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Another Year of Fulbright Success

This year’s Boston College fellowship winners include: (front row, L-R) Sarah Messer, Maria Asdourian, Christine Movius, Maggie O’Neill, Sarah Gallagher, Sarah Slater, Corey Streitwieser and Jaclyn Lee; (back row, L-R) Daniel Ottaunick, Adizah Eghan, Brian Stamm, Narintohn Luangrath and Zachary Crosser. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

By Office of News & Public Affairs |

Published: May 23, 2013

The 2012-13 academic year has been a highly successful one for Boston College students seeking fellowships and scholarships.

Highlighting this year’s achievements are the 22 Fulbright Scholarships awarded to BC graduating seniors, a graduate student, and recent alumni to support post-baccalaureate teaching or research overseas  (a 23rd, Elizabeth Sierocinski, was offered a Fulbright but elected to take a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange to fund an independent project in northeastern Germany). BC Fulbright winners will travel to Turkey, the Philippines, Korea, Germany, India, Mexico and Jordan, among other destinations.

A look at this year’s Fulbright Scholars and other fellowship winners:

Laura Ahn
Fairfield, Ct.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistantship
FUTURE PLANS: Pursue master’s degree in education at BC, with specialization in severe disabilities.
QUOTE: "I am greatly honored to have the opportunity to go to South Korea with the Fulbright Grant. Not only will the award provide me with valuable professional development as a teacher abroad, but I hope to grow as a person through the interactions and cultural exchanges I make with the people of Korea, the country of my heritage. Having studied at the Boston College Lynch School of Education, I feel confident and excited to embark on this journey and open myself up to the invaluable experiences that will be sure to follow."

Christopher Bergan JD ’15
Shrewsbury, Mass.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: Work full-time at international law firm or international finance organization/bank while taking classes towards an MBA at Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico.
FUTURE PLANS: Complete degree at BC Law.
QUOTE: “The Mexican Binational Business Grant will provide me with excellent professional experience abroad, so that I will have the cultural competence and contacts needed to be a successful lawyer and advocate in today's increasingly globalized workplace.”

Caroline Ceriello
Manhasset, NY
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistantship
FUTURE PLANS: Enroll in law school, with specialization in international commerce and relations, with focus on US-Turkey.
QUOTE: “As an International Studies major, all of my personal and academic experiences at BC have instilled in me an intense desire to not only understand others’ personal histories and cultures, but to also explain my own. I believe that the ideal place to accomplish this objective is Turkey — a nation that many strive to categorize using absolute terms without an appreciation for the intertwined cultural factors that shape its people and leaders. The Fulbright scholarship in Turkey would grant me invaluable insight into cross-cultural communication.”

Zachary Crosser
Toledo, Ohio
DESTINATION: Philippines
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: Examine the socioeconomic implications of sari-sari stores (small neighborhood stores offering single units of goods at low prices to low-income customers) in urban Philippine neighborhoods.
FUTURE PLANS: Pursue master’s degree in international development; career aspiration to work with international populations on projects to improve conditions in developing countries.
QUOTE: "I am grateful for the opportunities I have been afforded at BC and for the help of mentors here and in Manila. With their support, I look forward to continuing my studies in economics and interacting with the Filipino people."

Matthew J. DeMaio
West Hartford, Ct.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistantship
FUTURE PLANS: Pursue a doctorate in Middle Eastern Studies and enter academia.
QUOTE: “My Fulbright to Jordan is really a culmination of all of my experiences at BC. I was lucky enough to receive two advanced study grants to the occupied Palestinian territories while at BC, which I used to study Arabic and teach English. I will be building on these experiences this upcoming year in Jordan by working as an English teaching assistant and strengthening my Arabic skills for future graduate study. I am truly grateful for the opportunities I have been afforded at BC and particularly thankful for the guidance and support of [Sociology Assoc. Prof.] Eve Spangler and [Political Science Adj. Assoc. Prof.] Kathleen Bailey over these four amazing years.”

Kathryn C. Duerr
Bethel Park, Pa.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistantship
FUTURE PLANS: Pursue a law degree with a specialization in international economic and business law.
Adizah A. Eghan
San Jose, Calif.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistantship
FUTURE PLANS: Graduate studies in public policy.
QUOTE: “I cannot wait to learn from my students and hopefully inspire them inside and outside of the classroom. Furthermore, I look forward to traveling around India and embracing different aspects of Indian culture.”

Nicholas Franco ’11  
Dover, NY
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: Studying microfinance and rural electrification programs to understand the economic linkages between access to finance and electricity.
FUTURE PLANS: Pursue a doctorate in economics in sustainable economic development.
QUOTE: “As an aspiring development economist, the best way to learn about these issues is to go to the source. I am looking forward to the opportunity to understand firsthand how electrification and microfinance programs are changing the lives of some of the region’s poorest families. I cannot thank Boston College enough for the opportunities and the mentors it has provided me with to help me get where I am.”

Sarah Gallagher
Westport, Ct.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistantship  
FUTURE PLANS: Eventually work for the State Department as a foreign service officer; work to improve US relations with the world.
QUOTE: “The Fulbright Scholarship will be an incredible experience to engage with the world and to foster an understanding of American culture abroad. I am thrilled to represent Boston College overseas and to embark on a new and exciting chapter in my life.”

Claire Kairys ’12
Arlington, Va.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistantship; also plans to learn Bahasa Indonesian.
FUTURE PLANS: Pursue graduate work in either international relations or public policy, with the intention of teaching at the university level. Also plans to continue language training in Bahasa Indonesian and to begin French courses. Long-term, hopes to live abroad and continue her personal and professional development.

Jaclyn Lee
Peabody, Mass.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistantship FUTURE PLANS: Attend medical school.
QUOTE: "I have always been very interested in global cultural exchange and learning about the various different groups of people of the world. Only through fully understanding each other can we hope to obtain collaboration and harmony among those who may have differences in beliefs or traditions. Participating in this Fulbright opportunity allows me the unique opportunity to fully immerse myself in a different culture, and through that, have a first-hand chance to learn and understand."

Rockwell Ludden
Yarmouth, Mass.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistantship
FUTURE PLANS: Teaching and graduate school
QUOTE: “Boston College espouses the Jesuit ideal that we be ‘men and women for others.’ I stand fully behind this ideal, and the Fulbright will allow me to improve my own language and teaching skills, but also give me the greater opportunity to help others improve theirs.”

Christine McClary ’11
Hinsdale, Ill.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistantship
QUOTE: “The Fulbright teaching assistantship grant is not only an incredible opportunity for me to learn and connect, but also to serve others, something that my time at Boston College taught me to value. As a Hispanic Studies major and a bilingual educator with Teach For America, I’ve seen how language learning unites people and strengthens communities, and I'm excited to be a part of that in Brazil.”

Christine Movius    
Derwood, Md.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistantship
FUTURE PLANS: Pursue master of fine arts degree in acting.
QUOTE: “This Fulbright grant serves as a wonderful opportunity to use my unique combination of academic interests in environmental science and the performing arts. I hope to use skits, improvisational games, and puppetry as supplementary yet fun methods for teaching not only English, but also about environmental issues.”

Maggie O’Neill
Wayne, Pa.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistant
FUTURE PLANS: Work as education policymaker.
QUOTE: “I'm excited to have the opportunity to take part in the Fulbright program because it's the perfect culmination of my four years at BC.  Not only will I be able to apply what I've learned through my International Studies and German curricula, but I've also been placed in Fulbright's Teaching Diversity program and will be working primarily with students from minority backgrounds. BC's emphasis on the education of the whole person has inspired me to take on this challenge and I am looking forward to continuing my education through linguistic and cultural immersion in Germany next year.”

Dan Ottaunick
Ringwood, NJ
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistantship; also will research how creative writing is taught in Indian schools.
FUTURE PLANS: Enroll in a graduate English program and pursue a doctorate in American poetry, with plans of becoming an English teacher. Will also continue studying Hindi, using his knowledge of the language as the basis for studying Indian poetry.
QUOTE: "In the summer of 2011, I traveled to Mussoorie, India, for a poetry and creative writing course taught by Professor Suzanne Matson of the English Department.  That trip helped me discover three important things: Poetry is my academic passion, I love India and its culture, and I want to help Indian students learn English, as knowledge of the language is an incredible asset for jobs and further education in that country.  This grant fulfills all of those things by allowing me the opportunity to make a difference in what I see as a tremendously important cause in a country I love, while also conducting research on how creative writing is taught in Indian schools."

Kevin Savage

Springfield, Ill.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: Conduct a case study of a community health worker program, assessing their impact on the local constructs on chronic disease, systematically analyzing patients’ perceptions of their own illness and care.
FUTURE PLANS: Pursue a master’s degree in public health and attend medical school with the intention of concentrating in primary care.  
QUOTE: “The Fulbright grant will give me a great introduction to research in both public health and anthropology. The grant will supplement my studies on community health workers during an Advanced Study Grant in 2011, as well as in my senior thesis. It's a wonderful opportunity to connect my work and studies in global health during my time at BC with first-hand experiences in the field.”

Colleen Sinnott
Mattapoisett, Mass.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: Build on a public health survey conducted in Ecuador in 2004-2005 and examine cultural attitudes regarding sexual health and reproductive education in Ecuadorian high schools.  
FUTURE PLANS: Attend medical school and specialize in reconstructive surgery. May also pursue a master’s degree in public or global health.
QUOTE: “At BC, I crafted my economics major around electives that focused on health, development, and inequality. In the summer after my sophomore year, I traveled to Ecuador, where I had the chance to volunteer in a rural clinic, intern in an urban hospital, and teach health education classes in an urban public high school. Returning with a Fulbright grant, I will have the opportunity to continue my work in health education, specifically focusing on reproductive health. In a country currently battling high levels of teen pregnancy with a variety of social programs, this research has the potential to make a significant difference. As I continue on to medical school the following year, I know that my time in Ecuador will impact how I view my role as a physician.  I hope to someday practice medicine as a clinician, but public health, especially health education and healthcare economics, will always be a fundamental part of my career.”

Sarah Slater
Jacksonville, Fla.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistantship
FUTURE PLANS: Earn a master’s degree in public administration or development practice and begin a career in sustainable development consulting.
QUOTE: "Fulbright is the perfect culmination of studies at BC and work experiences, which have centered around Latin American affairs and language studies. I'm hoping to use the grant to further my knowledge in these areas and develop my language skills."

Brian Stamm
Erie, Pa.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: A study centered at the Institute for Clinical Radiology, Ludwig-Maximilians University will use neuroimaging and neuropsychology tests to evaluate the potential presence of chronic traumatic brain injuries in professional soccer players.
FUTURE PLANS: Attend medical school with a focus on neuroscience.
QUOTE: “My eyes for a Fulbright began developing subconsciously during my BC study abroad experience in Paris during the summer after my sophomore year. This first trip to Europe with its numerous cultural activities left me craving more. The Fulbright will allow me to return to another prominent European city, Munich, this coming fall to conduct research on German soccer players' brains and the potential negative effects of headers. This experience will unify my desire to further explore a major foreign culture and to simultaneously further my research credentials.”

Corey Streitwieser
New Haven, Ct.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistantship
FUTURE PLANS: Attend graduate school in Classical Studies. Earn a PhD in classics, focusing research on Plato and his theory of mathematics.
QUOTE: "My goal is to help my students appreciate that learning a language is more than just arranging words according to grammatical rules. By using my background in ancient languages to demonstrate the intertwined linguistic histories of Spanish and English, I hope to encourage my students to think outside of the old platitudes about fluency, to determine how English fits into their lives, and further how they, as English learners, will fit into the future of the English language."

Kelsey Swift
La Jolla, Calif.
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: English teaching assistantship
FUTURE PLANS: Teach at a community college or university and research immigrant education.
QUOTE: “I am looking forward to giving my students the tools to become thoughtful community leaders and successful participants in the global forum. Drawing on my experience as an English teacher and tutor, I hope to introduce my students to the English language and American culture through fiction and poetry.”

Biology graduate student Jennifer Campbell has been awarded a summer fellowship and $20,000 research award by the Mount Sinai Institute for NeuroAIDS Disparities in New York City. After completing the five-week fellowship this summer, Campbell, who works in the lab of Professor Ken Williams, will use the research grant to examine the potential connections between HIV infection in high-risk populations and new findings that have linked chronic immune activation to debilitating brain and heart damage.

Other Boston College fellowship winners include Joseph Manning ’14, who earned a Udall Scholarship; Goldwater Scholar Maria Asdourian ’15; and Narintohn Luangrath ’14, awarded a Truman Scholarship. In addition, senior Lisa Piccirillo, graduate students Ashley Biernesser and Nathan Nesbitt, and Psychology Department researchers James Dungan, Lily Tsoi and Halle Zucker received National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.