Fifteen seniors named Fulbright Scholars

From L-R, first row: Jallicia Jolly ’14, Amy Levine ’14, Fernando Lora ’14, Bianca Brown ’14, Claire Liu ’14, Daniel Lee ’14, Kerrin Hensley ’14. Second row: Julia Davis ’14, Catherine Gerkis ’14, Amy Berg ’14, Anyela Perez ’14, Amanda Su ’14, Sara Kang ’14, Khan Nguyen ’14. Photos courtesy of Christian Ruhl.
From L-R, first row: Jallicia Jolly ’14, Amy Levine ’14, Fernando Lora ’14, Bianca Brown ’14, Claire Liu ’14, Daniel Lee ’14, Kerrin Hensley ’14. Second row: Julia Davis ’14, Catherine Gerkis ’14, Amy Berg ’14, Anyela Perez ’14, Amanda Su ’14, Sara Kang ’14, Khan Nguyen ’14. Photos courtesy of Christian Ruhl.

The following students are recipients of 2014 Fulbright Scholarships: Amy Berg (Turkey), Bianca Brown (Turkey), Julia Davis (Brazil), Catherine Gerkis (Taiwan), Kerrin Hensley (Taiwan), Jallicia Jolly (Jamaica), Sara Kang (Japan), Daniel Lee (Spain), Amy Levine (Ireland), Claire Liu (Turkey), Fernando Lora (Brazil), Molly McEntee (Panama), Khan Nguyen (Germany), Anyela Perez (Colombia), Amanda Su (South Korea).

The Class of 2014 will graduate 15 Fulbright Scholars, according to an April press release by the College. These students will participate in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the largest U.S. exchange program that provides students and young professionals with the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research abroad for one academic year. The goal of the program is to foster international understanding through the exchange of people, skills, and knowledge, according to the scholarship’s website.

“Many Williams students bring an amazing wealth of talent to their applications and obviously this helps them to prepare a strong application,” Lynn Chick, Fellowship Coordinator, said. “Research and academic opportunities they have had, advice and mentoring from their faculty advisors, language proficiency and experience traveling or studying abroad all contribute to this successful outcome.”

The application process spans several months. The College’s Fulbright applicants submit a copy of their application to the Office of Fellowships in September. In October the finalized application is turned in to the Fulbright Organization. Finalists are announced at the end of January, and winners are announced in the spring.

The College consistently has a high number of Fulbright Scholars each year. In a given year, roughly 1,700 U.S. students receive Fulbright scholarships. Overall, Chick said that this year, the College endorsed 51 applicants. Most of these applicants were current seniors, but some were young alumni. “27 of these candidates were finalists, and 15 were offered Fulbright Scholarships,” Chick said. “We still have several very strong candidates who have been named alternates and could still receive an offer this spring.”

Students are planning to use their scholarships in a variety of ways. Julia Davis ’14 will be teaching English at a university in Brazil. “When I applied, I’d just come back from a fantastic year abroad,” Davis said. “I reasoned that since I’d fallen in love with the first country I visited outside of the U.S. [Spain], it was likely that there were a lot of other places I’d like as well.  The Fulbright offered a way to live abroad for another year, explore some place new, and really become immersed in the host community.”

Fernando Lora ’14 will also be teaching English at the university level in Brazil. For the past few summers,  he has  conducted research that “explores the intersection between race and national identity in Brazil and how it manifests in 20th century photography.”

Another recipient, Sara Kang ‘14, will be conducting research in Japan next year. “I wanted to be a Fulbright Scholar, not just because of its name, but because it would help me continue to do what I learned to love at Williams – historical research and learning Japanese. The goal of my research project with Fulbright is to recast the historical role of Japanese women in their fight for gender equality during the American Occupation of Japan. With my research project, I ultimately hope to discredit the dominant narrative that celebrates the roles of General MacArthur and the American Occupation in promoting women’s rights as a story of Japanese women’s successful, feminist activism,” Kang said.

Catherine Gerkis ’14 will be using her Fulbright scholarship to teach English to elementary school students in Taiwan after she graduates.

“I feel like I have a lot of options available to me, but for now, I’m mainly focused on having a great experience living and working in Taiwan next year,” she said.

Jallicia Jolly ’14 will travel to Jamaica next year “to examine the survival strategies of HIV-positive young mothers living in Kingston, Jamaica.”

Jolly said, “There is a lot of pressure on students generally, especially seniors, to solidify academic and career plans … I am looking forward to living life beyond a rigorously structured academic environment and doing things that bring me alive.”