Graduating Seniors and Alumni Receive Fulbright Grants
Grinnell College graduating seniors and alumni were awarded Fulbright U.S. student grants for research/study and teaching English in 2020–2021. They were selected based on their academic achievement and leadership potential, with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
For 75 years, Fulbright grants have provided future American leaders with an unparalleled opportunity to study, conduct research, and teach abroad with the goal of increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which oversees the Fulbright program, had some challenging decisions to make on global travel and experiences during this past year. For seniors and alumni that received awards in spring 2020 the awardees were granted “country determined” delayed starts or deferrals. At this time, the bureau is hopeful that these deferred awardees and new awardees can depart within the countries’ regular time frame in 2021–2022.
“Despite the pandemic and the effects on global travel, Grinnellians were excited to look to the future and apply for an opportunity to advance global exchange. I am thrilled for the recipients and extremely proud of all applicants,” says Ann Landstrom, Fulbright program adviser and assistant dean and director of global fellowships and awards in Grinnell College’s Center for Careers, Life, and Service. "These Grinnellians are well-prepared to apply their education and experiences to be successful ambassadors around the globe.”
2021–2022 Grant Year Recipients
Sasha Baumann ’17
Baumann, from Madison, Wisconsin, and now San Francisco, California, was selected for a research/study grant in Brazil where she will be researching drivers and determinants of disparities in obstetric services in Brazil. She aims to contribute to essential research on the impact of c-section and abortion trends on vulnerable subgroups and inform more equitable interventions. Her affiliation is with Dr. Aluisio J. D. Barros, technical director, of the International Center for Equity in Health and the Department of Epidemiology of the Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil.
“Women have a right to safe, quality births and abortions. Unfortunately, gaps in service access and provision leave millions of women at undue risk of preventable complications and compromise their reproductive autonomy,” says Baumann. “It is an honor to learn from researchers at the forefront of this field and explore Brazil.”
Baumann is currently a research associate in Maternal and Newborn Health Epidemiology for the George Washington University, Milken Institute School of Public Health and she has a master of science degree in public health for development from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. During her graduate studies, Baumann served as a student liaison with the Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive, and Child Health Centre and conducted research for a master’s thesis with the World Health Organization examining women’s experiences of respectful care for abortion-related complications in 11 African countries. After graduate studies, she returned to the United States and worked as a COVID-19 disaster employee with the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services.
While at Grinnell College, Baumann was a Trustee Honor Scholar, health and wellness Intern, and Grinnell Women’s soccer and Ultimate team member. She also participated in IES study abroad in Granada, Spain. Following her bachelor’s degree, Baumann was a Global Partnerships monitoring and evaluation fellow with the adolescent health non-profit Grassroot Soccer in South Africa and then project director with the youth development non-profit Amigos de las Américas in the Dominican Republic.
Following the Fulbright grant term, Baumann wants to pursue a doctorate degree in health policy or epidemiology to continue her contributions to women’s health policy.
Evelyn Berryhill ’20
Berryhill from Newton, Iowa, was selected for a Fulbright English teaching assistantship in the Slovak Republic where she will work with secondary-level students on English language competency and also teach American studies, literature, arts, and political science. She will also advise students interested in international education. As an anthropology major with a concentration in linguistics, Berryhill plans to acquire invaluable skills in Teaching English as a Foreign Language/applied linguistics within the classroom and during teaching conferences that will further her professional goals.
While at Grinnell, she was an introductory linguistics class grader, served as a Linguistics Student Educational Policy Committee co-chair and student representative, and volunteered with the Grinnell Middle School Art Club.
Berryhill is currently serving as an AmeriCorps member at a non-profit in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She works primarily with adult immigrants and refugees, teaching English classes online and in person. “At Grinnell, I took a class about language politics and its intersections with education. It forced me to look critically at language education and expanded my interest in the field,” says Berryhill. The AmeriCorps experience has given her the chance to develop her teaching skills, learn about adult education, and interact with people from around the world.
“The English teaching assistant grant is an incredible opportunity for me to continue exploring the language education field firsthand. There are so many things I am looking forward to, but I am most excited to work with language educators outside of the United States and to discover more about language politics in Slovakia,” says Berryhill. “I am eager to try all sorts of Slovak and Central European foods too.”
After the Fulbright program, Berryhill plans to pursue a graduate degree related to linguistics and education. Within her career she wants to promote greater linguistic and cultural diversity in United States society.
Anjali Jain ’21
Jain, from Saratoga, California, was selected for a Fulbright-Nehru research/study grant in India where she will be working in Rajasthan with the hand-block printing community —primarily the internationally recognized town of Bagru. “I will be both learning the methods of printing from generational printers, as well as studying the ways in which the art form has been archived over the years and changed based on colonial and neo-colonial involvement. I hope to help decolonize the archive based off the needs of the printing community,” says Jain.
Jain describes the project as heavily based in design and ethnography, both of which she learned through her time as a major in the theatre and dance department. She participated in numerous productions where she learned a variety of techniques and forms that provide a foundation for her ability to manage her Fulbright grant project.
She studied the Banarasi weaving industry during her fall 2019 study abroad in Banaras, Uttar Pradesh, India, and recognized in herself the passion to return to traditional art forms that are being lost during their global industrialization. “Block-printing has been important to my family for as long as I can remember, so when it came to picking an art form to study, going to Bagru was an instant choice,” says Jain. The recent completion of her Mentored Advanced Project in Decolonial Ethnography with Dr. Elaigwu Ameh, helps shape the methods, theoretical scope, and goals of the project.
“To be given the chance to study under these hand-block printing artisans and scholars is one of the most exciting opportunities I have and will ever be given,” says Jain. Her affiliation is with Dr. Toolika Gupta, Indian Institute of Crafts and Design. Following the Fulbright grant year, Jain plans to pursue a master’s in library/archival science to continue working to decolonize archives and archival methods.
Lana Katai ’21
Katai, from Dayton, Ohio, was selected for a Fulbright English teaching assistantship in Taiwan where she will assist local English teachers in elementary or junior high schools, consult with teachers on American cultural issues, and assist in editing/writing educational materials for English teaching.
As a Chinese and English double major, Katai plans to use the award to engage fully with Taiwanese culture and share her own unique experiences with her students and fellow program participants. For her grant year community engagement, Katai will connect with local Taiwanese culture through her extracurricular passions of eco-friendly gardening and love of classical music.
As a student at Grinnell, Katai was an important leader in student government where she most recently served as the Student Government Association president and had previous positions as all-campus events chair and student senate president. She was a mentor for the Peer Connections Pre-Orientation Program and member of the Chinese and Japanese Student Education Policy Commitee, varsity women’s swimming and diving team, Concerned Black Students, and African-Caribbean Students Association.
In fall 2019, Katai participated in a fully immersive language study abroad program in Kunming, China. She has been studying Mandarin Chinese since 6th grade and in turn has taught English in mainland China, Japan, England, and domestically within the United States.
“I am immensely excited for the opportunity to learn, grow, and teach in Taiwan for the upcoming academic year,” says Katai. Upon the completion of the Fulbright award, Katai will attend law school to study international law.
One Grinnellian Selected as Alternate
One senior was named an alternate in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program process for 2021–2022 and may receive a Fulbright grant if funding becomes available:
William “Conner” Stanfield ’21, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is an alternate for an English-teaching assistantship in Spain. He is a sociology and theatre and dance double major.
Delayed Start for 2020–2021 Recipient
Sophie Neems ’16, from Iowa City, Iowa, departed May 2021 for her Fulbright research/study grant in Spain. With nearly five years of federal agriculture policy and communications work in Washington, D.C., she will be studying Spanish farmers’ perceptions of climate change, the factors — such as one’s place-based identity — that influence these perceptions, and the effect these perceptions have on farmers’ decisions to employ climate-smart agricultural practices. She will work with her affiliate, professor Maria del Mar Delgado-Serrano at the University of Cordoba.
Deferred 2020-2021 Recipients for 2021–2022
Valencia Alvarez ’20, from Yucaipa, California, will be an English teaching assistant in Mexico, where she will support classroom English language learning. As a biology major with a Latin American studies concentration, Alvarez plans to research vulnerable populations’ access to and success in the public education and health care sectors for her supplemental project. Within the community, she plans to foster athletic abilities as a volunteer leader in youth soccer leagues.
Benjamin Binversie ’17, from Mequon, Wisconsin, will be a Fulbright English teaching assistant in Argentina where he will work with university-level students who are studying to become English teachers. As a history major with a concentration in policy studies and coursework in Spanish, Binversie plans to continue his own exploration of the Spanish language and Spanish-speaking cultures while engaging in a collaborative learning environment with Argentina’s future teachers.
Kathryn Perry ’20, from Los Angeles, California, will be a Fulbright English teaching assistant in Germany to assist in teaching American studies and English language to German students at all pre-university levels. As a double major in history and German with a linguistics concentration, she plans to learn more about German culture and perfect her language and teaching skills while serving as a cultural ambassador for the United States. Perry wants to join community groups including an orchestra and a hiking society.
Full biographies on the 2020-2021 Grant Year recipients.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program operates in more than 140 countries worldwide and annually awards more than 2,100 grants for U.S. students to study overseas. Visit us.fulbrightonline.org for more information about the program.