Remarkable success as a producer of Fulbright Student awards continues for Bates College: Twenty-five Bates seniors and young alumni have received offers of the highly competitive fellowships for the 2019–20 academic year.
This year’s 25 Fulbright offers — 20 to graduating seniors and five to recent graduates — equals the most offers ever received by Bates.
Story update: February 2020
Of the 25 Fulbright Student grant offers reported in this story, 24 Bates awardees accepted the grants, placing Bates first among all U.S. liberal arts colleges in 2019-20.
Named a Top Producer of Fulbright Student awards for the last eight consecutive years, Bates was recognized in 2017–18 for having the most awards among all U.S. bachelor’s degree institutions.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. It sends Americans to dozens of countries to teach, study, or conduct research, promoting international understanding.
“This is another extraordinary year for Fulbright awards at Bates,” said Bates President Clayton Spencer. “These highly competitive fellowships provide graduates with immersive experiences across the globe. The success of our students in gaining these opportunities is a testament to the strength and breadth of the education they receive at Bates, the depth of their engagement in ideas and real-world problems, and the power of their relationships with faculty mentors.”
Many facets of a Bates education drive the college’s Fulbright success in many ways, including extensive study-abroad programs and opportunities for language study; community-engaged learning and teaching opportunities; faculty and staff mentoring; and ample opportunities for intercultural exchange.
In turn, Fulbright experiences become a springboard to other highly competitive graduate opportunities.
Following her 2016 graduation, Nicole Bermudez ’16 taught in Colombia under two consecutive Fulbright Student awards. Last year, she earned a prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship to fund her graduate work at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Bermudez says her Fulbright experience “made me a better candidate for graduate programs. I can contribute in many of my classes on Latin America because of my time in Colombia.”
Bermudez’ classmate Jamie Naso was also a Fulbright award winner for Colombia; he’s now a master’s student in medical science and public health at Boston University with medical school in his sights.
His experience teaching at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota sharpened his cultural competence, and volunteering for a public health organization reinforced the idea that “building relationships with patients is central to practicing medicine.”
Fulbright makes two types of student awards: Open Study/Research awards fund self-designed projects and work with advisers at universities abroad, while English Teaching Assistant awards place Fulbrighters in classrooms abroad. For 2019–20, five of Bates’ awardees have been offered research grants and the balance have been offered ETA awards.
Here are profiles of the 24 Bates Fulbright recipients who have accepted their award (one awardee has declined):
Fulbright U.S. Student Awards: Seniors
Zachary Anderson of Rochester, N.Y., a sociology major and double minor in education and chemistry, was offered an English Teaching Assistant award for Malaysia.
At Bates, Anderson was a dean’s list student in 2015, 2016, and 2017 as well as a Dana Scholar. He has held leadership positions in the Bates Outing Club and led two nature experiences for first-year students as part of their orientation to Bates.
Through the Bates education department and Harward Center for Community Partnerships, Anderson has amassed hundreds of hours of teaching experience in Lewiston, including service as a student teacher in high school chemistry, a teaching assistant at an elementary school, and a tutor for middle and high school students.
Working with young English language learners, Anderson has learned to “value creativity, flexibility, and patience in teaching, an approach that I’ll bring to my ETA classroom.” Outside the classroom, he looks forward to helping to “facilitate and run a soccer team, a community garden, or a hiking club.”
Anderson has traveled to Peru and several Asian countries. In 2018, he spent four months studying in Sri Lanka, where he took courses in religious and cultural studies, as well as the Sinhala and Tamil languages. This experience introduced Anderson to Asian Islam, which inspired him “to learn more about the religion and culture of Muslims.”
He adds, “I aim to create lasting connections with my Malaysian teaching colleagues and use these connections in my teaching upon return to the U.S. by creating dialogues about religion and ethnicity in the modern world.”
Aspiring to become a high school science teacher in Maine, Anderson plans to pursue a master’s degree in education after his Fulbright year. He says, “I plan to use my experiences from living in an Islamic culture to improve my cultural competency with Muslim students in the U.S., a skill particularly relevant to the communities I hope to work in.”
Emily Bowen ’19 of Pasadena, Calif., a psychology major with a minor in Spanish, was offered an English Teaching Assistant award for a university-level position in Brazil.
Bowen’s teaching experience includes four-month stints as a tutor for kindergartners in Lewiston through the America Reads America Counts program, and as an English teacher for ninth-graders at Lewiston High School. During a semester in Spain in 2018, Bowen had a part-time position teaching English to third-graders.
“I have a joy for teaching,” Bowen says. “I have learned that as long as you’re confident and calm, students will feel your energy and give it right back to you.”
At Bates, Bowen has served as a residence coordinator and junior advisor. She credits her time as a member of the residence life staff, which involves mentoring, program creation, and conflict resolution, with expanding her communication and problem-solving skills. The work has also, she says, provided “some of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.”
Dealing with conflict resolution, in particular, has been formative for her, Bowen says. “It’s inevitable that students will have conflicts big or small, between one another or with an assignment,” she says. “Through solid communication and one-on-one interactions, conflicts can be solved in all kinds of capacities.”
At Bates, Bowen has sung with and been an officer of the TakeNote a cappella ensemble. “I love to sing and make music,” she says, and outside the classroom in Brazil, “I plan to create collaborative music projects where I can teach and create songs with young kids in local schools or recreation centers.”
Growing up, Bowen took it seriously when her mother reminded her — frequently — that “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Now, after four years at Bates, “I have gained immense confidence in my convictions, beliefs, and self-esteem.”
After her Fulbright year, Bowen plans to attend graduate school and further her understanding of developmental psychology and educational policy.
Andrew Chen of Wayland, Mass., a double major in neuroscience and Spanish, was offered a Fulbright research grant for Spain.
Chen will work with Dr. Pedro Gambús at the Neuroimmunologic Response to Surgical Aggression and Anesthesia laboratory in Barcelona to investigate how certain patients may be predisposed to adverse outcomes after receiving anesthesia. He explains, “We hope to find a way to individualize anesthetic delivery for patients who are at risk of suffering negative postoperative effects.”
Chen will focus on patients who are considered frail — in this sense, a technical term referring to their bodies’ ability to stabilize its processes after a trauma such as surgery. Older patients are more typically frail, but certain conditions, such as over- or underweight, can cause frailty in younger persons as well.
Chen spent the past two summers as a research intern in the laboratory of doctors Patrick Purdon and Emery Brown at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. His experience there exposed him to research on correlations between age and responses to anesthesia.
His Fulbright research, Chen explains, will be “globally significant in furthering our understanding of factors that cause frailty in younger patients, as it could lead to preventative measures against accelerated brain aging as well as improved patient care.”
Outside of the lab, Chen plans on engaging with the medical community in Barcelona to learn about differences between practices there and in the U.S. He also hopes to continue with personal interests such as music and water polo.
A dean’s list student at Bates in 2016, 2017, and 2018, Chen has been musical director of the a cappella singing group TakeNote. He has visited several European nations as well as China.
Upon his return to the U.S., Chen plans to apply to medical school. He hopes to sustain his collaboration with Gambús.
Gillian Coyne of New York City, a double major in French and francophone studies and in rhetoric, film, and screen studies, was offered an English Teaching Assistant award for Luxembourg.
Coyne has appeared on the dean’s list since 2016. She received the Albion Morse Stevens Award for first-year excellence in foreign language and is a French language tutor in the Bates Academic Resource Commons.
Coyne has worked as an French-language interpreter, legal intern, and researcher at the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project in Lewiston. “Interpreting at ILAP has taught me that establishing a space where people feel secure is crucial to connecting with someone,” she says, “whether it be in the context of seeking asylum or with a student asking for help.”
She has also been a research intern at a law firm in Lewiston and a marketing intern at AFAR Media in New York City. In 2017, Coyne spent a semester in Morocco, where she studied journalism and stayed with a host family. She has also studied in Rwanda and France.
Coyne credits a high school teacher for her deep appreciation of French and cross-cultural exchange, saying “she redefined what teaching a language meant for me by showing the diversity of the francophone world and the relationships made possible through French.” Coyne wants to bring this “human-based” approach to her classroom in Luxembourg.
“Education is a two-way street,” she adds. “My hope is that I may also continue to learn first-hand about another culture and its languages during my time in Luxembourg.” She plans to enroll in a university course to study Luxembourg’s politics of migration, and will volunteer with asylum seekers.
Upon returning to the U.S., Coyne wants to work as a paralegal and interpreter at an NGO while studying for the LSAT. She hopes to earn a law degree and continue working with asylum seekers and refugees.
Lucy Faust of Piedmont, Calif., an economics major and minor in rhetoric, was offered an English Teaching Assistant award for Indonesia.
Faust has worked as a teacher’s assistant in first- and seventh-grade classrooms in Lewiston public schools. She has maintained a four-year mentoring relationship with a young person through Big Brothers Big Sisters, and has been the college’s BBBS coordinator at a local elementary school since 2017. She has also interned in advertising research and financial analysis.
Faust is captain of the Bates varsity swim team and a three-time NCAA qualifier. She has been a dean’s list student for much of her time at Bates.
In 2017, she worked in Australia for three months. She has also traveled to India, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, and Italy. “Every time I’ve gone abroad, I am out on the streets walking,” says Faust. By connecting to the hustle and bustle of wherever she is, “I get to know my neighbors and my neighborhood, as I walk many miles without even knowing it.”
Drawing from her teaching experiences in Lewiston, where she noticed her Somali students had difficulty learning English due to a “cultural, not intellectual gap,” Faust wants to create equity in her classroom in Indonesia. She wants her students to learn about languages, experiences, and traditions through stories.
In a country with high rates of drowning among rural children, Faust wants to bring her skills as a swim instructor to her Fulbright experience as well. “My holistic knowledge of swimming gives me an opportunity to teach water safety.”
After her Fulbright year, Faust wishes to work in tech or the nonprofit sector in a “space that values the relationship between technology and interactions between varieties of people.” She says, “I want to be proud to work for an organization that prioritizes diversity and the idea of bringing your ‘whole self’ to work every day.”
Sarah Freyd ’19 of Edmonds, Wash., a double major in French and francophone studies and in anthropology, was offered an English Teaching Assistant award for Senegal.
“As someone looking forward to sharing the experience of learning a new language with my students,” says Freyd, “I’ll bring curiosity, a strong work ethic, enthusiasm, and an open mind, as well as my interest in better understanding the languages and cultures of Senegal.”
A dean’s list student throughout her Bates career, Freyd has worked for three years in the college’s Academic Resource Commons, serving as both a French-language tutor and a peer writing and speaking assistant supporting a First Year Seminar.
“Successful peer education does not simply involve leadership,” she says. “Instead, I help my peers assess their own needs in order to strengthen their voices and become leaders of their own scholarship.”
Going back to Senegal, where she spent five months in 2018, “I will carry this model with me, whether I am facilitating peer learning amongst students, assisting a teacher in writing a curriculum, or volunteering in local English conversational groups.”
Freyd has taught English at the Lewiston Adult Learning Center and undertaken a variety of roles in a local afterschool program. Her summer 2017 experience as a learning coordinator at East African Community Services in Seattle, Freyd says, taught her “the immense value of implementing multifaceted approaches to education, where students engage deeply with the content, reach out to one another, and learn to love learning.”
Outside the classroom during her Fulbright year, Freyd plans to volunteer with organizations that support children’s growth, education, and well-being. A trained singer, “I look forward to finding fellow musicians and volunteering in spaces that utilize music as a means of cultural exchange,” she adds.
Upon her return to the U.S., Freyd will gain workplace experience with an organization involved in advocacy work and multicultural education.
Claudia Glickman ’19 of London, a double major in German and religious studies, was offered an English Teaching Assistant award for Germany.
Fluent in German, Glickman lived in Austria as a child and spent a semester studying in Freiberg, Germany. She’s excited about returning to Germany: “My love of education and the outdoors is mirrored in many parts of the German school system and lifestyle,” she says.
Glickman has complemented her outdoors and environmental work with teaching. In high school, she taught art and Hebrew to children. In summer 2018, she was an environmental educator for preschool-aged children. At Bates, she served as a German tutor in the Academic Resource Commons.
She has traveled extensively through Europe as well as in Canada, India, and Tanzania. “It was always fascinating to compare the atmosphere and landscape from one city to the next, and it sparked my desire to find ways of forming deeper connections with different cultures,” she says.
Her teaching and outdoor experience has taught Glickman to approach education with a goal of sparking engagement and excitement. “I’ve learned to stretch my creative thinking in order to turn any lesson into an exciting story or activity, and I will use this skill to teach English to German students,” she says.
Outside the classroom during her Fulbright year, she hopes to connect with the land and local residents by joining a local rowing club and working at a community garden or farm.
Glickman was a member of the rowing team all four years at Bates and captain in her senior year.
Upon her return, Glickman plans to earn a master’s degree and focus on outdoor education. “I believe that a year of immersion in German culture would provide me with a deeper appreciation for land stewardship, and I hope to share and spread those environmental values with children and peers in the U.S.,” she says.
Christopher Hassan ’19 of Framingham, Mass., a politics major and a minor in French and francophone studies and in history, has been offered an English Teaching Assistant award for Ivory Coast.
“I’m fascinated by the development of modern West African civil societies, particularly with regard to Islam and Francophone culture,” Hassan says. “I’ll gain long-term professional experience in West Africa and become better-prepared for graduate studies on its politics and history.”
As a junior, Hassan spent four months of 2018 studying in Senegal, where his experiences included a research internship in public health policy for the Global Research and Advocacy Group.
As a summer education intern for the United Nations Association of Greater Boston, Hassan developed lesson plans and taught weeklong classes on issues with an international bearing, such as climate change and indigenous rights.
In Ivory Coast, he says, “I’ll work with fellow teachers to run a Model United Nations club to teach students public speaking and international relations. Model UN has taught me about global affairs and cultures, and it’s one of the best ways to make learning a socializing moment for students.”
In the community, he adds, “I’ll work with mosques and churches to host events for Catholic and Islamic holidays, as well as gatherings to share how Americans celebrate these religions.”
At Bates, Hassan has been a dean’s list student and served as managing editor of news and editor of the politics and op-ed section for the campus newspaper. He has been active in Bates Student Action, a club that advocates for institutional and cultural change that addresses root causes of inequality and injustice.
After his Fulbright experience, Hassan will head for graduate school. “I plan to study political movements in the Francophone Islamic world, and the Ivorian colleagues I make will be invaluable in helping me build expertise on French West Africa.”
Sam Holmes of Middlebury, Vt., an English major and double minor in Spanish and education, was offered an English Teaching Assistant award for Spain.
Holmes was a dean’s list student in 2018 and has served as the men’s Ultimate Frisbee captain for four years. “That’s experience that I look forward to sharing with young people in Spain,” he says.
Holmes has amassed more than 120 hours working with students, including a large population of English language learners, in three Lewiston elementary schools. He also engaged with a diverse group of high school students as a teacher assistant at Philips Andover Academy in Andover, Mass., for five summer weeks.
At age 18, he spent nine weeks working as an assistant gym teacher in an elementary school in Costa Rica. “Improvisation and creativity became my go-to options, and helped me and the students communicate across our language gaps. This taught me the importance of having patience not only with the students but also with myself. It’s an important lesson that I’ll bring to my classroom in Spain.”
Holmes first visited Spain when he studied there for the fall semester of 2017. “The care and interest my host family showed for my family from home meant a lot to me and demonstrated the incredible compassion of the Spanish people,” he says. “I look forward for the opportunity to work with more great people from Spain in the classroom and learning as much as I can from the adults and the students.”
Holmes has also traveled to Hong Kong, Cambodia, Nicaragua, France, and the United Kingdom.
Outside of the classroom, Holmes wishes to volunteer in youth sports, such as basketball and Frisbee, and give music lessons. Upon returning to the U.S., he wishes to pursue a master’s degree in education, with an emphasis on reaching Spanish-speaking communities.
Joshua Klein of Williston, Vt., an environmental studies major, was offered a Fulbright Open Study/Research award to join research in Lima, Peru, examining the rise of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TGW) who use injectable drugs. The project is designed to combat HIV transmission and support individuals with marginalized identities who seek medical assistance.
HIV transmission and infection continue to be a global public health concern among MSM and TGW, Klein says. Peru is seeing a “concentrated epidemic of substance-use disorders in association with positive HIV diagnosis.”
His work will be guided by leading researchers Dr. Frederick Altice of the Yale School of Medicine and Dr. Jorge Sanchez of Lima-based Asociación Civil Impacta Salud y Educación (IMPACTA), Peru’s largest HIV/AIDS service organization.
Klein will monitor medical care and progress among newly diagnosed MSM and TGW. The goals of his project, “Injection Drug Use and the HIV Epidemic: Establishing Harm Reduction Policy and Practice Among MSM and TGW in Lima, Peru” are “compelling, attainable, and relevant to the HIV epidemic among MSM and TGW in Lima,” said Sanchez, a principal investigator with IMPACTA.
Outside his research, Klein will also work to expand community knowledge of harm reduction, healthy relationships, and individual well-being.
A dean’s list student at Bates, Klein designed his interdisciplinary major in environmental health, emphasizing the intersectional nature of individual and community health. He volunteered at a free health clinic in Lewiston; led outdoor trips during new-student Orientation; and was director of hikes and trips for the Bates Outing Club. As a junior, he studied in Morocco.
In 2018, Klein worked in New York City as an HIV/harm-reduction outreach intern for the Washington Heights Corner Project and as a peer advocate for individuals engaged in sex work at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
After his Fulbright year, Klein hopes to publish his findings in a scholarly journal and pursue graduate work in a dual-degree master’s of public health and doctor of medicine program.
Ariel Lee of Misawa, Japan, a neuroscience major and education minor, was offered an English Teaching Assistant award for South Korea.
Lee was born in the U.S. to a Korean-American father and Japanese mother, and lived in Japan for more than 10 years. “It is time for me to explore Korean culture and my Korean identity by immersing myself and learning from the people, the community, and the country,” she says.
In support of her education minor, Lee has worked as a teacher, teacher assistant, and tutor in Lewiston public schools and Tree Street Youth Alternative School Program. She worked at Maine Immigrant Refugee Services as an English tutor for adults and a youth counselor in after-school and summer programs.
“I was always interested in learning different pedagogies due to my own transition from Japanese public school to American private high school,” she notes. “However, my experiences working in the Lewiston community have been the largest influence on how I became more comfortable in my own teaching abilities and styles.”
“As an English Teaching Assistant in South Korea, I hope to become a mentor who cares and fosters each student’s growth in their own way,” she says.
For three weeks in 2014, Lee worked in Nepal, where she interacted with medical staff and patients and “had an immersive experience in building relationships with people at the hospital and the family-run hostels.”
Lee received a Hoffman Fellowship for summer research in 2018. She has been the coxswain for the rowing team throughout her time at Bates, and has served as an admission tour guide and Senior Fellow, a member of the Residential Life Staff, and as president of the Bates Christian Fellowship.
Upon returning to the U.S., Lee plans on going to graduate school to deepen her understanding of her experience in South Korea. “I am interested in increasing the opportunities for each individual to find and maximize their potential,” she says.
Sophia Marion ’19 of Baltimore, a developmental psychology major with a minor in education, was offered an English Teaching Assistant award for Nepal.
Her experience as an education minor includes field placements in local elementary schools, teaching assistantships in Bates education courses, and an educational programming internship for the Bates College Museum of Art.
Marion’s first assistantship was a four-month stint in a community-engaged course on teaching in the sciences. This spring she developed and assisted a course on creating educational experiences at the Bates–Morse Mountain Conservation Area. During recent summers, Marion has led teenagers on hiking and biking trips around the world for an outdoor adventure company.
Marion’s experience teaching in a special-needs and -strengths classroom was especially formative. That work “taught me the art of improvisation and how to reframe lessons,” she says. “These are skills I will use in my English-language classroom in Nepal when I need to clarify or tailor the lesson to individual students.”
In 2017, Marion traveled to India on a School for International Training program, learning about public health, policy advocacy, and community. This experience furthered her comfort in navigating across cultural landscapes.
“Working as an ETA in Nepal is the next step in my development as a teacher,” Marion says. “I’m eager to teach in English, learn Nepali, cultivate a nurturing classroom environment, and instill a love for learning in my students.”
Outside the classroom, Marion plans to work with an art-based, after-school empowerment program for girls. “This program gives girls a voice and a space to continue developing purpose and love of self,” she says. “This engagement will improve my Nepali language skills and provide students an informal opportunity to speak English.”
After her Fulbright year, Marion plans on studying education and leadership in graduate school. “My ETA experience will expand my empathy for others and develop my skills in adapting lessons to individual students,” she says. “This growth will be crucial for my lifelong commitment to teaching.”
Sarah Rothmann of Andover, Mass., an English major and education studies minor, has been offered an English Teaching Assistant award for the Czech Republic.
Rothmann is editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Bates Student. As an editorial assistant in the Bates Communications Office, she reported and wrote for the college’s website. “At Bates, I have taken advantage of every opportunity to learn and practice journalism so that I can find my voice and share stories with my community,“ she says.
Rothmann has also assiduously pursued education studies throughout her Bates career. She has been a classroom assistant, with specialties in language arts and special education, in Lewiston’s middle school and two elementary schools.
“After spending more than 200 hours in community classrooms,” she says, “I have developed an understanding of instructional design and unit development. I look forward to adapting my teaching skills at the secondary level in the Czech classroom.”
She adds, “I’m eager to learn about local projects in my host community that will allow my students to collaborate with their peers and expand upon their English skills.” Captain of Bates’ women’s cross country and track team, Rothmann also hopes to use her experience to support after-school running programs, as well as encourage her students to write about their experiences.
“I am eager to engage with Czech culture, learn a new language, and help establish a community of learners in and outside the classroom,” she says.
Rothmann has been a dean’s list student and received the Colleen Ritzer Scholarship for education studies. She has previously traveled to London, Cambridge, and Stratford-upon-Avon as part of a Short Term course at Bates. “I was blown away by the accessibility of historic educational experiences in London,” she says.
Upon returning to the U.S., Rothmann plans to pursue a career in teaching and to continue writing.
Anna Setzer of Chapel Hill, N.C., a politics major and double minor in Spanish and mathematics, has been offered an English Teaching Assistant award for Colombia.
Setzer has been a dean’s list student and a recipient of the Barlow Grant for study abroad and the Stangle Research Fellowship. She completed a yearlong honors thesis about citizenship and climate-change refugees.
She is a student-elected representative to the Bates Trustees’ Advisory Committee, a Senior Admission Fellow, a facilitator for the college’s Dinner Table storytelling program, and a stewardship intern for the Bates Fund. A member of the track and field team for two years, Setzer was named to the NESCAC Academic Honor Roll in 2017.
She has also worked as a peer writing tutor and resource representative in Bates’ Academic Resource Commons. During the summer of 2018, as a member of AmeriCorps, she created and facilitated a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) curriculum for third- to-fifth graders at the Providence (R.I.) Children’s Museum.
Her time at Bates has included study abroad in Argentina, where she volunteered as a teaching assistant in Buenos Aires to help teach English to sixth-graders. “This experience gave me foundational tools for building authentic relationships with students despite our different cultural and language backgrounds,” she says.
“As an ETA in Colombia, I will work to connect with students, remember details about their lives, and foster a welcoming and inclusive learning environment through the embodiment of friendliness, kindness, and empathy.”
Outside of the classroom, Setzer plans to coach a youth sports team and “facilitate community storytelling events to foster a sense of curiosity and appreciation for the different experiences and cultural contexts that have shaped people.”
Upon returning to the U.S., Setzer hopes to pursue a career in public policy “in order to make policy that improves the lives of children,” she says.
Helene Sudac of Lake County, Ill., an interdisciplinary studies major with a double minor in Spanish and in women and gender studies, has been offered an English Teaching Assistant award for Spain.
Sudac was a dean’s list student in 2015, 2016, 2017, and fall 2018, and was a 2016–17 member of the Residence Life staff.
She is a volunteer mentor for the Girls’ Aspirations Club, a community program. Her experience there teaching fifth- through eighth-grade girls has shaped her confidence in her teaching abilities. “With this age group, a teacher can encourage students to learn from one another, fostering teamwork and self-confidence,” she says. She also worked for She’s the First, a nonprofit that provides scholarships that enable girls in 11 countries to be the first in their family to attend college.
Sudac believes in a holistic approach to education. “Teaching language is a way to teach culture, and I hope to assist in creating a space that facilitates conversation about not only new cultures but about one’s own.”
Sudac plans to be a part of the life of her school outside teaching hours, and also hopes to join a girls empowerment group and be involved in the local Jewish community.
Sudac spent a year studying in Chile and became a volunteer English-teaching assistant. “I understood that I was there as a source of support and clarification for questions, and that my presence as a fellow university student changed the class dynamic to help make it a more engaging and open environment,” she says.
“From my own personal adventure in learning to read Hebrew as a child and speak Spanish as a high school and college student, I have a deep understanding and an endless amount of patience for those learning a new language.”
Upon returning to the U.S., Sudac plans to attend graduate school to study immigration law and policy. She hopes to work for a Jewish organization that helps in family resettlement or legal assistance.
Emily Tan of Lexington, Mass., a psychology major and double minor in Spanish and religious studies, has been offered an Open Study/Research grant forc Australia.
She will examine a relatively under-researched phenomenon, the ability of infants to learn words from lullabies. She will conduct the research with Dr. Denis Burnham and Dr. Peter Keller at the Baby Lab and Center for Music Cognition and Action at Western Sydney University’s MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development.
“I will investigate a parental behavior that is ubiquitous across countries, cultures, and languages — lullabies,” Tan explains. “My research will fill a gap in both neonatal psychological research and music cognition research, provide useful information to music therapists, and help inform families’ decisions about how and why to sing to their newborns.”
A trained pianist and singer, Tan has sung with the Merimanders a cappella singing group, of which she also served as president. She has been a teaching assistant for the psychology department, and a student manager with Bates’ Academic Resource Commons. She has been a dean’s list student from 2015 to 2017.
In Australia, Tan will also join the university choir and volunteer at a special-needs organization on weekends. “I have visited Australia and have a deep appreciation for the country’s people, culture, and policies,” she says, noting the government-subsidized maternity services.
Tan has worked as a research assistant in the Harvard University Lab for Developmental Studies and worked with children with autism at the New England Center for Children. Tan studied abroad in Argentina and has also visited Peru, Italy, and China.
Upon returning to the U.S., Tan plans to submit the results of her research to academic journals and present at the Boston University Conference on Language Development. Her goal is to work in the field of applied developmental and clinical psychology.
Abigail Westberry ’19 of Readfield, Maine, a double major in politics and sociology, has been offered an English Teaching Assistant award for India.
President of the Brooks Quimby Debate Council at Bates, Westberry was a member of the winning team at the 2017 North American Women’s Debating Championships, took part in the 2017 and 2018 World Debating Championships, and was in finals at the 2019 U.S. Debating Championships. She is a dean’s list student and received the 2018 Ruggles Summer Research Fellowship.
For her honors thesis in sociology, Westberry researched the common but little-studied phenomenon of long-term motel residency and its connection to housing insecurity. She’s one of the first academic researchers to tackle the subject.
Deeply involved in the greater community during her time at Bates, Westberry has worked as a tutor at a local elementary school, intern coordinator at the Maine District Court in Lewiston, and a tutor at two nonprofits, Tree Street Youth and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine. On campus, she is a writing and speaking tutor at the Academic Resource Commons.
Tutoring has “taught me that relationships of trust and respect, especially across cultures, are necessary foundations for education,” Westberry says. “Even more, it has helped me understand that as a teacher, you must seek to recognize each person’s background and tailor your educational strategies to address that.”
Westberry studied at the School for International Training in Jaipur, India, for four months in 2018. “My time in India altered my perspective about the people around me and myself,” she says. “Through my interactions with Indians and my host family, I found that learning wasn’t zero-sum. Instead, we taught each other.”
Westberry has previously lived in New Zealand and England.
Upon her return to the U.S., she plans to pursue a joint degree in law and social policy with a focus on housing.
Gwendolyn Whidden ’19 of New York City, a politics major with minors in philosophy and in French and francophone studies, was offered an English Teaching Assistant award in Morocco, where she will teach at the university level.
A Dana Scholar, Whidden has spent much of her time at Bates doing community engaged-work in greater Lewiston-Auburn. She has tutored English language learners in Lewiston elementary schools and at Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services, and worked as a French-language interpreter at the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project. She was also co-president of the Bates Feminist Collective, a Bates Civic Action Fellow, and a Bonner Leader at the Harward Center for Community Partnerships.
Fluent in French, Whidden has studied abroad in several programs, including a semester in Morocco, a semester at Oxford University, and a Short Term and a summer in Rwanda.
Study in Morocco gave her familiarity with politics and culture that, she says “will be valuable to navigating the Moroccan university system as an ETA. This exposure will help me adapt to an unfamiliar pedagogic setting and sensitively discuss issues concerning Moroccan identity.”
At a school in Rwanda, she created a peer-mentoring program and taught an accelerated English course — where, she quickly discovered, merely teaching grammar would not cut it for her high school-age students.
“I had to adapt my materials to intrigue my students and help them ground academic content in practical application: writing a resume, giving tourists directions, making small talk,” she says.
“My experience developing an English course for students close to my own age will be valuable to successfully managing a university classroom and engaging students with a standardized English curriculum.”
Whidden plans to get involved with local women’s rights and education organizations in Morocco, and encourage her students to get involved in the community. Upon her return, she will enter a master’s program in international relations at Oxford University, and hopes to ultimately pursue an international development career focused on the Middle East and North Africa.
Katherine Ziegler ’19 of Katonah, N.Y., a double major in German and in classical and medieval studies, was offered an English Teaching Assistant award for Germany.
“The German student experience interests me because of the differences between German and American education systems,” she says. “I’m curious to hear perspectives from a wider population of German students.”
At Bates, Ziegler was a dean’s list student in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and was a member of the Bates chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, an honor society for classical studies. A member of the Brooks Quimby Debate Council, she was a finalist in the 2017 North American Women and Gender Minorities Debating Championship. The team’s equity officer, “I learned that real cultural change came from modeling good behavior for the younger debaters,” she says.
Ziegler has extensive language teaching experience. At Bates, she served as an Academic Learning Commons tutor and a peer writing and speaking assistant. As an America Reads America Counts tutor, she worked with third-grade English language learners at Longley Elementary School in Lewiston.
In early 2018, as an intern for the Quill.org nonprofit online teaching tool, she designed English grammar activities, wrote lesson plans, and supported teachers in schools participating in a research study.
Proficient in German, Ziegler spent a semester in Munich in 2018 and took a course at the Ludwig Maximilian University. She plans to apply her experience there to teaching German students, and will get involved in the community by forming a debate team or school newspaper.
When Ziegler first arrived in Munich, “I was afraid to speak German with my embarrassing American accent,” she says. “I forced myself to speak in class every day. My fear eventually left, but my empathy towards language learners remains.
“I will treat German students with the same patience, respect, and understanding that my professor and classmates showed me.”
After her Fulbright year, Ziegler plans to pursue a master’s in education and ultimately teach high school Latin and German.
Fulbright U.S. Student Awards: Young alumni
Matthew Bodwell ’18 of Concord, N.H., a double major in German and politics and a mathematics minor, was offered an English Teaching Assistant award for Germany.
Since graduating from Bates, Bodwell has worked as a legal assistant and a substitute teacher. He has also tutored immigrant and refugee adults in Portland, Maine, and co-taught a literature course in a New Hampshire high school summer program.
One takeaway from his teaching experience, says Bodwell, is that “recognizing students’ talents outside of the classroom is crucial to helping them overcome their challenges within the classroom. I look forward to bringing this insight to my ETA community by engaging with my students to understand their different skill sets.”
Between high school and study abroad through Bates, Bodwell amassed five months of study in Germany. The Fulbright, he says, affords him an opportunity “to give back to a language and culture that have consistently challenged me, improved my understanding of international issues, and helped me build lifelong friendships.”
A musician, Bodwell recounts how he was able to bond with his 2016 host family in Germany, particularly the father, by exploring their musical interests together.
“My love of music stems from how I have used it to forge organic, lasting bonds with a diverse range of individuals,” he says. “I cherish the opportunity to return to Germany as a Fulbright ETA and continue building global connections, one song at a time.”
At Bates, Bodwell was a dean’s list student and a member of the College Key. He served as a residence coordinator and a trip leader in the college’s outdoor expedition program for first-year students.
After his Fulbright year, Bodwell’s immediate goal is to teach public school German at the secondary level while pursuing a master’s degree. He hopes his experience in Germany will give him a global perspective that “will ultimately strengthen my ability to foster an enthusiasm for German language and culture learning in my students.”
Linda Kugblenu ’13 of New York City, originally from Accra, Ghana, a double major in politics and rhetoric at Bates, has been offered an Open Study/Research Award for Uganda.
Kugblenu will investigate how working-class women in Uganda achieve financial independence through savings and credit cooperative organizations (SACCOs). In collaboration with professor Harriet Nabushawo of Makerere University, Kugblenu will conduct focus group discussions and interview SACCO members, community leaders, NGOs, and financial institutions.
She adds, “The focus group discussions will be fun because it will be us women bonding over food.”
A seasoned traveler and speaker of several languages, Kugblenu has visited more than 30 countries. “My field experience with women in India and South Africa has shown that women in the developing world disproportionately face barriers to financial access,” she notes.
“Cultural exchange with these women has prepared me for adapting to different cultures and helped me develop social skills that will support my integration into Ugandan society.”
At Bates, Kugblenu founded Sankofa, a student-led organization that creates performances that highlight distinctions among peoples in the African Diaspora. Sankofa’s annual production has become the flagship arts event for Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Bates.
Kugblenu won a Phillips Fellowship, a grant that funds independent research study for students, to learn from women in North Africa. She spent a summer helping women in Morocco improve their literary skills. This experience exposed her to cultural nuances that impact women’s access to education and career opportunities.
Since graduation, Kugblenu has worked in micro-finance, impact investing, and financial publishing. She also founded and operates the travel company MeejoAfrica, which curates small-group experiences to enable people of the African Diaspora to visit and learn about their heritage.
Kugblenu’s upbringing, education, and professional experiences have shaped her as a global citizen. Her research, she says, “will set the foundation for completing MBA studies and realizing my goal of leading a major impact-investing firm that has thriving portfolios of women-led businesses around the world.”
Adam Maurey ’16 of Duarte, Calif., a Latin American studies major, was offered an English Teaching Assistant award for Brazil, which he calls “a country that has interested me as a cultural and geopolitical crossroads since the beginning of my undergraduate career.”
A dean’s list student, regular contributor to The Bates Student newspaper, and member of multiple music ensembles at Bates, Maurey completed his senior thesis on “State-Formation and the Urbanization of the Ejido in Rural Chiapas 1824–2016.”
As with other Fulbright teaching awardees, Maurey will bring deep cross-cultural experience to his work in Brazil.
Following his junior year at Bates, he designed his own year-abroad experience in Mexico City, where he worked in an immigration law office and as an English tutor. “Flying solo” in the city, without contacts or friends, led to “immense personal growth that galvanized my intellectual curiosity and creativity,” he said.
Following graduation, Maurey again found himself in a distinctive cross-cultural setting. Joining an English-language immersion program in the Canadian Maritimes, he worked with a large group of young students from Mexico. Having little familiarity with either the region or the proclivities of 12-year-olds, Maurey and his charges found “common ground on foreign soil, as we shared stories of Mexico City’s neighborhoods and pop culture,” he said.
From them, he learned that “teaching is a conversation, not a lecture, and that humility is essential to grow as a teacher.”
An accomplished percussionist and avid athlete, Maurey hopes to broaden his host-community engagement by joining musical ensembles in Brazil and taking part in activities “known for community spirit and socioeconomic accessibility” — skateboarding, running, and surfing. A keen horticulturist with training in mapping technology, he’d like to learn about urban gardening in Brazil.
Following his Fulbright year, Maurey intends to pursue graduate work in human geography “to focus on human migration, conflict and human rights, and cultural politics.”
Daniel Murphy ’18 of Lexington, Mass., a 2018 graduate of Bates who majored in history and minored in Spanish and philosophy, was offered an English Teaching Assistant award for Colombia.
Murphy worked at Tree Street Youth in Lewiston, where he was a community-engaged learning tutor as well as an SAT tutor in a college preparatory program. He was a researcher for Jared Golden’s successful campaign for Maine’s 2nd District congressional seat. Since 2017, Murphy has served as a Spanish language translator at the Middlesex Jail and House of Correction in Billerica, Mass.
Murphy previously studied in Peru and in Argentina, where he enrolled in the University of Salvador and the University of Buenos Aires. During his visit, he volunteered as an English teaching assistant at a school in Buenos Aires. “The teachers I met here sparked my desire to teach and inspired me to apply for the ETA in Colombia,” he says.
“I believe teaching would be the most authentic and rewarding way to experience Colombian culture while learning about myself and my own culture. My adaptability and experience creating meaningful connections to students make me an effective teacher for university and post-secondary students.”
Outside his teaching obligations, Murphy hopes to research Colombia’s reception of refugees from the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. “I wonder if the politics of isolation and closed borders that we are seeing in Europe and the U.S. is happening in Colombia as well,” he says.
Murphy has also studied in Spain and Portugal, and visited Austria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. He was a dean’s list student for five semesters and received Bates’ Barlow Grant, which supported his thesis research in Cusco, Peru. Murphy was a member of the Bates a cappella group The Manic Optimists.
Murphy previously worked as a legal assistant at a New York City law firm and in the district attorney’s office for Middlesex County, Mass. After his Fulbright year, he plans to attend law school and hopes to practice immigration law.
Kelsey Schober ’16 of Anchorage, Alaska, a triple major in dance, politics, and psychology at Bates, was offered a Fulbright Canada Open Study/Research award to research ways for public policy to “effectively amplify community voices” across the North American Arctic amidst threats posed by climate change.
“Warming is occurring in the North twice as fast as the rest of the world,” said Schober, who was born and raised in Sutton, Alaska. “That puts us on the front lines of climate change and the inevitable environmental, political, cultural, and social transformations it will bring.”
For too long, she says, approaches to climate change have been promulgated by urban policymakers far to the south. “I want to enable Northern communities to build empirically informed public policy specific to their needs,” she says.
Schober, whose Fulbright project is titled “Amplifying the Arctic: Empowering Northern Communities through Public Policy,” will begin to pursue her goals by seeking a master’s degree in political science at the University of Alberta.
There, she plans to be involved with the Circumpolar Students’ Association, which supports students interested in Northern and Antarctic studies and research, as well as UAlberta North, an umbrella initiative supporting the university’s comprehensive set of Northern research and educational relationships.
Next, Schober plans to return to Alaska to work on issues around climate change adaptation, community representation, and accountable governance.
“Young Alaskans often don’t see this as a place to return to or pursue their careers,” she says. “But I strongly believe that Alaskans are capable of solving the challenges we face here — and by returning home, I hope I can not only challenge a belief that says otherwise, but also help make Alaska a place where our young people want to be.”
This is Schober’s second significant postgraduate award. She used a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship in 2016–17 to research the relationship between dance, cultural revitalization, and social movements in Nunavut, Tasmania, Indonesia, Finland, Chile, and the Netherlands.