territories.

Cara Lembo ’17, a geology major, plans to study New Zealand fjord sediment cores to investigate variability in the Southern Hemisphere westerly winds during the early Holocene. She plans to return to the United States to pursue a Ph.D., with ultimate plans for teaching, research and work in the geosciences helping to combat climate change.

Victoria Luizzi ’17, a biology major, has been awarded a grant to study at Uppsala University in Sweden, on a project looking at plants that produce floral scent compounds that attract pollinators. This work will expand scientific knowledge of agriculturally important plants that rely on pollination. She plans to later pursue a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology, eventually leading to a career as a professor and researcher.

Four seniors won grants for Research in the Arts and Health:

Fulbrights Soham Gupta, Emma Hartman, Kathryn McHenry, and Tomal Hossain
L to R: Soham Gupta ’17, Emma Hartman ’17, Kathryn McHenry ’17, and Tomal Hossain ’17.

Soham Gupta ’17, an anthropology and biology double major, intends to investigate how overlapping preventative healthcare service programs in villages surrounding Udaipur, India, could benefit from a review of how and where these services are provided. He plans to attend medical school, with the long-term goal of working as a physician with an organization such as Doctors Without Borders or Partners in Health.

Emma Hartman ’17 has been offered a Fulbright Research grant to India. An art history and chemistry double major, she plans to examine historical and indigenous techniques for manuscript conservation, investigating their relationship to global trends in art conservation.  As an amateur bookbinder, papermaker and hand dyer, she will participate in arts initiatives and workshops in Delhi. Upon her return, she plans to study for a career in book and manuscript conservation.

Tomal Hossain ’17 has been offered a Fulbright Research grant to India, but has instead opted for a Watson Fellowship.

Kathryn McHenry ’17 has been awarded a grant to increase awareness of childhood cancer in Tanzania. “Tanzania is poised to make huge strides in improving survival outcomes for children with cancer, but few families know about cancer or its treatment,” she wrote in her application. She will examine what values or beliefs may be barriers to children and families in accessing cancer treatment, and will create a media campaign to spread awareness of childhood cancer symptoms and treatment. Her goal is to attend medical school, and ultimately to return to Tanzania as a pediatric oncologist.

Alumni Winners

Erin Brousseau ’16 has been offered an ETA in Russia, where she plans to engage with her host community by joining a singing group and athletic teams. An LJST and French major, her long-term goals include studying in joint J.D./Ph.D. programs for political science with a focus on international relations, researching international labor and leisure rights.

Daria Chernysheva ’16 has been offered a grant to study at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, where she will research translation theory and literary translation practice, and also translate the poetry of Cecile Sauvage, a 20th century French poet. She is now at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France, as the Amherst French department’s Dijon Teaching Assistant Fellow. An English and French major, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in comparative literature and continue working as a practicing literary translator upon the completion of her Fulbright year.

JiaMei Huang ’17E has been offered an ETA in Mexico. A biology major, she ultimately wants to work in community health education in underserved immigrant communities. Teaching English in Mexico, as she notes, will develop her communication abilities and cultural sensitivity.

Athri Ranganathan ’16 has been offered an ETA to the Czech Republic. A sociology major, He plans to plug into the Czech network of libraries and organize reading groups, social discussions and artwork displays. He plans to attend graduate school with the ultimate goal of becoming a college professor.

Three other Amherst graduates were named as alternates. Decisions for these candidates will be made later in the spring.

Sasha Burshteyn ’16 is an alternate for a study grant to New Zealand. Currently a Watson Fellow, she hopes to examine how Maori novels engage with the Maori oral tradition and history to better understand how their literature is both formed by, and informs, contemporary New Zealand culture. An English major, she plans to continue her education in postcolonial studies.

Devon Geary ’13E is an alternate for study at the University of Birmingham, in the United Kingdom. She applied to investigate Shakespeare’s plays using a creative and critical perspective focusing on literary voice. An English major who transferred to Amherst from a community college, she hopes to pursue a postdoctoral position at a major research university in New Zealand and ultimately obtain a professorship within the U.K.-based Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Isa Goldberg ’17 is an alternate for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Israel. She is a psychology major who intends to pursue a degree in education or educational psychology. A residential counselor and a member of Hillel and the Multi-Faith Council, she was a volunteer English teacher when she studied abroad in Israel.

The Fulbright is not the only program to which Amherst students have been flocking. Application numbers for national fellowships continue to rise, with Amherst near the top of the list for participation in the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program, which provides funding for one year of independent research and travel. Amherst had three Watson Fellows this year, the highest number among the 27 colleges honored.