Several students win prestigious fellowships

In a recent press release, the College announced that Jamin Morrison ’02 has won the prestigious Luce Scholarship, and that June Yi ’02, Jessica Purcells ’02, Dan Rosenblum ’02 and Freeman Zhu ’02 have all been awarded Fulbright Scholarships. Other outside awards won by College students include the Churchill Scholarship by Emily Balskus ’02, a National Science Foundation (NSF) graduate research fellowship by Bethany Cobb ’02 and the Goldwater Scholarship by Erica Dwyer ’03 and Jason Leith ’03.

Peter Grudin, assistant dean of the College, is in charge of acting as a student resource for fellowships, but could not be reached for comment on the fellowship winners.

    Luce Fellowship

“The Luce Scholars program is designed to introduce people with no experience in Asian languages or cultures to Asia,” said Morrison. According to Lynn Chick, assistant to the dean, Luce Scholars cannot apply to the program; they must be nominated by their institutions.

“Williams is one of 67 prestigious colleges or universities who [are] invited to nominate [students for the Luce],” she said. “I think Jamin is the first Luce Scholar from Williams since Elizabeth Bancroft ’89.”

According to Chick, only 18 scholars are selected each year, and the students must not be Asian studies majors or have had any sort of immersive exposure to Asian culture.

“I was thrilled to be selected – the selection process is very difficult,” said Morrison. “Many very well-qualified candidates all go up against each other, and in some ways it seems like you just have to have a lot of good luck.”

Morrison, a chemistry and art major, plans to work in an architectural firm in Japan. Since he has no prior exposure to the Japanese language or culture, he will be spending the summer at Middlebury College’s Japanese language school.

    Fulbright Scholars

According to Chick, some applications for the Fulbright are still pending, but Yi, Purcells, Rosenblum and Zhu have finalized plans to study in South Korea, Bolivia, Norway and Germany, respectively.

The J. Williams Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Fund was created in 1946 to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges. Then-Senator J. Williams Fulbright, sponsor of the legislation, saw it as a step toward an alternative to armed conflict. A central board, which is made up of respected members of academic, cultural and public circles appointed by the president of the United States, supervises the exchange program.

“This is popular with Williams seniors – we had 23 candidates last October,” said Chick of the Fulbright program. Seniors must apply through the Dean’s Office, but there is no set cap on numbers of applicants from an institution.

Yi plans to spend a year in South Korea teaching English part-time and doing research.

“[I’ll be] pursuing an independent research project on Korea’s legal system, as it differs from the Anglo-American model and is currently transitioning in accordance with a global Rule of Law,” she said. “Korea’s legal system is fascinating because it originated as an instrument of oppression for the ruler and was largely influenced by the Japanese during Japan’s occupation of the Korean peninsula.”

Yi plans on conducting research to gauge the public perception of the legitimacy of the system and explore how it has transitioned from a tool of oppression into a system guaranteeing and promoting justice.

Other Fulbright winners could not be reached for comment.

Derek Ward ’02, who hopes to study in Norway, and Nicole Stephens ’02, who hopes to study in Chile, were named as alternates.

Other seniors also won prestigious scholarships for advanced study. Emily Balskus, who was awarded a Churchill Scholarship, will pursue a MPhil. degree in chemistry at Churchill College in Cambridge University in England. Bethany Cobb’s NSF fellowship pays for graduate school in the sciences.

The Goldwater Scholarship is awarded to sophomores or juniors who expect to pursue a career in scientific research, according to Chick.

“I was pleased to receive the Goldwater, since the best science students across the country are nominated for it,” said Dwyer. “Critical to receiving the Goldwater was my intention to pursue biomedical research in immunology.” Dwyer is also interested the social justice implications of disease.

Leith could not be reached for comment.

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