Brown Fulbright grant recipients will pursue research and teaching in more than 20 countries this coming year. Credit: iStock

Thirty students, recent alumni receive Fulbright grants

A contingent of Brunonians will fan out around the world this coming year, performing original research and teaching English in countries from Ghana to the Kyrgyz Republic.
By TAB staff  |  May 14, 2009  |  Email to a friend

Twenty-three members of the class of 2009, four members of the class of 2008, one 2007 graduate, and two graduate students have been awarded Fulbright grants for the 2009–2010 academic year. With funding from the international education program sponsored by the U.S. government, this year’s recipients will pursue independent research, study, and/or teach English in more than 20 countries including Brazil, Egypt, Ghana, Greece, Indonesia, Kyrgyz Republic, Norway, and Syria. Their projects will span a wide variety of fields such as chemistry, dance studies, and urban development.

Of the 91 graduating seniors and recent alumni who applied for the fellowships, 28 received them. “Our success with this award demonstrates the strength of our undergraduate curriculum,” says Associate Dean of the College Linda Dunleavy, who serves as the fellowship dean and the Fulbright Program advisor at Brown. The curriculum, she says, “prepares students to take risks and chart their own intellectual journeys.”

Charles Frohman ’09 will travel to Spain to work with Alicia, a nonprofit government-funded center of gastronomic research. With an abiding passion for cooking, and having recently completed a chemistry concentration, Frohman will develop innovative cooking technologies that bridge the interface between chemistry and gastronomy, fusing his interests in science with his love for cooking.

Another senior Fulbright recipient, George Mesthos ’09, will investigate the Greek Orthodox Church’s response to the country’s recent flow of immigrants. “My study [will] transform what are essentially two monologues,” Mesthos explains, “into a dialogue about how Greece should handle immigration and what role the church plays in the changing state.” At the same time, he will pursue a master’s degree in political science at the University of Athens.

Patrick Cook-Degan ’08 will go to Thailand to research the measures Thai disaster-relief organizations have taken to prevent devastation from future natural disasters following the 2004 Asian tsunami and 2008 Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. He hopes his Fulbright experience will move him closer to his goal of working on issues related to economic and civil-society development in Southeast Asia.

In addition to the 28 graduating seniors and recent alumni, two Brown graduate students also won Fulbrights this year – Christopher Gibson ’06 A.M., a Ph.D. candidate in sociology, and Amy Marshall ’05 A.M., a Ph.D. candidate in history. Gibson will study urban inequality and participatory democracy in Brazil’s largest cities, while Marshall will research patriotism and popular media in interwar Japan. David Lindstrom, associate dean of the Graduate School, oversees the Fulbright program at the graduate level.

Teaching assistantships offered by numerous countries through the Fulbright program present another option for graduating seniors. This opportunity often appeals to students interested in a completely new cultural experience who are not wedded to a particular idea for a research or study project. While teaching 12 to 15 hours per week, students use their free time to pursue a side project of their own design, such as language study or the exploration of a serious hobby.

Renee Ahlers ’09, who has previous teaching experience, earned a teaching assistantship in Mexico. A dual concentrator in Hispanic studies and international relations, Ahlers hopes not only to foster learning between the United States and Mexico but also to investigate human rights protection through NGO work.

Rajiv Jayadevan ’09 will travel to Indonesia for his English teaching assistantship. “As a teacher and mentor in Indonesia, I look forward to being part of an educational cross-cultural exchange and representing my country abroad,” says Jayadevan. He will also undretake formal language instruction in his host country.

Prior to the announcement of this year’s Fulbright winners, on April 30 the Office of the Dean of the College celebrated past, present, and potential recipients of the award. Current students who are considering Fulbright applications learned about the process at an information session that was followed by eclectic presentations by Brown Fulbright alumni. Alumni presenters included Afreen Akhter ’06 (Jamaica), Zachary Barter ’06 (ETA Taiwan), Jennifer Chudy ’07 (ETA South Korea), Linda Evarts ’06 (Colombia), Gregory Fay ’07 (China), Jacob Izenberg ’08 (Malaysia), Andrew Matheny ’06 (Ukraine), and Natalie Smolenski ’07 (Egypt).

In late October, when the Chronicle of Higher Education publishes the results of this year’s Fulbright competition, Dunleavy says, Brown is expected to rank well among its peer institutions in the number of awards. 

The complete list of this year’s Fulbright winners from Brown follows.

Class of 2009

Renee Lynn Ahlers
Alisa Crouch Ballard
Hannah Warring Brennan
Zoe Alexandra Brennan-Krohn
Caitlin Lee Browne
Adam Michael Cambier
Peter McCormick Cipparone
Alison Klebanoff Cohen
Thomas Henly Dahlberg
Lauren Michele Davis
Charles Alan Frohman
Tyler Roger Gage
Jonathan Ellis Hillman
Rajiv Jayadevan
Eva Kranjc   
Caroline Cass Landau
George Andrew Mesthos
Alexander Zusy Ortiz
Cassie Deanna Owens
Nabanita Pal
Erica Maria Palmiter
Christian Ambrose Seale
Min Hyo Wu

Class of 2008

Patrick Cook-Deegan
Jennifer Elizabeth Garcia
Robert Alex Kaufman
Phoebe E.D. Sloane

Class of 2007

Mia Psorn

Graduate Students

Christopher Laurence Gibson ’06 A.M., Ph.D. candidate
Amy Bliss Marshal ’05 A.M., Ph.D. candidate