Eight Ephs are deemed Fulbright scholarship winners

As the Fulbright scholarships for next year come rolling in, students at the College have continued their trend of remarkable success. According to Fellowship Coordinator Lynn Chick, eight students have already been awarded the prestigious scholarships, which will send students to all corners of the globe, from South Korea to Tanzania. According to Chick, Fulbright winners will continue to be announced until May or June.

The Fulbright program, established in 1946, aims to foster mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries through a cultural and intellectual exchange. Fulbright Research Scholarships, won by Katie Warren ’08, Matt Wilka ’06 and Danielle Callaway ’08, allow recipients the opportunity to work on an independent research project in a foreign country. Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships, received by David Kessel ’08, Shelby Kimmel ’08, Julia Kropp ’08, Anna Tsykalova ’08 and Hannah Wong ’08, send awardees to various countries to teach English.

Research Scholarships

Warren, a political science and Asian studies double major, will combine her academic interests by studying the legal institutions and practices used by minority ethnic groups in China. “Basically, I’ll spend a year living in three different ethnic minority communities in rural western China in order to study their legal systems and their basic attitudes towards the law,” Warren said. “I’ve always been interested in international law and access to justice issues, but a few years of studying Chinese language and politics here at Williams is what narrowed my interest to China in particular.”

Wilka, who currently works in public education in Boston, Mass., drew inspiration for his Fulbright research project from a Winter Study trip he took to Nicaragua while still a student at the College. He will spend the year in Ecuador studying Fe y Alegría, a school system run by the Jesuit Order that serves over 1.4 million disadvantaged children in Latin America. “I’m interested in how Fe y Alegría’s public-private structure has contributed to its success, and also in the role that faith plays in educating students from communities with diverse beliefs,” Wilka said. He expressed hope that the findings of his year-long study would be applicable to his own work in the U.S. school system.

Callaway, a psychology major, will spend a year in Arusha, Tanzania, conducting an empirically-based psychological study of children’s attitudes towards people with mental illness.

Teaching Assistantships

Kimmel and Tsykalova will both be teaching English at secondary schools in South Korea. According to Kimmel, an astrophysics major, students in the country’s school system start learning English at a very young age, but mostly through rote memorization and repetition. “I will be teaching a more interactive class focusing on conversational skills,” Kimmel said. “I think the work will be really exciting, trying to teach both English and also a different way of learning from what the students are used to.”

Kropp, an English and economics double major, chose to apply for a Teaching Assistantship in Germany because of career aspirations that involve working with children. “Ultimately, my goal is to work in policy reform of the criminal justice system in the United States, particularly with regard to treatment of juvenile offenders,” she said. While she did not apply for the Research Scholarship, Kropp plans to conduct independent research on the German juvenile justice system in her spare time.

Wong, an English and biology double major, received a Teaching Assistantship post in Hong Kong. Kessel, an English and Russian double major, will teach in Russia.