Four Fairfield University students win Fulbright Scholarships; seven more designated as alternates


Four Fairfield University graduates have been chosen to receive Fulbright Scholarships for the 2004-2005 academic year, while seven more have been listed as alternates who would be awarded Fulbrights should another student decline the honor. Initially, 14 Fairfield University students were recommended by the Institute of International Education (IIE) National Screening Committee.

The Fulbright Grant is the most prestigious scholarship awarded by the U.S. government. The grant funds students to go abroad for one year after graduation to engage in independent research, study and work. A primary goal of the scholarship is to increase mutual understanding between peoples of the United States and other countries.

The four new award winners bring to 33 the number of Fairfield University students who have been awarded Fulbrights since 1993. "It is a great tribute to our wonderful students that so many receive Fulbright awards. It is also a great acknowledgement to an extraordinarily devoted team of faculty and administrators who dedicate so much time and energy to mentor these students and help them navigate the complex application process," said Orin Grossman, Ph.D., academic vice president at Fairfield University.

Students at Fairfield University who are interested in applying for a Fulbright go through an intensive process of developing a proposal and refining it with the help of the Fairfield University Fulbright faculty committee, said Miriam Gogol, Ph.D., associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Gogol joined Fairfield last year and administers the University's rigorous Fulbright process, which includes screenings, interviews, and several redrafts of student proposals. "It's a marvelous system that we have here; it's an arduous system," Dr. Gogol said. "The faculty are very demanding of the student applicants and we have a strong student support system, particularly in the College of Arts and Sciences."

Even students who do not win Fulbrights ultimately benefit from the process of learning to create independent intellectual projects and present themselves before faculty, Gogol said.

This year Fairfield University had an exceptional number of students go very far in the Fulbright process. Ultimately, four graduates were awarded Fulbrights.

Gerald AbbeyGerald Abbey traveled throughout Europe during an educational exchange in the spring of 2003 and now the Blue Bell, PA, resident will immerse himself in another culture altogether: through his Fulbright scholarship he will spend a year teaching in Taiwan. While it might seem intimidating to some, Abbey is anticipating the opportunity to visit "the other side of the world" and enter a foreign culture with a language completely unknown to him.

"This is what I want to continue doing; to travel, teach, and learn," said Abbey, an English major with minors in education, philosophy and Spanish.

Abbey will spend the year working with children ages 6 to 12. He will serve as a teacher's assistant, consulting on the curriculum to make it well rounded and culturally accurate. The goal of this is to provide the optimum environment for the students to learn American English. Abbey already has some experience under his belt working with young people. He served as an assistant coach for Fairfield College Preparatory School's wrestling team. In addition, Abbey recently completed student teaching at Trumbull High School in Connecticut.

"It has all really helped me prepare for teaching," he said of his experiences.

James AllweinJames Allwein, a native of Lancaster, Pa., will spend the year in Athens, Greece, where he will work on modernizing corporate governance and financial reporting regulations through a research assistantship at Capital Link Inc., an investor relations services provider. In the spring, Allwein will do an internship at the Athens Stock Exchange, where he will be involved in researching the development of new financial instruments. He will also take classes through the doctoral program of economics at the University of Athens.

"Greece has undergone major economic change over the last decade to become a part of the European Union," said Allwein, a finance major, who said he was interested in observing how Greece is going to sustain and support economic growth since becoming an EU member. "It is a country with unique prospects for economic growth." Allwein was president of Fairfield University's chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society, and a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the national business school honor society. He has also been a member of On the Spot, Theatre Fairfield's improvisation troupe.

James DiGuglielmoHasbrouck Heights, N.J. resident James DiGuglielmo will participate in cutting edge physics research at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Golm, Germany, this year. His Fulbright will provide the opportunity to work with one of only three instruments worldwide used for the detection of gravitational waves. Physicists theorize that any object that passes through a gravitational field creates waves, though they are usually too miniscule to be detectable. However, massive astronomical events, such as a supernovae explosion, create such a violent surge of energy that scientists believe the resultant gravitational waves can be detected on earth by specialized instruments that use lasers to measure changes in the length of the detector, thereby yielding valuable information as to the structure of the incident waves.

"I have an interest in gravitational theory and astrophysics in general," said DiGuglielmo, a double major in physics and philosophy with a double minor in German and mathematics. "It would give me first-hand experience into what the field is all about." That experience will help him decide whether to pursue graduate studies in the field.

In addition to his research, DiGuglielmo will take classes at the University of Hanover. Throughout his years at Fairfield University, DiGuglielmo has served as a Eucharistic Minister and a volunteer at a Salvation Army soup kitchen. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Sigma Nu (the Jesuit honor society), Alpha Mu Gamma (the language honor society) and Pi Mu Epsilon (the mathematics honor society), DiGuglielmo also participated in the debate team.

Aelee KwonFor Aelee Kwon, a resident of Wilbraham, Mass., a Fulbright to teach English as a second language in South Korea will also provide her with the opportunity to explore the country in which her parents were born.

"I went when I was five but I haven't been back since," said Kwon, who hopes to meet and visit with her relatives in Seoul during her stay. "It will give me a way to reconnect with the family and learn about my culture."

The teaching assignment will also help Kwon, who has a major in English and a minor in Studio Art, determine whether she would like to pursue a career in education. Kwon will spend the first six weeks of the year in a training program at a University two hours outside of Seoul before getting her official assignment, to teach basic conversational English to middle or high school students in another South Korean city. Kwon also hopes to pursue interests in writing and photography throughout the year.

In addition to her Fulbright, Kwon is a winner of the Christopher B. Love Student Achievement Award, which the Center for Multicultural Relations presents to minority students at Fairfield University with a grade point average above 3.0. A mission volunteer in Tijuana, Mexico, with Fairfield University's Campus Ministry, Kwon has worked as a tour guide throughout her four years at Fairfield University. She was also assistant editor of The Sound, the student literary magazine, to which she has submitted some of her work in photography.

"Fairfield's continuing success in the Fulbright program comes from a synthesis of creativity from our students, our faculty, our staff, and our administration. Many of our students - and those who teach and mentor them - are 'thinking Fulbright' even before the students arrive for their first year on campus," said Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University. "The learning, discovery, discernment, and global concerns and care that eventually lead them to apply for these awards are all hallmarks of Jesuit education. We are happy that Fulbright is there to lead our students to yet another level, and we are proud to be immersed in the program."

"Fairfield University's success in the Fulbright Program shows both our commitment to excellence in scholarship and our commitment to educating our students to be global citizens," said Norman Solomon, Ph.D., dean of the Charles F. Dolan School of Business at Fairfield. "That we do so well in the Fulbright competition is a tribute to the hard work of our faculty in mentoring these outstanding young women and men and to the world vision of the students themselves."

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 4, 2004

Vol. 37, No. 16