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UCONN’s 2017 Critical Language Scholarship Winners

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a fully funded summer overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. With the goal of broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries, CLS provides opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the United States at every level of language learning. The CLS Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State.

2017 CLS Winners:

Akshayaa Chittibabu (CLAS ’19) is a STEM Scholar majoring in physiology and neurobiology with aspirations to attend medical school and specialize as an OB/GYN.  As a 2016 Holster Scholar, her Holster research project was inspired by her volunteer work in Tamil Nadu, India, where she encountered rural South Indians with low access to health care. Her research, “Assessing the Influence of Select Sociodemographic and Socioeconomic Factors on Non-Compliance to Follow-Up Cervical Cancer Care in Rural Women: A Study in Rural South India” was presented at the Holster Scholars reception in Fall 2016.  On campus, Akshayaa is part of the Writing Center tutoring staff and is an active slam poet and board member of UC Poetic Release and Performance Crew, the UConn spoken word collective and slam poetry team. She will study Korean at the Chonnam National University in Gwangju, Korea.

Moira Lewerk (CAHNR, ’18) is an Honors student majoring in Allied Health Sciences with an interest in languages and culture. As a RISE Scholar, she participated in an intensive summer research experience in a laboratory affiliated with the Cognitive Science Program and the Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences.  As a representative for the Pan-Asian Council, Moira also seeks to engage with others in a wide-ranging exploration of cultural differences and similarities. A musician, amateur film-maker and avid traveler, she hopes to return to Korea after graduation to teach English and continue her Korean language learning. Her ultimate goal is to continue her education in both the sciences and communication. She will study Korean at the Chonnam National University in Gwangju, Korea.

 

7 UCONN Students Receive 2017-18 Fulbright Awards

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

 2017-18 Fulbright Award Recipients are:

Margo Bailey (BUSN, ’17) recipient of the Instituto de Empresa (IE)MA International Management in Spain. Margo is a Marketing major with a minor in Spanish, interested in a career in international corporate social responsibility. Following her studies at IE, she plans to work for a non-profit like the LEGO Foundation or an international company that focuses on bilingual educational services.

 

Sylvia Cunningham (CLAS, ’15) recipient of the Young Professional Journalist grant to Germany. Graduating with a double major in Journalism and Political Science, Sylvia took her experiences working at WHUS and The Daily Campus to the NBC Universal Page Program. She ultimately landed a job as Desk Assistant to the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt during the 2016 presidential campaign season. Her goal is to become a political reporter for a new outlet after gaining experience with news organizations in Germany.

 

Catherine Han (CLAS, ’17) recipient of English Teaching Assistant grant to Mexico. Catherine is a double major in Biology and English, drawing on her experience as a tutor in the UConn Writing Center to engage with students in an English-language learning classroom in Mexico.  She plans to apply to medical school and upon completion, work in a medically underserved urban area in public health.

 

Lara Hawley (NEAG, ’17) recipient of English Teaching Assistant grant to South Africa. With a BA in English, Lara will earn her Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction from NEAG this year and utilize her classroom teaching experiences to assist an English-language learning instructor in South Africa. Having earlier volunteered in several locations there, she is eager to learn more about society and culture in that country.

 

Tiffany Murphy (CLAS, ’12) recipient of an English Teaching Assistant grant to Morocco. A 2012 graduate in political science, Tiffany has worked for United Way, AmeriCorps and most recently the New Haven Board of Education as a literacy and ESL tutor. Having traveled to Morocco in 2015 to learn Arabic, she will return there to work in an English-language learning classroom. Her goal is to earn an MSW and work in immigration and refugee services.

 

Marissa Piccolo (CLAS, ’17) recipient of a study grant to Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, MA program in Legislative Studies and Practice. Graduating with a double major in Political Science and Economics, and a Mount Vernon Leadership Fellow and Truman nominee, Marissa will take her research and public service experience to Belfast to study politics in Northern Ireland.  Her goal is to return to the US to attend law school and ultimately run for public office.

Paulina Rowe (CLAS, ’17) recipient of an English Teaching Assistant grant to Colombia. A double major in Psychology and Spanish, Paulina will bring her experience as a camp counselor, writing tutor and in public service to her role as a teaching assistant in an English-language learning classroom in Colombia. Upon her return, she will join Teach for America or work with a non-profit organization centered on youth development.

Meet UConn’s Gaither Junior Fellows Nominees

Caitlin Briody (CLAS ’17) from Storrs, CT is an Honors student, 2014 New England Scholar and two times Babbidge Scholar (2015, 2016) with a double major in Political Science and Sociology and a minor in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. A Writing Center tutor and Orientation Leader, Caitlin was an intern in the Washington DC office of Sen. Chris Murphy in the summer of 2016 in addition to interning with the Treatment Action Campaign in Cape Town, South Africa.  Her research interests range across several topics, including judicial selection, gender based violence, the Shelby v. Holder decision and her thesis project is researching the gender gap in political participation. As a Carnegie Junior Fellows nominee, Caitlin aspires to work with a Senior Fellow in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program.

 

Jacob Burte (CLAS ’17) from Andover, MA is an Honors student and three-time New England Scholar with an Individualized major in International Relations, Middle East concentration and minors in History and Political Science. The B-side captain for the Men’s Rugby team, he is also a member of the Huskies for Israel and co-founder of the Syrian Resettlement Project at UCONN, which allows him to pursue his interests in the politics of the Middle East.  His senior thesis will focus on Washington’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with regard to Israeli nuclear research and development during the 1950’s and ‘60’s. As a Carnegie Junior Fellows nominee, Peter aspires to work with a Senior Fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program.

Six UConn Students Named Fulbright Finalists

2016-17 Fulbright finalists
2016-17 Fulbright finalists Dominick Sansone ’15, Francine Quintino ’16, Meghan Brown ’16, Michelle San Pedro (GRAD), Jia Li Liu (GRAD) and Carmen Britton (GRAD).

“The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.” The Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships is pleased to announce that the following University of Connecticut students have been notified of their selection as either a Semi-Finalist or Finalist in the 2016-17 round of competition.  [The status of “Fulbright Semi-Finalist” means that the applicant was recommended by the National Screening Committee to the Fulbright Commission in-country. The status of “Fulbright Finalist” means that the applicant has been notified that they’ve been offered a grant to the country but have not yet completed official paperwork.]

Carmen Britton (Ph.D. Human Development & Family Studies, CLAS) Finalist for a research grant to Sri Lanka. Her project seeks to document the dynamics of people’s experiences within community-based rehabilitation programs in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Meghan Brown (M.A. Curriculum & Instruction, NEAG) Finalist for an English Teaching Assistant grant to Mexico. As an aspiring ELL instructor, her future plans have her working with the immigrant population in southern California.

Ryan Hatcher (M.A. Educational Psychology, NEAG) Semi-Finalist for a research grant to Poland. His project will examine the relationship between teacher and student creative self-beliefs utilizing the resources at the Academy of Special Education in Warsaw.

Jia Li Liu (Ph.D. Human Development & Family Studies, CLAS) Finalist for a research grant to Hong Kong. Her research project will examine mother and teacher perceptions of Chinese immigrant children’s shyness in Hong Kong.

Cecilia Menendez (’15 French & Spanish, CLAS) Semi-Finalist for an English Teaching Assistant grant to Andorra. Her future plans include earning a master’s degree in foreign language or bilingual education.

Iva Petkova (’16 Political Science & Human Rights, CLAS) Semi-Finalist for an English Teaching Assistant grant to Korea. With a passion for teaching English and learning about politics and culture, she plans to attend law school to focus on international human rights law.

Francine Quintino (’16 Political Science, CLAS) Finalist for an English Teaching Assistant grant to Colombia. Her future plans include graduate study in higher education and student affairs with a focus on first-generation college students.

Mary (Molly) Rockett (’15 Political Science, CLAS) Semi-Finalist for a study grant to Royal Holloway College, UK. She plans to earn an MSc in elections, parties and public opinion and return to the U.S. to run for higher office.

Michelle San Pedro (Ph.D. Anthropology, CLAS) Finalist for a research grant to Nicaragua. Her research project aims to investigate the relationship between midwives and pregnant women during prenatal visits in Esteli, Nicaragua.

 Dominick Sansone (’15 Exercise Science, CAHNR) Finalist for an English Teaching Assistant grant to Bulgaria. Drawing upon his experience in Macedonia, he aspires to a career in international public service with a concentration in the Balkan region.

2016 Critical Language Scholarship Winner

 

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Sara Ailshire (Ph.D. candidate, Anthropology) is a 2016 recipient of a Critical Language Scholarship to study Hindi in Jaipur, India. As a doctoral student in medical anthropology, Sara has traveled to the state of Bihar to conduct research on public health communication and community attitudes toward development. While there, she collaborated with the Population Council, an international health research NGO, gathering data on public health message diffusion and attitudes towards development.

Sara plans to apply for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and the Fulbright Critical Language Enhancement Award to further her study of Hindi and enable her to conduct interviews for her dissertation research in the area of reproductive health policy, health and development, and patient experience.

Meet the 2016 Carnegie Junior Fellows Nominee

The Carnegie Junior Fellows program is a very selective, paid postgraduate internship program for students who have a serious interest in international affairs. Following graduation, fellows spend one year working for a research associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in one of their research divisions including areas such Democracy and Rule of Law, Energy and Climate, International Economics and Nuclear Policy. Find more information about the program here.

Peter Bassine (POLS & PHIL ’16) from Milford, CT is an Honors student and three-time New England Scholar. A recipient of the Philip and Barbara Kaplan Scholarship (2015), awarded to seniors with a commitment to international public service, Peter was an intern in the Washington DC office of Congressman Jim Himes in the spring of 2014 in addition to interning with a Chicago law firm and the Connecticut State Police. His interests in international politics and philosophy have led to an independent research project on the democratic legitimacy of judicial review and a proposal to conduct independent research on Finland’s strategic posture and NATO membership via the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. He is also a founding member and editor-in-chief of the new UConn Undergraduate Political Review, publishing opinion and analytical essays four times a year. As a Carnegie Junior Fellows nominee, Peter aspires to work with a Senior Fellow in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program.

Meet the 2015 Carnegie Junior Fellowship Nominees

The Carnegie Junior Fellows program is a very selective, paid postgraduate internship program for students who have a serious interest in international affairs. Following graduation, fellows spend one year working for a research associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in one of their research divisions including areas such Democracy and Rule of Law, Energy and Climate, International Economics and Nuclear Policy. Find more information about the program here.

Robert J. Anderson (HR & IMJR: International Development ’15) from Cheshire, CT, is an Honors student and New England Scholar majoring in Human Rights with a second individualized major in International Development. A 2013 recipient of a SURF grant, RJ traveled to the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, to conduct research on the 1926 Slavery Convention. This investigation provided the foundation for his University Scholar project and, together with funds from an IDEA grant, has furthered field research in California, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. for the documentary on modern-day slavery he is undertaking with his project partner, David Pereira. He is also the recipient of the Victor Schachter ’64 Rule of Law Award which enabled him to work as an intern at the Bangalore, Delhi High Court and Madras Mediation Centers in India in the summer of 2014. RJ is a member of the 2014 Leadership Legacy cohort and FYE mentor. He serves on the President’s Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility, participates in the Men’s Project, is a member of Humanities House Living/Learning community and is President of Extreme Measures, a co-ed a cappella singing group on campus. In pursuit of his interests in History and Cultural Theory, RJ plans to earn a Ph.D. and teach at the college level.
Linnea Logie (POLS & HIST ’15) is an Honors student and Babbidge Scholar majoring in Political Science with a second major in History. A recipient of the Philip and Barbara Kaplan Scholarship (2014) and the John G. Hill, Jr. & John G. Hill III Political Science Excellence Award, she attended the 66th annual Student Conference on U.S. Affairs at West Point this past November. Linnea has interned with Sen. Christopher Murphy in his Washington, D.C. office and studied abroad at the International Studies Institute at Palazzo Rucellai, Florence, Italy and the University of Hong Kong in China. With her interests in Asian Studies and the geopolitical context of energy issues, she is writing her honors thesis on the geopolitical implications of hydraulic fracturing and preparing to pursue graduate studies in international affairs. Her goal is to become a member of the National Security Council confronting 21st-century policy challenges in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.

Meet UConn’s 2014 Critical Language Scholarship Winners

Two University of Connecticut CLAS students have been awarded a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) for intensive overseas language study. The CLS is a highly competitive program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State which reviews more than 5,000 applications and awards approximately 600 scholarships to study and master critical foreign languages. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and to later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

Kelly Morrissey

Kelly Morrissey (’15, Communication & Individualized: International Relations) will be spending 8 weeks in Suzhou, China beginning in June, 2014. This demanding program requires 20+ hours of classroom instruction, extensive community engagement and a language pledge requiring that scholarship recipients speak only Chinese during all program activities.  Kelly is well-prepared to meet the challenges of this program, having spent the summer of 2013 in Shanghai, China on a Center for International Education (CIE) language program.  Her interest in China and her commitment to becoming proficient in Chinese developed in high school and have shaped the focus of her undergraduate program. In pursuit of her interests in global communication and trade, she is developing a comparative study on the traits of individualism and collectivism in relationship to media consumption in the U.S. and China for her senior honors thesis. Kelly’s ultimate goal is to pursue graduate study in China and to work for the U.S. State Department.

Melanie Meinzer

Melanie Meinzer (Ph.D. student, Political Science) will continue her study of Arabic at the Arab American Language Institute in Meknes, Morocco with her scholarship. Her six-week program will also involve 20+ hours a week of formal classroom instruction divided between Modern Standard Arabic and the local Maghrebi Arabic dialect.  Outside of the classroom, Melanie will be engaged in activities in the host community and living with a local host family.  Acquisition of proficient conversational Arabic language skills is essential to her doctoral research on the impact of foreign aid on non-governmental organizations in Palestine, where she will be conducting interviews with ordinary Palestinians and other stakeholders.  Her interest in these issues grew out of her pre-dissertation field research in the Occupied West Bank earlier this year, and her work at the British Consulate-General in Boston, MA, where she organized interfaith events with local Jewish and Arab-American organizations.

For these students, applying to the Critical Language Scholarship provided a process that enabled them to identify their academic interests, articulate a coherent research framework and work towards future career goals.  Kelly asserts that the scholarship is not “something you do in a random fashion; you must distinguish yourself by proving your commitment to learning the language.” Having applied for a CLS for the summer of 2013 and been turned down, she redoubled her efforts to demonstrate the seriousness of her commitment by pursuing an independent CIE program, continuing her involvement in campus and community organizations and maintaining a relationship with faculty from her CIE program.  “Persistence is the key – don’t give up!” is Kelly’s advice. Melanie concurs that demonstrating a consistent, long-term interest in the language and country is critical to a successful application. “Being able to develop a narrative about yourself, your studies, and your career plans in specific terms,” and being able to explain how the scholarship would move you forward is important.  She recommends starting early and working with the Writing Center and the Office of National Scholarships &Fellowships (ONS&F) staff on the application essays, and says that writing and revising several drafts before final submission is a critical step in the process.

For both Kelly and Melanie, the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the culture and language of their respective countries, in addition to meeting the CLS program requirements and adapting to local culture and dialects, are all challenges they are eager to accept.  Let’s congratulate them and wish them best of luck in their travels!

To learn more about the Critical Language Scholarship and other opportunities for critical language studies, contact LuAnn Saunders-Kanabay, Assistant Director, Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships at luann.saunders-kanabay@uconn.edu.