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May 25, 2006 • Volume 14 Number 18

his year's Fulbright winners: In photo above (back row, L-R), Teresa Behr, Justin Pine, Regina Scott, Christopher Lauderdale. (center row, L-R) Mara Medina, Matthew D'Orsi, Sarah Byron. (front row L-R), Ksenia Mankowska, Laura Honsberger, Shannon Reece. In photo below (L-R), Elayne McCabe, Sarah Carmody, Amber Smith. (Photos by Kris Brewer)

Brand New Territory for Fulbright Success This Year

By Sean Smith
Chronicle Editor

This is the year that Boston College's Fulbright fellowship program quite literally goes places it's never been before.

Thirteen BC students thus far have earned the prestigious grants, which support a year's post-baccalaureate study abroad. An additional two undergraduates were named alternates. (A 14th student, Elizabeth O'Day, was offered a Fulbright but chose to take a Churchill grant to study in England.)

For the first time ever, BC will send Fulbright winners to Portugal, Indonesia, Taiwan, Ecuador and Jordan. A sixth student is bound for Argentina, where BC has not been represented via the Fulbright program in at least a decade, according to administrators in the University's Fellowship Committee.

"It's quite exciting to see how our students have expanded the opportunities to broaden their educational pursuits," said Prof. Margaret Thomas (Slavic and Eastern Languages), who coordinates BC's participation in the Fulbright program.

Thomas notes just a few of the projects BC Fulbright winners have undertaken in recent years: Michael Scahill '05, working in India with a researcher developing a potential vaccine for malaria; Taylor Healy '04 and Elizabeth Paulhus '04, studying immigration-related political and legal issues in Germany; Thomas Majdanski '02, researching the cultural effects of democracy and a market economy, and the changing role of the Catholic Church, in Poland.

"Every time a BC student takes a Fulbright grant to a 'new' location, it adds to the array - already quite impressive - of learning experiences abroad that have helped shape, or transform, our graduates' lives."

Prof. Donald Hafner (Political Science), director of the University Fellowship Committee, said, "These grants to a 'new' location reshape Boston College in subtle but important ways. They provoke ripples of imagination about new possibilities that can change the way freshmen and sophomores think about their futures, the way faculty mentors counsel advisees, perhaps even the way in which faculty teach courses or encourage undergraduate research.

"Our winners get the satisfaction of receiving the grants, and we all benefit from their yen for new adventures."

A look at this year's Fulbright winners:

Laura Honsberger
Majors: History, German Studies
Traveling to: Karlsruhe, Germany
Project: "I will be researching the German author/theologian Reinhold Schneider and his relationship to the Christian resistance during World War II."
Inspiring teachers: "Michael Resler and Rachel Freudenburg have been extremely helpful in helping me to prepare for my Fulbright application and opening up the many different aspects of German literature and culture. Devin Pendas was extremely instrumental in showing me a passion for German history and helping me to see how I could integrate the two disciplines."

Justin Pine
Majors: Chemistry, philosophy
Traveling to: Instituto Tecnologia Quimica e Biologica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
Project: "Work with a team of scientists in an organic chemistry laboratory contributing towards the development of novel synthetic techniques eventually leading to more efficient chemical syntheses of two biologically active natural products. Increase scientific interchange between the US and with Portuguese-speaking countries throughout the world."
Inspiring teachers: "T. Ross Kelly, for introducing me to the wonders of organic chemistry and for allowing me to conduct research in his laboratory for two years. Brian Braman, for helping me to appreciate how special a liberal arts education is. He has helped me to see the beauty in all things and to appreciate all aspects of art, whether its music, architecture, painting or literature. His class has been the most spiritually fulfilling class I have ever taken."

Matthew D'Orsi
Major: International Studies (with a concentration in political science)
Minor: Hispanic Studies (courses also taken in Linguistics)
Traveling to: University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Project: "I will study the role of Argentinean popular literature in the development of the Italian pidgin language Cocoliche, which was spoken by Italian immigrants upon entering Argentina in 1880 and 1910. The language contributed to negative Italian stereotypes in Argentinean society that became personified in popular literature. My project will analyze the Cocoliche language and study those types of literature that promoted Italian stereotypes or attempted to deconstruct them."
Inspiring teachers: "Ernesto Livon-Grosman has been an excellent springboard for new ideas and a great resource person. With his assistance, I was able to contact the leading Cocoliche researchers in Argentina, gain access to their literature, and learn more about the language from those who knew it best. Margaret Thomas believed in me from the very beginning. With her diligence and constant support, I was really encouraged to develop my project and fine-tune it down to the last detail."

Teresa Behr
Majors: English, German Studies

Traveling to: Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Project: "Working with minority students in German schools: the children of immigrants and guest laborers, in particular the large Turkish minority. To this end, I've started studying Turkish to facilitate connections with the students and their families, and plan to continue studying next year."
Inspiring teachers: "Paul Doherty and Susan Roberts have challenged me at every step of my development here and neither one has ever let me get away with anything less than everything of which I was capable. Michael Resler is responsible for keeping me sane during the tumultuous, hectic process known as senior year."

Sarah Carmody
Majors: History, French
Traveling to: Academie de Strasbourg, France
Project: "I will serve as an English teaching assistant in the Academie de Strasbourg. I have a strong interest in French phonetics and linguistics, particularly in the history of regional languages, such as in Alsace, so I also plan to continue my research on the idiom and its history."
Inspiring teachers: "My thesis advisors Virginia Reinburg and Paul Spagnoli have shared their invaluable guidance and support during my years at Boston College. I must also thank the entire Romance Languages and Literatures Department for its ongoing encouragement, in particular Ourida Mostefai, Madame Nelly Rosenberg, Joseph Breines and Jeff Flagg.

Ksenia A. Mankowska
Major: Political science
Minor: Russian
Traveling to: St. Petersburg State University, Russia.
Project: "My goal is to see how Russian citizens organize themselves and negotiate with the local government to solve the many problems that are plaguing the housing infrastructure. I will be researching how tenants negotiate with local governments to form homeowners' associations, so as to begin managing their apartment building privately."
Inspiring teachers: "There are so many that it is hard to mention just a few: Gerald Easter, who taught me what I thought I knew before about Russia and Eastern Europe's political history; Donald Hafner, who encouraged me to never back down from any challenges; Paul Christensen, who was always willing to listen and refine my thoughts on Russian politics; and Elena Lapitsky and Michael Connolly, who taught me to love Russian grammar."

Sarah Byron
Majors: Accounting, German Studies
Traveling to: Germany
Project: "I will be a teaching assistant in an English class for German high school students."
Inspiring teachers: "There are so many that have been so inspirational and such amazing professors that I have had at Boston College, especially Michael Resler, Rachel Freudenburg, Jeffrey Cohen, Theresa Hammond and Edward Taylor."

Mara Medina
Major: International Studies
Minor: Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
Traveling to: Amman, Jordan
Project: "I will research the effects of the current war in Iraq on Jordanians. Refugees, rich and poor, are fleeing to Jordan, mostly to its capital, Amman. While most people don't think wealthy refugees are troublesome, they bring in foreign wealth and inflate the general level of prices, which decreases the purchasing power and standards of living of local Jordanians. The poor refugees are also compounding the effects of the presence of another refugee population in Jordan, the Palestinians."
Inspiring teachers: "Donald Hafner and Michael Resler have provided me with guidance, help and support in my academic pursuit and thus achieving the Fulbright scholarship. Carlos Bohorquez has also helped me immensely achieve personal growth. Margaret Thomas played a central role in the success of my application. Since freshman year, Michael Resler has encouraged me to apply for a Fulbright scholarship in my senior year, even though it wasn't to Germany."

Elayne McCabe
Major: History
Minor: Film Studies
Traveling to: Indonesia
Project: "I will be studying the economic and social ramifications of the 1997 Asian financial crisis in Indonesia with a specific focus on Indonesian filmmaking: How have filmmakers been affected by the crisis and how they have interpreted it in their films?"

Inspiring teachers: Franziska Seraphim, John Michalczyk.

Shannon Reece
Major: International Studies
Minor: Economics
Traveling to: Ecuador
Project: "Ecuadorians hold fierce geographical loyalties that politicians inevitably appeal to in their election campaigns. The next Ecuadorian election is this upcoming October, so I will be tracking how candidates integrate regional affinities into their campaign strategies and its effectiveness in garnering a support base. I will also keep tabs on how many of their geographical interest group promises come to fruition."

Inspiring teachers: "My thesis advisor, Paul Christensen, has been an invaluable resource. He's helped me strike a balance between sanity and focus as I worked on my thesis, applied for major fellowships, and planned for post graduation. Donald Hafner has been crucial to instilling the necessary confidence in me so that I could approach the fellowship competitions with reckless abandon. My academic advisor, Robert Murphy, has always challenged me to think ahead and continue planning for the next step."

Christopher Lauderdale
Majors: Economics, German Studies
Traveling to: Munich, Germany
Project: "Innovation theory and the hydrogen powered car - how do we turn years of work in laboratories into a product that will actually sell?"
Inspiring teacher: Michael Resler.

Amber M. Smith
Majors: Linguistics, German Studies
Traveling to: Leipzig, Germany
Project: "I will be exploring the nature of second-language acquisition, specifically, how people with different first-languages learn to form plurals in German. To do this I will be using made up words, so that the participants could not have learned the appropriate plural form."
Inspiring teachers: Michael Resler, Margaret Thomas and Michael Connolly.

Regina Scott
Majors: Pyschology, linguistics
Traveling to: Taiwan
Project: Teaching English
Inspiring teachers: Margaret Thomas, Michael Connolly

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