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Dec. 16, 2004 • Volume 13 Number 8

Winners and projects

A look at recent Advanced Study Grant winners and their projects:

Jonah Patel '06, of Webster, NY, put an Advanced Study Grant of $1,775 toward research in Puerto Rico on Caribbean folk healing, and is considering deferring medical school to pursue a Fulbright to further his study of what he calls complementary forms of medicine.

"In general, it seems as though Caribbean folk-medical practices, namely espiritismo and naturopathic medicine, are a complement to contemporary healthcare in Puerto Rico," Patel said.

"Here, in the United States, the modern medical establishment has been a little slower in acknowledging unconventional forms of medicine. As the Puerto Rican population (and the Hispanic population in general) within the States continues to surge at an exponential rate, it is important that our medical schools expose future doctors to the many unconventional folk-beliefs that they may encounter in clinical situations. With a broader cultural understanding, doctors will be able to provide quality care to their Hispanic patients."

His sponsor was Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Rhodes (Spanish Language and Literature).

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Gabriel Pleasants '07, of Providence, R.I., used a $1,500 grant to spend a month in Ghana working with Rev. Bobby Benson, a priest who is one of that West African country's leading figures in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

"My work focused on the Matthew Chapter 25 program that provided a support community for 175 people living with HIV/AIDS," he said. "I learned first-hand the realities of the pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa, where 70 percent of the world's cases exist.

"I plan on working further with HIV/AIDS in Africa, studying abroad in South Africa and Kenya. I would also like to research the pandemic further upon graduation, perhaps on a Fulbright grant, before enrolling in medical school."

His sponsor was Adj. Asst. Prof. Christopher Constas (A&S Honors).

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Shannon Reece '06, of North Arlington, NJ, used her $2,100 Advanced Study Grant to help fund a nine-week stay in Ecuador, working with that nation's commerce ministry, and assisting the indigenous artisans of Salasca in marketing their handicrafts.

"I worked with the leaders of the group Trabajadores Artesanos 'Indigenous Salasacas' (Indigenous Salasacan Artisan Workers) to research the process for making their handwoven, hand-dyed tapestries and the history behind the design choices," said Reece.

"The technical assistant at [the Ministry] and I produced promotional pamphlets and an informational website for the community. My last project was helping the Salasacan community devise a tour route through the area so that they can offer tours that highlight their culture and traditional work.

"Right now I am using my work as the basis for seeking a BC nomination to be a Truman Scholar candidate," added Reece, who hopes to extend her research on Latin American indigenous populations into a Fulbright fellowship application.

Her sponsor was Assoc. Prof. Robert Murphy (Economics), director of the International Studies Program.

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With a $2,500 Advanced Study Grant, Hartford, NY, native Michael Petit '05, a Naval ROTC cadet training to become a Marine officer, served a six-week internship at the US Mission to NATO in Brussels that gave him an introduction to international politics and joint military planning and operations.

"The funds from the Advanced Study Grant were, in a large sense, responsible for making possible what turned out to be a fascinating, challenging, and educational experience," he said.

Petit plans a senior thesis comparing the US Marine Corps' approach to training with Aristotle's views on the proper formation of youth. He is considering graduate studies in international relations.

His sponsor was Rev. James Fleming, SJ, now assistant to the vice president for University Mission and Ministry.

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Suzanne Yusunas '06, of San Diego, put a grant of $3,400 toward an archaeological field course in Pompeii: "I had never had any experience with archaeology before, and it was an opportunity for me to increase my knowledge of the field and to enhance my own studies as a Classics major. Not only did I become proficient in the skills, but we found new artifacts and structures almost every day. In addition to the field aspect, we traveled in the surrounding areas to other sites, the cities of Naples, Herculaneum, and Sorrento, as well as exploring the entire city of Pompeii itself. It was definitely a great experience."

Her sponsor was Assoc. Prof. Charles Ahern (Classics).

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Amy Molden '05, of El Cajon, Calif., with a grant of $1,200, spent six weeks in Madrid, where she researched the effects of the Euro on independently-owned businesses in Spain: "I interviewed store owners and business professionals to whom I taught English at a language school. I also lived with a family and was an au pair for their three sons."

Her sponsor was Assoc. Prof. Robert Murphy (Economics).

See a complete list of 2004 Advanced Study Grant winners online at the University Fellowship Committee Web site [www.bc.edu/offices/ufel/fellowships/advanced/winners2004/]. See a related BC Chronicle story for more information.]

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