Alicia Zapf of Freehold awarded Fulbright Scholarship to Austria


One of a record-setting 9 Fulbrights at Fairfield University

Image: Alicia ZapfAlicia Zapf of Freehold, N.J., has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, the most prestigious international scholarship awarded by the U.S. government, to conduct research in Austria on "Austria's Role in International Politics" and work in an English Teaching Assistantship. Alicia is one of nine recent Fairfield University graduates selected for the Fulbright, setting a record that nearly doubles the university's previous record of five. Before this stellar class, the university already held the most Fulbrights among master's granting universities across the country for two of the last three years.

Alicia Zapf began studying German as a freshman at Fairfield and found she enjoyed it so much, she combined it with her studies in international relations for a double major. A love for the language, combined with seven months of studying abroad in Germany during her junior year, and a desire to reconnect with her German ancestry, led her to apply for a Fulbright.

She was drawn to Austria, she said, and "specifically the city of Vienna for its legacy in international relations. Many people, when thinking of the great diplomatic centers of Europe consider Geneva or the Hague, but Vienna is equally, if not more important." As examples, Alicia points to Vienna's "rich history as the gateway city to the East and its neutral status after World War II that allowed international agencies such as the UN, the IAEA and the OSCE, among others, to set up operations within the city.

In Austria she will be combining a research project on Austria's role in international politics with an English Teaching Assistantship. Among the faculty who advised her were Dr. Eileen Wilkinson, who had studied in Austria, and Dr. Iris Bork Goldfield, originally from Hamburg, Germany.

"Not only will I be learning through living in Austria," Alicia said, "but I will also be teaching others about my country, customs, and policies. This exchange of ideas, which is the goal of the Fulbright program, I believe, is essential to the practice of international relations today." Following her Fulbright, Alicia looks forward to pursuing a graduate degree and working in international affairs area.

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;

Courtney Pelletier, of Westminster, Mass., an art history major, who has an English Teaching Assistantship in Indonesia;

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"; and

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

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. 10

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