MHC Fulbrights take flight.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 11:30am

By Keely Savoie

When Flynn Vickowski ’14 got the news that she had been offered a Fulbright grant, she and her mother were on a road trip in western Australia.

“It was 6:30 in the morning when I found out,” Vickowski said. “I was so excited I started screaming and yipping, sitting there on my bed of cushions in the back of our little camper van.”

The Fulbright Program, which operates in more than 160 countries worldwide, is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the US government. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Vickowski was one of five Mount Holyoke students and alumnae who were offered one of Fulbright’s prestigious grants.

She intends to study the native spectacled bear population in Peru to determine the population size, range, and likelihood of bear-human conflict, which is a threat to the vulnerable species.

“It’s one part science and one part cultural research,” Vickowski said.

The next generation of Fulbright-funded work around the globe

Candice Whitney ’15 also was offered a research/study grant, which she will use to study how North African businesswomen in Bologna, Italy, define and determine success in the pursuit of their professional goals.

Rosalie Shays ’16, Ashira Pelt ’15, and Lauren Darby ’09 were offered grants to teach English in Thailand, Malaysia, and Germany respectively.

Shays, a licensed teacher and psychology and education major, said she wanted to teach in Thailand to apply her teaching skills to an entirely different educational system.  

“It’s so different there,” she said. “I’m really excited to experience a new culture and educational setting.”

Two undergraduate students, Elaine Hartman ’18 and Renee Pelletier ’19, were selected to attend Fulbright summer institutes in the United Kingdom.

The monthlong programs offer US students the chance to study in the UK. Hartman, a history major, will explore medieval culture and history.

“I focus mainly on US history, so I’m excited to get the opportunity to study European history in the setting where it was lived,” she said.

The fellowships are an opportunity for Mount Holyoke students to engage in the greater world, noted Christine Overstreet, national fellowship advisor at Mount Holyoke.

“The fellowships provide the chance for our students to be cultural ambassadors all over the world, and to learn from those cultures as well,” she said.

Ready to take flight? Start here.