Five Fairfield University students win Fulbright Scholarships

Five Fairfield University students win Fulbright Scholarships

Five Fairfield University graduates have been chosen to receive Fulbright Scholarships for the 2006-07 academic year, tying the record set in 2000 for the number of Fairfield students to receive the honor.

The Fulbright Grant is the most prestigious international 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, work or teaching. A primary goal of the scholarship is to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and other countries.

The five 2006 graduates who won Fulbrights are: Alexis Cedeno of Valley Stream, N.Y.; Jessica Martin of Doylestown, Penn.; Annie McKittrick of Greenwich, Conn.; Vivian E. Rodriguez of West Orange, N.J.; and Laura Woelflein of Nashua, N.H.

The five new winners bring to 39 the number of Fairfield University students who have been awarded Fulbrights since 1993. "We are proud of the caliber of our undergraduates and of our faculty committee members who have made this large number of awards happen. In 2004-05 Fairfield was ranked number one nationally in its category of university (non-research master's degree institution) in its number of Fulbrights awarded," said Miriam Gogol, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and coordinator of the Fulbright program at Fairfield.

Fairfield students interested in applying for a Fulbright go through an intensive process of developing and refining a proposal with the help of the Fairfield University Fulbright faculty committee. Initially, eight Fairfield University students were recommended by the Institute of International Education (IIE) National Screening Committee.

"Fairfield's extraordinary success in post-baccalaureate Fulbrights is a great tribute both to our wonderful students and to a great team of administrators and faculty members who guide their efforts," said Orin Grossman, Ph.D., Fairfield's academic vice president. "Students have developed successful proposals with intensive mentoring and concern for the individual student that is the hallmark of a Fairfield education."

Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, agreed, saying the Fulbright process ties in with Fairfield's Jesuit tradition of working toward social justice and fusing living and learning. "From their earliest moments at Fairfield - sometimes even before they arrive! - our Fulbright student applicants contemplate ways in which they may apply their learning to promote international understanding," he said.

The 2006 Fulbright recipients have a wide array of interests they will be studying.

Image: Alexis Cedeno Alexis Cedeno will travel to the United Arab Emirates, where she will be affiliated with the University of the United Arab Emirates. She will be working on immigration research in this country comprised of 85 percent migrants. Cedeno will research the UAE's immigration policy, its formation, the country's migrant population and its impact on the economy. Cedeno is no stranger to the Middle East, having spent a semester abroad studying Arabic and politics at the University of Jordan. A member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society, and Sigma Iota Rho, the international studies honor society, Cedeno was on the Fairfield University Dean's List. While at Fairfield, she served as an assistant to the associate chair in International Studies and completed internships at the Red Cross, Central Connecticut Coast YMCA, BarQ Research Co. in Amman, Jordan, and the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport.

Upon return to the States, Cedeno plans to pursue a master's degree in International Affairs, take the Foreign Service exam and embark on a career working with immigrants through the U.S. Department of State.

Image: Jessica Martin Jessica Martin will study the resurgence of civil society after years of suppression in China, where she spent a semester abroad at The Beijing Center at the University of International Business and Economics in 2005. Martin was so intrigued by the country and its culture, she stayed through the summer as an English tutor, declared herself an Asian Studies minor and wrote a thesis examining the emergence of Chinese environmental NGOs (non-governmental organizations).

Martin, who graduated in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in International Studies and Economics, also completed a summer study abroad program in India, conducting field research and participating in South Asian Studies seminars. At Fairfield, she was vice president of the Model United Nations Club, was inducted into three honor societies, and completed internships with Bank of America in New York City and a money management firm in Fairfield.

After her Fulbright year, Martin is considering working in journalism before attending graduate school.

Image: Annie McKittrick Annie McKittrick's proposal deals with peacekeeping techniques. She will travel to The Lester B. Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, a non-profit organization in Ottawa, Canada that conducts education, training and research on all aspects of peace operations and works closely with the United Nations. McKittrick, an international relations major, believes the United States might benefit from research at the site, which is named for a former prime minister of Canada who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957. McKittrick will be an intern with Claire Turenne-Sjolander, director of Political Science at the University of Ottawa, where she will take courses focusing on Canadian foreign policy, contemporary issues and international organizations.

While at Fairfield, McKittrick developed an interest in the international community, completing a project entitled "Justice and the Developing World" and taking a trip to Cuba in 2003. In 2004, she attended Oxford University, studying the crises in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Working on her capstone thesis, "Humanitarian Assistance: Constraints on NGOs and IGOs working in the former Yugoslavia," intensified her interest.

After her nine months in Canada, McKittrick plans to enroll in a doctoral program, possibly at Oxford, and study forced migration. She hopes to become a researcher at a non-profit organization, specializing in forced migration, peacekeeping and/or conflict resolution.

Image: Vivian Rodriguez Vivian Rodriguez , who was a double major in Spanish and Communication at Fairfield, received the Fulbright for an English teaching assistantship to Thailand. She will be teaching English to elementary and secondary school students at the Triam Udonsuksa School of the North in the Phitsanulok Province of Thailand.

While at Fairfield, Rodriguez completed internships with Bravo Network's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and Fox's "A Current Affair," editing, assisting production teams and submitting and researching story ideas. She also worked as an administrative assistant at a construction firm and a personal assistant in a New Jersey law office. She was on the Dean's List twice and was a member of the African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American Association (AHANA). She won student achievement awards in 2004 and 2005.

Her Fulbright year will not be her first year studying abroad: She completed coursework in history, literature, Art History and Italian culture and language during a spring semester in Florence, Italy in 2005. After her year in Thailand, Rodriguez hopes to pursue a career in broadcasting and journalism.

Image: Laura Woelflein Laura Woelflein will be an English teaching assistant within a migrant community in Germany. She hopes working with students from Turkey, Africa, Russian, Vietnam and other far-flung locales will help them better assimilate into German life and give her a better understanding of the cultures and concerns of people around the globe.

While at Fairfield, Woelflein, a history major with a double minor in education and German, studied abroad at the University of Freiburg, Germany, where she took courses in German politics and society. She also gained experience teaching, having volunteered with young immigrant children in a local daycare and student teaching in nearby Bridgeport, Conn. On campus, she worked as an usher and student house manager at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts and was a member of Ignatian Residential College, a program that integrates living and learning with a focus on Jesuit ideals.

Woelflein hopes to travel and study German literature during her Fulbright year, coming home to seek a position teaching German language and culture to American high school students.

The Fulbright Faculty Committee and Advisory Board and Associate Coordinator of the Fulbright Program Benedetta Maguire assisted the student applicants. The committee and board members are: Edward Dew, Politics; Alan Katz, Politics; Sharlene McEvoy, Dolan School of Business; Marie-Agnes Sourieau, Modern Languages and Literatures, Latin American Caribbean Studies; Phyllis Braun, Biology; Philip Greiner, School of Nursing; Wendy Kohli, Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions; Danke Li, History; Marcos Pedlowski, Fulbright Scholar; and Sister Julianna Poole, TESOL.

Posted On: 06-30-2006 10:06 AM

Volume: 38 Number: 255