Ten Grinnell alumni have been awarded prestigious Fulbright grants to support international study, research, and teaching.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the flagship international education exchange program of the U.S. Department of State, provides recent graduates the opportunity to travel abroad to study, conduct research and teach English. Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year — the Fulbright Act was signed into law by President Harry Truman on Aug. 1, 1946 — the Fulbright program fosters mutual understanding through international exchange between the United States and more than 140 countries.
Since 2004, the U.S. Department of State has annually published a list of “top-producing” Fulbright schools, and Grinnell has consistently shown up on the list. Steve Gump, director of global fellowships and awards and administrator of the Fulbright program at Grinnell, predicts Grinnell will appear on the next list, to be released in February 2017.
“When you look at the Fulbright criteria,” Gump says, “you can easily conclude, ‘They’re looking for the prototypical Grinnellian.’ Fulbright recipients have strong academic backgrounds, proven leadership ability, passion for increasing intercultural understanding and the adaptability and flexibility to live abroad for a year as cultural ambassadors of the United States.
“Grinnell applicants for the Fulbright program regularly rise to the top, thanks to the College’s off-campus study, course-embedded travel, international internships, Mentored Advanced Projects, the strength of the language curricula, the Careers in Education Professions Program, and robust extracurricular activities,” Gump adds. “In fact, each one of this year’s Fulbright recipients studied off-campus while a student at Grinnell.”
The 2016 graduates who have received Fulbright awards, their areas of focus, their future plans, and the Grinnell faculty and staff who supported their applications are:
- Sophie Donlon ’16
- An honors graduate in English from Staten Island, N.Y., Dolon received an English teaching assistantship to Germany, where she studied abroad during the spring term of her junior year. She declined the offer to pursue other interests. Vance Byrd (German), Terri Geller (English), and Dan Reynolds (German) supported Donlon’s application.
- Martha Caroline Graham ’16
- An honors graduate in biology from Nashville, Tenn., Graham received a Fulbright research grant to investigate the impacts of Sargassum seaweed on coral reef ecosystems in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico — a project she envisioned while participating in the Semester at Sea program during the spring of her junior year. After her Fulbright year, Graham plans to attend graduate school in the marine sciences. Valerie Benoist (Spanish), Jeff Jonkman (Mathematics and Statistics), and Nick Phillips (Spanish) supported Graham’s application.
- Ivy Jenn ’16
- An honors graduate in Chinese from Arcadia, Calif., Jenn received an English teaching assistantship to South Korea. She spent the fall of her junior year in Denmark and the spring of the same year in China, and she has extensive experience teaching English as a second language. Jenn ultimately plans to pursue a master’s degree in education. Scott Cook and Jin Feng (Chinese) supported Jenn’s application.
- Jennifer Joy ’16
- An honors graduate in Chinese from Norman, Okla., Joy received an English teaching assistantship to Malaysia. She spent the spring of her junior year in Nanjing, China. Prior to embarking on her Fulbright in early 2017, she has returned to Nanjing to serve as teaching fellow at Number 11 High School. Joy’s future plans are to pursue a career in international education management. Jin Feng (Chinese) and Erin Labasan ’11 (Physical Education) supported Joy’s application.
- Vincent Kelley ’16
- An honors graduate in religious studies from Eugene, Ore., Kelley received a Fulbright research grant to investigate urban environmental governance in Delhi and Lucknow, India. While in India, he will continue his language studies in Urdu and Hindi — and his musical studies in the table — all of which he began during his junior year abroad in India. After his Fulbright year, Kelley intends to pursue a Ph.D. in South Asian studies. Supporting Kelley’s application were Jon Andelson ’70 (Anthropology), Shuchi Kapila (English), and Tim Dobe (Religious Studies).
- Isabel Monaghan ’16
- An English major from Oak Park, Ill., Monaghan received an English teaching assistantship to Turkey. She spent the fall of her junior year in Vienna, Austria. She declined the offer for a position with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program in Sasebo, Japan. Paul Hutchison (Education), Ashley Schaefer (Education), and Erik Simpson (English) supported Monaghan’s application.
- Colleen Moser ’16
- From Madison, Wis., Moser is a double-honors graduate in French and political science with a concentration in global development studies. She received a Fulbright research grant to Senegal, where she will investigate the role of village associations on transnational development in West Africa. While studying abroad in Marseille, France, during her junior year and completing a Mentored Advanced Project in France the following summer, she investigated West African immigrant experiences in Europe. Moser’s post-Fulbright plans are to pursue a career in international development research. Leif Brottem (Political Science), Gwenola Caradec (French), and Wayne Moyer (Political Science) supported Moser’s application.
- Alexandra Odom ’16
- A Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and history major from Baltimore, Md., Odom received a Fulbright partnership award to study for a master’s degree in history at Queen Mary University of London. While participating in the Grinnell in London program during the fall of her junior year, Odom became familiar with the faculty and program at Queen Mary. Following her Fulbright year, Odom intends to pursue a Ph.D. in women’s studies, emphasizing women’s history. Patrick Inglis (Sociology), Al Lacson (History), and Carolyn Lewis (History) supported Odom’s application.
- Jermaine Stewart-Webb ’16
- Stewart-Webb is a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and English and French major from Grinnell, Iowa. He received an English teaching assistantship to Senegal. There, his French will come in handy; he studied off-campus in Provence, France, during the spring of his junior year. Stewart-Webb ultimately plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Africana studies, with the goal of becoming a professor. Shanna Benjamin (English), Lakesia Johnson (English), and Philippe Moisan (French) supported Stewart-Webb’s application.
- Jacob Ziontz ’16
- From Shoreline, Wash., Ziontz is an honors graduate in psychology with a neuroscience concentration. He received a Fulbright research grant to study biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease at Pablo de Olavide University in Seville, Spain. After spending the spring of his junior year in Madrid, Ziontz knew he wanted to return to Spain to pursue his research interests internationally. Following his Fulbright year, he plans to attend graduate school to study behavioral neuroscience and continue international collaborations. Nick Phillips (Spanish), Nancy Rempel-Clower (Psychology), and Andi Tracy ’99 (Psychology) supported Ziontz’s application.
Awards for the next cycle of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program will be announced in spring 2017.