Four Fairfield University students win Fulbright Scholarships for the 2003-2004 academic year


Four Fairfield University graduates have been chosen to receive Fulbright Scholarships this year. Another two have won French Government Teaching Assistantships.

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.

Fairfield University students have been extremely successful in garnering Fulbrights. "Our continued success in Fulbright awards is a great tribute to our students and to the faculty and administration who mentor them," said Orin Grossman, Ph.D., academic vice president at Fairfield University. "Cultivating an international and global perspective is an important part of the mission of Fairfield University, and I am proud of our students' achievement in this area."

"As always, the application process for the grants was extremely competitive and we received thousands of excellent applications," said Mary Kirk, vice-president for student exchanges at the Institute of International Education, the organization that administers the annual competition for the grants. "We congratulate each of the winners, and are confident that all of the participants in this program have the drive, ability and potential to succeed as future leaders in their fields."

Two other Fairfield University students have won French Government Teaching Assistantships, which are funded by the Ministry of French Education and administered by the Institute of International Education.

Brian L. BeirneBrian L. Beirne, of Milford, Conn., was this year's recipient of Fairfield University's Bellarmine Medal, which goes to the student with the highest four-year academic standing. A double major in Finance and Information Systems in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, with a minor in Mathematics, Beirne has received numerous awards during his years at Fairfield, among them: the William G. McGowan Scholarship, which provided $21,000 toward his senior year tuition; the University Fellows Scholarship; the Gleason Award for highest academic standing; a research stipend to study private equity in the European Union; the Finance Award; the Martin Family Award in Information Systems and the Charles F. Dolan School of Business Award.

Beirne is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the international honor society for accredited business programs; Alpha Sigma Nu, the national Jesuit honor society; and Alpha Mu Gamma, the national foreign language honor society. Beirne won his Fulbright to study NAFTA trading issues, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, at Queen's University in Canada.

David A. GormanDavid A. Gorman of Boston, Mass., wanted to try something new when he came to Fairfield University four years ago, so he took up German. His interest led him to study the language at the University of Freiburg during a semester of his junior year. "I felt like the time there was kind of short," said Gorman, who then decided to apply for a Fulbright. Now, the double major in German and English will put both of his disciplines to work teaching English to German high school students in Saxony.

Germany is not the only international destination that Gorman visited during his time at Fairfield. His work in Campus Ministry took him to Haiti during his senior year for a service project. There he worked with Fairfield University graduate Doug Perlitz and the homeless children of Cap Haitien. During his years at Fairfield, Gorman also played the trumpet in the Fairfield University Orchestra and Fairfield University Band, and sang in the Glee Club.

Kimberly A. ReidyKimberly A. Reidy of Branford, Conn., knew she wanted to teach English in a foreign country, but she needed to find a program in a nation that didn't require her to speak their native tongue.

Reidy, who spent a semester of her junior year in Italy and the following summer backpacking throughout Europe, was also looking for a different cultural experience than that which she had obtained in Western nations. A Fulbright to Korea fulfilled all of those criteria. "I wanted something with an Eastern feel," Reidy said, "something different that I'd never really experienced."

Reidy, a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Tau Delta, completed a double major in English and art history with a minor in Italian Studies this year. During her years at Fairfield, Reidy played field hockey and wrote for the student newspaper, The Mirror. Following her year in Korea, Reidy is considering applying to graduate schools for a master's degree in art history.

Matthew P. SmylieMatthew P. Smylie of Glencoe, Ill., will spend next year testing and developing the next generation of infrared detectors at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany. The detectors have a variety of uses, said Smylie, the most exciting of which may be for high-powered telescopes that will be sent into orbit a decade from now. The infrared detectors can pick up many things that are invisible to the human eye, said Smylie, from "interstellar dust to the inside of galaxies to new planets."

The applications are exciting, but it's the hands-on laboratory work that really thrills Smylie, who has spent the last couple of years at Fairfield University working on the detectors with physics professor Nancy Haegel, Ph.D. Smylie spent a year in Germany before coming to Fairfield University, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. Smylie majored in physics and German and minored in math. Following his year in Garching, Smylie would like to study physics at the graduate level.

Laura R. BeauregardLaura R. Beauregard, of Sudbury, Mass., wanted to teach in France because after spending her junior year in Normandy and Brittany, she knew she wanted to go back. "The culture just fascinates me," said Beauregard, who said she likes the creativity of the French and their history. "I like how they're very, very proud of their culture."

Beauregard will spend next year teaching English to 5 to 7 year old French students in Toulouse through a French Government Teaching Assistantship.

Beauregard has tutored several students in French, and served as a teaching assistant in Fairfield University's Oral Practice Session program. A member of Sigma Iota Rho, the International Studies honor society, Beauregard would ultimately like to study international affairs at the graduate level, possibly in France, or attend law school for international law.

Kelly J. ComiskeyKelly J. Comiskey of Cutchogue, N.Y., first became interested in France when she studied the language in high school. Comiskey spent her sophomore year in France, studying at the Université de Caen in Normandy. There, she fell in the love with the country, and would have gone back in her junior year had it not been for September 11.

Through the French Government Teaching Assistantship, Comiskey will spend next year teaching English to students and/or French English teachers. She's had plenty of experience in that area, serving two years as a teaching assistant in Fairfield University's Oral Practice Session program. "I love the culture and the language," said Comiskey, a double major in French and International Studies.

Comiskey, who this year was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, would ultimately like to further her education, possibly going to law school for international law, a subject she first took up at Caen.

"It is a pleasure to work with students who take their academic challenges seriously, who push themselves to try new things and who are open to other cultures and ways of thinking," said Katherine Kidd, Ph.D., director of the International Studies program at Fairfield University. "The Fulbright applicant group does all of those things."

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

Posted on July 2, 2003

Vol. 35, No. 318a