Student and professor awarded Fulbright Fellowships in Norway

Kurt Eilhardt, a senior classical and medieval studies major at Bates College, was recently awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study medieval Nordic culture and the introduction of Christianity to Norway at the University of Oslo in 2002.

Eilhardt is thrilled at the opportunity though less thrilled that his time at Bates running short. “I’m annoyed, actually, that I have to graduate,” Eilhardt said. “I love learning about new things that I haven’t been exposed to yet, and I really think that’s what happened for me at Bates.”

Like many Bates alumni, his graduation won’t mark the end of his connections with Bates; his sister, Britt, has been accepted to the next year’s incoming class of 2005, Bates’ sesquicentennial class.

A native of East Brunswick, N.J., Eilhardt often visited Maine as a child with his family. He chose Bates over other regional schools, he says, because he liked the people and felt it was a place he could be himself. Eilhardt spent his junior year at Oxford in Bates’ junior-year abroad program.

Eilhardt thought he’d study German and political science before he came to Bates, but it took a while before he settled on his major. He’s been impressed with the level of passion his professors have had for their work, particularly with Margaret Imber, assistant professor of classical and medieval studies, and his senior honors thesis adviser, Michael Jones, professor of history. Eilhardt’s just completed thesis was a never-before translated Latin text written by an eighth-century monk called the Venerable Bede, a theologian, philosopher, historian and scientist who lived in northern England.

Eilhardt’s Fulbright path will follow Bates Assistant Professor of Biology Will Ambrose Jr. to the University of Oslo. Ambrose, working on a Fulbright Faculty Scholarship, has spent the last year in Norway studying Arctic sea-floor ecology.

Ambrose is now completing research on the relationships between processes occurring on the seafloor and in the overlying water and how they might contribute to global warming.

Last year, Ambrose accompanied two students on a month-long senior-thesis research project aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Polar Sea to the ice-covered Chukchi Sea, northeast of Alaska. Ambrose, the students and two other researchers studied the diversity of single-cell ice algae, the distribution of ice algae in ice-core samples and whether sea floor-based organisms consume ice algae.

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