Three Fairfield graduates awarded Fulbrights

Two other grads named for programs in Russia and France

Three members of Fairfield University's Class of 2001 have been selected for Fulbright awards by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. They are: Angela Scardina of Kittanning, Pa., for Austria; Julia Tsisin of New Haven, Conn., for Russia; and Suzanne Uzzilia of Acra, N.Y., for Korea. The three bring to 26 the number of Fulbrights awarded to Fairfield University graduates since 1993.

In addition, Cristen Lee Duncan of Westford, Mass., was selected for the Russian-US Young Leadership Fellows for Public Service Program, which is administered by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), and Sharon Rusconi of Braintree, Mass., was selected for a teaching assistantship in France, awarded by the Centre International D'Etudes Pedagodiques (International Center for Pedagogical Studies).

Angela ScardinaAngela Scardina will be participating in the U.S. Teaching Assistantship Program that the Fulbright Commission coordinates in conjunction with the Austrian Ministry of Education.

While at Fairfield, Angela participated in a research project that focused on the relationship between syntax and cognition by comparing German speaking with English speaking subjects. As a result, she was a co-author of a research paper presented at the International Academy of Linguistics, Behavioral and Social Sciences in Orlando, Fla. Last summer she completed a practicum in Leipzig, Germany, at Max Planck Institute for Cognitive Neuropsychology. In addition, she has completed an internship at Haskin's Laboratory, a Yale-related language research center.

Angela was elected to Alpha Mu Gamma, the National Foreign Language Honor Society, received the prestigious Frank Bukvic German scholarship, and was a member of the University Glee Club for four years. She graduated with a major in psychology and a double minor in modern languages (German) and religious studies.

Julia TsisinJulia Tsisin will be studying criminal law reform in the Russian Federation. She plans to explore the role of defense attorneys, the right to counsel, evidentiary rules and due process of law in modern Russia, by contrasting newly implemented principles in Russian criminal law since1992 with the Soviet legal standards and practices.

Julia and her family moved to the United States from the Soviet Union when she was 13. At Fairfield she majored in history and double-minored in legal studies and Russian and Eastern European Studies. She returned to Russia twice during the summers of 1996 and 1998 and studied at Regent's College in London during the spring semester of her junior year. In addition, Julia interned at different divisions of the Connecticut Office of the Public Defender and at the United States District Court.

Suzanne UzziliaSuzanne Uzzilia, an English major with a minor in education, will be teaching English in Korea at the secondary level. She was a University Fellows Scholar and a Dean's List student at Fairfield, where she was in the Honors Program, and studied at Regent's College in London during the spring semester of her junior year.

Suzanne's teaching experience is surprisingly extensive. It includes substitute teaching for kindergarten through twelfth grade in all subjects, interning as a bilingual teacher in an elementary school, serving as a tutor/therapist for an autistic child and reading for a visually-impaired college student.

She served with the Appalachian Volunteer Corps, Hunger Cleanup, the Sunshine Kids and the McGivney Center and was president of Circle K. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, an international English honor society.

The U.S. Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946, immediately after World War II, to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges. Senator J. William Fulbright, sponsor of the legislation, saw it as a step toward building an alternative to armed conflict. Today the Fulbright Program continues to enable U.S. citizens to gain international competence in an increasingly interdependent world.

Cristen L. DuncanUnder the IREX Young Leaders Fellowship, Cristen L. Duncan of Westford, Mass., will be studying the Russian political system and analyzing the influence that Stalin has in the current political climate in Russia at The International Institute of Economics, Law and Management in Nizhny Novgorod, the third largest city in Russia. As part of the fellowship, she will be volunteering 10 hours a week in an area related to her studies and next summer she will be doing an internship.

Following her first year at Fairfield, Cristen took part in Fairfield's summer study program in St. Petersburg, Russia. Awarded a National Security Education Program scholarship, she spent the fall semester of her junior year studying in Moscow where she worked with ACDI/VOCA, a U.S. non-profit agricultural assistance organization.

An intern for the Russian and East European Studied Department at Fairfield, Kristen has worked for the last three years with exchange students from the former Soviet Republics, helping them to acclimate to academic life in the United States.

She was a driving force behind the establishment of an Amnesty International Chapter at Fairfield and last year was inducted into Sigma Iota Rho, the international studies honor society.

Dr. Beverly Kahn, acting dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Fairfield, explained that Cristen Duncan's type of grant was established during the Cold War when Russia instituted the IREX Young Leadership Fellows for Public Service Program as a way to send scholars to do research in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. They are comparable, she said, to the Fulbright, and continue to today, even though Russia has joined the Fulbright program.

Sharon RusconiSharon Rusconi of Braintree, Mass., was awarded a teaching assistantship in France, by the Centre International D'Etudes Pedagodiques (International Center for Pedagogical Studies).

A double major in International Studies and French, she studied French for six years before entering Fairfield. She has continued French language studies and taken seminars on Haiti's culture and contemporary French theatre. She taught French at Fairfield Preparatory School during an internship in her junior year and was the recipient of the Crouteau Scholarship in French.

At Fairfield, Sharon has been a volunteer for Head Start, Hunger Cleanup and the Sunshine Kids and was named to Alpha Mu Gamma, the National Foreign Language Honor Society.

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

Posted on July 15, 2001

Vol. 36, No. 17

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