Ghana! Paris! Denmark! Cairo! Chicago? Five young alumni's global experiences take them to five very different places.
Wadzi Motsi ’12
Zimbabwean launches from Grinnell to multicountry tour
Motsi, the first Zimbabwean ever to receive a Watson fellowship, is on a yearlong, five-country journey to explore youth political activism. With stops in Ghana, Tunisia, Egypt, the Czech Republic, and Cambodia, she's talking to young activists involved in revolution work and election activism, including the Dec. 7 Ghanaian elections, for which she was present.
"The most eye-opening thing has been meeting young women and men around the world who are doing incredible work," Motsi says. "[The Watson] is a unique adventure. Though Grinnell couldn't teach me what exactly to expect, I learned to openly assess diversity and learn from it, which is what I have tried to do."
Lilly Radoshevich ’04
Biology and French land alumna at Pasteur Institute
Radoshevich first set foot in Paris's Pasteur Institute as a French and biology major — opening doors to her current position as a postdoctoral candidate conducting research on host-pathogen interactions. "I am at the Pasteur Institute thanks to my advisers at Grinnell," she says. With the encouragement and recommendations of biology professor emeritus Bruce Voyles and French professor Jan Gross, Radoshevich landed internships at the institute for summer research and later during a gap year between college and grad school.
"I believe my early international experiences, made possible by Grinnell, have made me a more open-minded and creative scientist," she says. "French culture emphasizes intellectualism and fosters lifelong learning in many subjects, not unlike a classical liberal arts education," she explains. "It is clear to me that science is as international as ever."
Winnon Brunson ’10
Studies in Grinnell and Denmark lead philosophy major to Australia
Brunson's passion for public health has led him back to Denmark — where he'd once studied abroad — with a Fulbright research fellowship to examine health care disparities between ethnic Danes and non-Western immigrants. "In the U.S., health disparities are generally focused on racial and ethnic minorities," he explains. "Other countries tend to focus on migrant groups.
He is working toward his master's of culture, health, and medicine at Australian National University which takes a holistic approach to public health. I wanted to keep a liberal arts approach to my graduate education," Brunson says.
Noah Tetenbaum ’12
Arabic studies brings alumnus full circle
A philosophy major and student of the Arabic language and Arabic and Middle Eastern history while at Grinnell, Tetenbaum traveled to Egypt his third year. "[Studying abroad] showed me Cairo is a good place to learn Arabic," he says. "I didn't want to lose the progress I had made."
Tetenbaum's experiences helped him return to Cairo to study the Arabic language as one of 13 Grinnellians who earned Fulbrights this year.
"Grinnell encouraged me to be open and interested in exploring cultural differences, as well as to see my own assumptions and habits for what they are," he says. "I'm also here at a very important point in modern Egyptian history, with some of the first democratic elections and the process of writing the national constitution underway. It's made me interested in getting more informed and involved in politics back home."
Erin Nothwehr Kirchner ’07
French plays unexpected role in career
An attorney at global law practice Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Chicago, Kirchner never anticipated her French major would play a pivotal role in her career. With no experience in French before college, she says, "the French department took me from zero to a high level of fluency." Kirchner studied in France as a third-year and later during a law school summer program. When she applied for her current position, her international experience caught recruiters' attention. "Companies are extremely cognizant of the international and global marketplace," she explains. "Law firms really value someone who can get up to speed quickly."
Kirchner cites study abroad as invaluable. "The fundamental skills you learn in a study-abroad program stick with you for the rest of your career," she says. "You're never going to regret immersing yourself in a new culture and figuring it out." Kirchner uses her skills with international clients as well as with North African immigrants seeking asylum, with whom she works as a pro bono translator.