Students Receive Fulbright Awards

With Fulbrights awarded to six Mount Holyoke students, this has been a banner year for the College when it comes to the prestigious international scholarship program.

“This year's group of Fulbright winners once again speaks to Mount Holyoke's preparation of bright and worldly women leaders, and to the diverse, driven, and adventurous students who attend the college,” said Elizabeth Mandeville, MHC’s national fellowships and graduate school advisor.

The five seniors who have accepted the award will teach in classrooms and undertake research projects in India, South Korea, Brazil, Taiwan, and Sweden. See photos of all the awardees.

Fay Gartenberg '12, a film studies major from Seattle, Washington, will teach English in Kolkata through the Fulbright-Nehru English teaching assistantship. She will also conduct research on conceptions and practices of media literacy education in West Bengal, within the school system and through community and youth-based initiatives.

“I’m overwhelmed and overjoyed,” said Gartenberg. “I honestly couldn't believe it at first.”

Last summer, Gartenberg interned at Kid Powered Media, a youth media empowerment organization in New Delhi. At MHC, she was a mentor in the Speaking, Arguing, and Writing Program and wrote for the student newspaper MH News.

Courtney McLachlan '12 (pictured), an Asian studies major from Westford, Massachusetts, will be an English teaching assistant in South Korea. McLachlan spent her junior year studying at Yonsei University in Seoul.

“I am very excited to have received the award,” she said. “I love learning languages and I can't wait to bring this experience and passion to my classroom in Korea.”

Hilary Pollan '12, a sociology major from Raleigh, North Carolina, will teach English at a university in Brazil. She will also study and volunteer for adult literacy and popular education programs.

“I am honored beyond words to receive this award and am just really looking forward to teaching, new cultural exchanges, and learning more about Brazil's progressive community and education politics,” she said.

Over the past four years, Pollan has volunteered for adult basic education programs and studied abroad in Chile. She recently received a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace Award (link) that she will use to start an adult reading program in Holyoke.

“I hope to apply what I learn about adult literacy and popular education back to the United States after the Fulbright, to think more about what can be done in our schools to encourage community and civic engagement,” she said.

Sabine Scherer '12, an English major from San Francisco, will be an English teaching assistant in an elementary school in Yilan County in Taiwan. She will work in classrooms and with local English teachers on curriculum development.

“As a teacher, I believe that understanding how to learn is the most valuable thing for my students to take away,” she said. “If they know how to learn on their own, they can do anything.”

While at MHC, Scherer served as a mentor for the Speaking, Arguing, and Writing Program, taught in local schools, wrote for MH News, and served on the board of the Alumnae Quarterly magazine.

Rebekah Wieland '12, a biochemistry major and mathematics minor from Lansdale, Pennsylvania, will study gender differences in cardiovascular disease and health at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Her research will investigate how preeclampsia, a disorder characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy, affects cardiovascular disease later in life.

Wieland, who has been learning Swedish in case she received the award, recently won the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) undergraduate poster competition for the nucleic acids division. She was also the coxswain on MHC’s crew team for four years.

“The Karolinska Institute was the first institute in the world to have a center dedicated to gender in medicine,” she said. “Through my Fulbright, I want to learn more about this new area of research.“

Rachael Ragalye '12, an anthropology major, also received a Fulbright, but declined it to participate instead in the Japanese Exchange and Teaching program.

“I am very proud of this year's applicants – those who won grants and those who applied,” said Mandeville. “Preparing an application like this one takes an enormous amount of work, self-reflection, and ambition. It's a delight to see these students have success.”