Four Fairfield students selected for Fulbright Scholarships

Four more Fairfield University students have been selected and recommended by the U.S. Selection Committee to receive J. William Fulbright Scholarships for study and research abroad. The final approval on their selection is expected by June and is contingent on U.S. funding and agreement by the host country.

In the past four years, eight Fairfield applicants were awarded Fulbright Scholarships for study and research in Sri Lanka, Morocco, Bolivia, Hungary, Solomon Islands, Malta, South Korea and El Salvador.

The four newly recommended students and their host countries are: Daniel Cook '96, Chile; Jun Jae '97, South Korea; Eric Roland '97, Uruguay; and Christhy Vidal '97, Argentina.

The Fulbright Scholarship was created by Congress in 1946 to promote understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges and the students were chosen through a national competition. Fairfield's participation was organized again this year by Dr. Beverly Kahn, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who was also the mentor for the applicants. She noted, "Today the Fulbright program is the U.S. government's premier scholarship program. Approximately, 4,500 students compete each year for the 700 awards."

Daniel Cook, a 1996 Fairfield graduate from Storrs, Conn., now living in Boston, plans to study the Chilean wine industry which has powered that nation's continued growth in international trade. Chile is the Southern Hemisphere's largest exporter of fruits and the world's 10th largest wine producer. Since 1987, when a democratic government took office, over 25,000 acres of new vineyards have been planted. Cook will analyze the industry in conjunction with Taller N.I.C.E., an international trade association, and will take courses at the Catholic University of Valparaiso and at the Universidad Adolfo Ibanez de Vina del Mar. He hopes to continue his studies later for an MBA in international business and focus on Latin America.

Since graduating from Fairfield last year with a major in English and a minor in International Studies, Cook has been employed as a market research assistant for Abt Associates Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., focusing on Latin America and Africa. Cook noted that during his studies in Chile, "I was able to put into practice some of the knowledge and intercultural communication methods that I accumulated at Fairfield. While studying in another country," he added, "It is clear that the value of learning is not all about textbook and theory -- the true learning often comes in your interaction with the local people and the gained perspective you receive as your journey comes to an end."

Jae Jun came with his mother to the United States as a five-year-old boy and they settled in Jersey City, N.J. Although he adjusted to this new culture and language, he said, "My mother always insisted that I should never forget my roots - my native land, traditions and family."

Included in those traditions were stories about his grandfather, a physician who died at the age of 38. As a result of those stories, Jae was encouraged to apply for and win a Fulbright to conduct research on drug dependency and neurotoxicity in Korea at the Toxicological Research Institute in Seoul. He will also pursue course work at Seoul National University. He becomes the first foreign citizen to be accepted by the toxicological institute.

At Fairfield, Jae is pre-med with a psychology major and a chemistry minor. He has been on the Dean's List, a member of the Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Med National Honor Society, the Asian Students Association, Biology Society, Psychology Society, played basketball and football in intramural sports and is a disc jockey for WVOF, the student station.

Eric Roland, a senior from of North Attleboro, Mass., is an Arts and Sciences major in international studies with minors in economics, marketing and Spanish. Eric has been an intern on campus as a market researcher in the Center for Global Competitiveness and in graphic arts at the campus Media Center.

He has been a Mission Volunteer in Ecuador working with impoverished families, and in Spain where he spent a semester in Seville during his junior year.

For his Fulbright project, he will study "The role of Uruguay in MERCOSUR (a trade bloc comprised of Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay)" analyzing the economic and political viability of Uruguay with the South American regional trade bloc. He will also take courses at the Catholic University of Uruguay. He noted that Uruguay has been undergoing rapid liberalization and he plans to research Uruguay's economic role in comparison with its neighbors.

Christhy del Milagro Vidal, a January 1997 graduate and a resident of East Hartford, Conn., was born in Peru and came to the U.S. at the age of 4. She said her family arrived in Hartford and aspired to the American dream of creating a better life. She recalls the turning point for her was when she discovered the tiny two-room children's library, Wickham Memorial Library, where "books spurred my curiosity and love for literature." At Fairfield, Christhy completed a double major in politics and Spanish and spent the spring semester of her junior year studying in Argentina.

Now she will return to South America to research "Redemocratization in Argentina: Grassroots Initiatives." She was invited to enroll in courses and conduct research at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), an international think tank created by UNESCO. She will also take courses at the University of Buenos Aires.

Christhy seeks to analyze the ways Argentina has built popular support for its new democratic system which started in 1983 after years as as one of the world's most repressive regimes. Christhy plans to go on to earn a Ph.D. in comparative politics with a concentration on Latin America and then teach at the college level.

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

Posted on April 1, 1997

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