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UMD Students, Alumni Win 15 Fulbright Grants

July 26, 2013

Beth Cavanaugh 301-405-4625
Francis DuVinage 301-314-9458 (National Scholarships Office)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Twelve University of Maryland students and three recent graduates were awarded Fulbright grants to study, conduct research, or teach English abroad during the 2013-14 academic year. The students and alumni will travel to 12 different countries on five continents to carry out projects in fields such as theatre studies, government and politics, environmental conservation, history, geography and education policy. Others will teach English at schools and universities. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides more than 1,900 awards annually for students and young professionals to pursue international study, research, and teaching experience.

Katherine RennenkampfHarrison Guthorn, a doctoral student in the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU), and Ashley Enrici, a doctoral student in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS), were also awardedthe Fulbright Critical Language Enhancement Award, which provides advanced language training during their grant period.

"Maryland's undergraduate and graduate recipients of the Fulbright grant are an extraordinarily talented and adventuresome group of students and a credit to the departments where they study.  From teaching English in Turkey, to exploring the experiences of women secondary school teachers in Ethiopia, to learning about the art and practice of clowning in Indonesia, these students set a high standard of accomplishment for the whole University," said Professor James Gilbert, UMD’s Fulbright program adviser.

In the last five years, UMD students and recent graduates have earned a total of 70 Fulbright grants. This year’s recipients include three seniors, three recent graduates, and nine graduate students. One additional student is an alternate.

Dave BalwanzThe Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Ark., the Fulbright Program has given approximately 318,000 individuals the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program operates in over 140 countries worldwide.

2013 University of Maryland Fulbright Recipients

Negar Ashtari Abay - Ethiopia

Negar Ashtari Abay is a doctoral student in the College of Education’s department of counseling, higher education, and special education. Abay’s research will focus on the experiences of women secondary school teachers in Ethiopia during their university training, transition to work, and first year of teaching. By giving voice to female perspectives and revealing strategies employed by women to overcome obstacles, her study hopes to inform policies aimed at the greater inclusion of women in teaching in Sub-Saharan Africa and to fill a gap in the gender and education literature.

Amy Austin - Germany 

Amy Austin graduated with a B.A. in government and politics from BSOS in 2010. She will be an English teaching assistant in Berlin, Germany. Austin recently completed service as a Teach for America corps member teaching fourth grade at the Wounded Knee District School on an Oglala Lakota Native American Reservation in South Dakota. After completing her Fulbright year, Austin plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy or education and then work at an organization that aims to eliminate educational inequalities.

Dave Balwanz - South Africa

Dave Balwanz is a doctoral student in the College of Education's department of counseling, higher education, and special education. He will examine secondary education and training programs for marginalized youth in two school districts in the Johannesburg. He will elicit perspectives from these youth on the skills and learning experiences they see as important in their transition to adulthood and the world of work.

Ashley Enrici - Indonesia

Ashley Enrici, a doctoral candidate in BSOS’ department of geographical sciences, will research the recent extension of the UN’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program. REDD+ moves beyond REDD’s focus on emissions reduction to include environmental and socioeconomic benefits. Enrici will examine implementation challenges of the REDD+ program that two forest communities face. Enrici received Fulbright’s Critical Language Enhancement Award to study Bahasa Indonesia.

Alex Gittelson - Russia

Alex Gittelson, a 2009 graduate of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR), will research alternatives to agricultural burning in Russia. He is currently an international affairs specialist with the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, focusing on policy issues related to energy, climate, safety, and security. Gittelson plans to pursue graduate studies in public policy after his Fulbright project.

Amina Goheer - Turkey

Amina Goheer, a 2012 BSOS and ARHU graduate, has been awarded an English teaching assistantship to Turkey. As an undergraduate student, Goheer studied abroad in Alexandria, Egypt and held internships at Search for Common Ground, an NGO that encourages collaborative solutions to conflict, and the Embassy of Pakistan. Following her Fulbright year, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in international development or global public health.

Harrison Guthorn - Jordan

Harrison Guthorn, a doctoral student in ARHU’s department of history, will examine how the city of Amman developed. He will focus on its development as the capital of Transjordan during the Mandate period. He will demonstrate how the history of Amman is also the history of Transjordan by focusing upon the development of Amman’s infrastructure, elites, and its civil society. Guthorn also received Fulbright’s Critical Enhancement Award to study Arabic.

James Hesla - Indonesia

James Hesla, a doctoral student in ARHU’s department of theatre, dance and performance studies, will research Balinese clowns and clowning in traditional masked dance-drama. Hesla asserts that clowns have the freedom to comment on pressing social and cultural concerns through comic actions and dialogue. He will consider how clowns and clowning both reflect and impact Balinese cultural values in performance and performer training.

Elana Mayer - Mexico

A 2013 ARHU graduate, Elana Mayer has been awarded an English teaching assistantship to Mexico where she will serve as an English language and cultural assistant at a public university. Upon her return from Mexico, Mayer plans to complete the Masters Certification (MCERT) Program at UMD to become a high school Spanish and/or ESL teacher.

Sonia Prescott - Panama

Sonia Prescott, a doctoral student in ARHU’s department of history, will research Afro Antillean contributions to the labor movement in Panama, particularly the Silver Roll strike of 1919 and the rent strikes of 1925 and 1932. She will focus on the role of racial propaganda in defining how these protests gained or lost the support of the larger Panamanian society.

Katherine Rennenkampf - Indonesia

A 2013 graduate of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS), Katherine Rennenkampf has been awarded a Fulbright English teaching assistantship to Indonesia. Rennenkampf, who aspires to become a math educator at the secondary level, will also be pursuing a project to learn about Indonesia’s recent steps in reforming its mathematics curricula. Upon her return from Indonesia, she plans to take an assignment as a Teach for America corps member.

Mary Kate Schneider - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mary Kate Schneider is adoctoral student BSOS’ department of government and politics. Through her Fulbright grant, she will research the effects of divided education in Bosnia and Herzegovina by exploring how education policies affect interethnic perceptions and attitudes. She plans to survey and conduct focus groups with students from 10 cities and villages in Bosnia and Herzegovina, assessing interethnic attitudes that emerge among students.

Yu-Chi Wang - Taiwan

Yu-Chi Wang is a May 2013 graduate from BSOS and CMNS and has been awarded a Fulbright grant to teach English in Taiwan.  After her Fulbright year in Taiwan, Wang plans to pursue a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology and to use her Chinese-language skills to work internationally.

Kimberly Wilson - Taiwan

Kimberly Wilson, a doctoral student in BSOS, will examine Taiwan's maritime and territorial claims in the South China Sea. She will be based in Taipei, utilizing Taipei's academic and policy making sources and collecting data through interviews and documentary analysis. Wilson’s project will build on her current dissertation research in China, which is funded by a 2012-13 Boren Fellowship. 

Jesse Zarley - Chile 

Jesse Zarley is a doctoral student in ARHU and will research how the indigenous Mapuche population of southern Chile successfully resisted conquest and colonization by the Spanish Empire and the Chilean nation during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He will work with primary documents and twentieth-century ethnographies to reconstruct a more coherent view of Mapuche cultural practices, rituals, and leadership structures.