Mount Holyoke Students Win Fulbrights

Monday, May 13, 2013 - 10:15
Ariel Lantz '13 and Rachel Schmidt '13

Three seniors and an alumna have earned Fulbright scholarships, rounding out a successful awards season for Mount Holyoke students.

"All of our winners this year had a compelling motivation to teach or study in the country they selected and worked tirelessly to perfect their essays,” said Christine Overstreet, MHC’s national fellowships and graduate school advisor. “Most of all, each student expressed her hopes and intentions in a creative and personal way.”

Ariel Lantz '13, an international relations major, will teach English at a university in Morocco. She also plans to explore the country’s education system at the primary and secondary levels and work with the Middle East-North Africa Writing Centers Alliance to help expand its work in Morocco.

“I had to read the [Fulbright Program’s] email three times just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating,” said Lantz. “I was overjoyed, relieved, and, more than anything else, so thankful to the people who supported me in the application process and believed in me, even when I did not.”

Rachel Schmidt '13, a philosophy and German studies double major, will teach English at a middle school in Germany. Schmidt, who began taking German studies courses as a first-year student, spent her junior year studying at the University of Leipzig.

“I couldn't believe it at first,” said Schmidt. “After studying in Germany, I am very excited to return as an English teaching assistant.”

Linnea Johnson '13, an Asian studies and geography major, will teach English in Taiwan. The Fulbright award is the latest recognition for Johnson, who earned a Critical Language Scholarship and a Boren Scholarship in 2011 to study in China.

"I'm so happy to have been given the opportunity to spend a year in Taiwan,” she said. “I’m excited to try to make learning English as rewarding for my students as learning Chinese has been for me."

Emily Usher Shrair ’08 has been granted an award from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to pursue a master’s degree in gender and development at the University of Sussex in England.

At the University of Sussex, Shrair plans to examine barriers to the participation of socially marginalized women in the process of slum-upgrading, an area of study inspired by her experience as a Davis Projects for Peace grant recipient while studying at Mount Holyoke.

Since graduating from MHC as a gender studies and international relations major, Shrair has worked as a grant writer for several nonprofit organizations. After completing her Fulbright study, she plans to work as an intermediary between grassroots women's organizations and policy makers in cities throughout the developing world.

The Fulbright award for study in the United Kingdom is the most competitive of all Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards. This year 706 students applied for 46 awards to the United Kingdom, with only one of those designated for the University of Sussex.

Additionally, two MHC students have been accepted to the Fulbright Summer Institutes to study in the United Kingdom. Gabrielle Lachtrup '16 will participate in a six-week cultural and academic program at the universities of Cardiff, Bangor, and Aberystwyth in Wales. Julia Spector '15 will spend four weeks at Durham University, where she will study medieval theory and participate in an archaeological project focused on the northern edges of the Roman Empire.

Several other MHC students have been awarded alternate status and will receive final decisions from the Fulbright Program during the summer.