Courtney Pelletier of Westminster awarded Fulbright Scholarship to Indonesia


One of a record-setting 9 Fulbrights at Fairfield University

Image: Courtney PelletierCourtney Pelletier of Westminster, Mass., has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, the most prestigious international scholarship awarded by the U.S. government, for an English Teaching Assistantship in Indonesia. Courtney is one of nine recent Fairfield University graduates selected for the Fulbright, setting a record that nearly doubles the previous record of five. Before this stellar group, the university already held the most Fulbrights among master's granting universities across the country for two of the last three years.

During her junior year at Fairfield, Courtney spent a semester in a study abroad program in Sicily and knew she wanted to live abroad again. She had developed a passion for Asian arts through her studies as an art history major at Fairfield, so when she began her search for a country where she would apply for a Fulbright, she put together a short list of Southeast Asian countries.

"I felt as though Indonesia was a unique and special country," she says, "especially being the largest Muslim majority nation in the world. I believe that Islam is a very misunderstood and often misrepresented religion; as the goal of the Fulbright is to increase global understanding and awareness, this seemed like the perfect location to work in."

She is looking forward to traveling to different islands of Indonesia which have their own customs. And, she said, she is really looking forward to getting to know her students. A 2007 graduate of Fairfield, Courtney has been working on a master's degree in secondary education at Northeastern University and did a teaching practicum in the Boston Public School system where she taught high school English for four months.

"I love working with high school students, and I can't wait to meet them," she said. She is planning a pen pal project to connect students in Indonesia with students in the United States and says, "I can't wait to see what kinds of relationships the students will form with their peers on the other side of the world."

Courtney leaves for her Fulbright on July 30 and will return the end of May, 2009. Her plans then are to complete her master's - she has two classes left - and to find a job as a high school English teacher. "My goal with teaching is to bring an international focus into the classroom. I believe that education should be about teaching students to be independent thinkers and to think on a global level."

The other Fairfield graduates awarded Fulbrights this year are:

Kathleen Bakarich, of Clifton, N.J., an accounting major, who will conduct research and take classes in international accounting and European Union business in Frankfurt, Germany;

Ceylan Conger, from Kensington, Md., a politics major and art history minor, who will do research in Turkey on The Role of Women in the Modern Art Movement;

Michael Davis, from Feeding Hills, Mass., who will conduct research in Brazil on the Environmental Impact of Ethanol Production;

Michael Meehan, from Holland, Pa., an economics major, who will research The Finance of Small Enterprises in Germany;

André Moraes, of Monroe, Conn., a finance major, who has an English Teaching Assistantship in Germany;

Matthew Ryder, of Hamden, Conn., a philosophy and individually designed major, who will be in China conducting research on "A Population's Chance for Assimilation Found within the Education of its Children";

Daniel Turco, from Upper Saddle River, N.J., an international studies/modern language (German) major, who has an English Teaching Assistantship in Germany; and

Alice Zapf, of Freehold, N.J., an international studies/German major, who will combine research into Austria's Role in International Politics with an English Teaching Assistantship.

Dr. Orin Grossman, academic vice president, said he couldn't be prouder of the students who set their goals high and then worked hard to achieve them. "These are very bright, inquisitive students who like a challenge. They are certainly a credit to our university." He also commended the faculty who so generously gave of their time and expertise as the students went through the demanding process and Associate Dean Miriam Gogol, who oversaw the Fulbright process on behalf of the University.

Fairfield University students have been awarded a total of 53 Fulbright Scholarships in the last 16 years.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647,

Posted on July 28, 2008

Vol. 41, No. 18

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