At least 11 Yale seniors accepted Fulbright Scholarships this year, International Education and Fellowships Program administrators announced Friday.
Since the awards are announced on a rolling basis by destination country, scholarship applicants hoping to go to the United Kingdom, Kazakhstan and the Dominican Republic have not yet received a decision, IEFP Fellowships Program Director Linda De Laurentis said. This year, 50 Yale students applied for the scholarship, down from a record 62 last year. The Fulbright is the largest American program offering opportunities to study, research and teach abroad.
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Yale winners will be traveling to at least 10 different countries, pursing projects that range from historical and anthropological research to teaching English.
Last year, Yale had the second most Fulbright recipients — 28 — among U.S. research institutions, topped only by the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, with 37.
Yale is almost always among the top five institutions nationwide for Fulbright winners, De Laurentis said. She attributed this in part to high student interest in the fellowship, combined with Yale’s focus on international exposure.
The Fulbright can be used for a range of activities including independent study and research, laboratory research, internships or teaching assistant positions.
“That’s the beauty of it: There’s lots of variety and diversity,” De Laurentis said. “It also gives you a break.
“I sometimes call it a mental health year,” she quipped.
Fulbright winner David Shapiro ’08 plans to travel to Bangladesh to study the feasibility of securitizing, or pooling and repackaging, microfinance loans in the United States. Shapiro, who first became interested in microfinance loans during a previous trip to Bangladesh, said he hopes to get a firsthand perspective of how the market for the loans functions during his time there.
“I think you need to spend real time out in the villages to get a good understanding of what’s going on there,” he said. “There’s a lot tied to village culture that might not be accounted for in economists’ models.”
Lauren Hallett ’08 will be living in Perth, Australia, working on a restoration ecology project as part of a group at Murdoch University. The group’s investigation of how to repair Banksia woodland shrub, which is unique to Australia, touches on Hallett’s interest in how climate change impacts the realistic restoration goals environmentalists can set, she said. She will spend a considerable amount of time becoming familiar with the shrub and its habitat, she said, but part of the project will also likely take place in the lab.
Juli Huang ’08 will travel to Turkey to pursue independent research on how multinational organizations adapt — or fail to adapt — to local cultures. By visiting NGOs in cities across Turkey, Huang hopes to look at whether organizations build upon local experience and how this affects the impact they are able to have on society. This research, a continuation of her senior thesis on organizational anthropology, will give her a good background for pursuing a career in social entrepreneurship, she said.
Jamie McSpadden ’08 will conduct research in Germany on the history of street renaming in Berlin. Since streets in Germany are often named after popular political figures of the time, many streets still bear the names of popular Nazi and Communist party figures. As the streets are gradually renamed, McSpadden said, some popular resistance results.
“History doesn’t just happen in a vacuum,” McSpadden said. “Rather, history is interpreted by people living in the present.
“My project will examine how the memory of past regimes is or is not still preserved in the built environment,” he added.
Lea Krivchenia ’08 will use her Fulbright to examine how Western and non-Western feminism affect peace activism in Sri Lanka. The research, which is a continuation of her senior thesis for the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies major, will focus on feminist responses to the civil war in Sri Lanka, she said.
Other Fulbright winners will travel to Chile, Russia, Spain, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
The U.S. Department of State has sponsored the Fulbright Program since 1946.