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Students Receive Prestigious Fellowship Awards for Study Abroad

Nine Pomona students have been awarded prestigious fellowships for travel and study abroad. Five Pomona members of the Class of 2005 have been awarded fellowships by the Freeman Foundation, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of American undergraduates who study in East and Southeast Asia. Four 2004 graduates have received grants from the Rotary Foundation that will pay for graduate-level education and travel in the countries of their choice.

Freeman Scholars

The Freeman scholars are: Susan Hoang, Leeshai Lemish, James Mok, Alison Rapoport and Abiel Reinhart.

Alison Rapoport will be traveling to various places in Vietnam to research Vietnamese memory about what is known to the Vietnamese people as the “American War.” She says she is specifically interested in “the nature of memory as expressed in verbal testimony and physical memorials to the conflict.” She continues, “I originally became interested in the question of memorialization while studying the Holocaust in my Religious Studies courses. Of particular interest to me is the structure and symbolism of physical monuments and memorials.”

Rapoport has an existing connection to Vietnam, since her parents have lived there for the last three years. She remarks, “ When I heard about the Freeman, I decided it represented a wonderful opportunity for me to explore my interest in memorialization and to spend more time trying to understand Vietnam and the history of the war. I believe that understanding the way in which people view the past can contribute to cross-cultural understanding.” She eventually plans to attend medical school, and will enjoy the opportunity to acquire skills during her upcoming travels that can be used abroad in the medical field.

James Mok will go to Beijing and Nanjing, China, to study museums and memorials commemorating people and events in the War against Japanese Aggression. Specifically, he is interested in analyzing “use of space, architecture, exhibition content, and tours as forms of memory of war.” The seed for this project came from the seminar “State and Citizen in Modern Japan” taught by Professor of History Samuel Yamashita. Mok, an Asian Studies major, plans to use his research for his senior thesis and hopes that his travels will create opportunities for postgraduate schooling or work.

Long interested in Chinese culture, society and related trends, Leeshai Lemish plans to spend time in various regions of Southeast Asia getting to know the overseas Chinese community in those areas, their connections to Mainland China and their general attitudes toward China. The project complements his undergraduate studies at Pomona, as an Asian Studies major with a focus on China and Chinese history. His minor in Chinese will be an advantage in conducting interviews with native speakers of Chinese, although he admits that that aspect will be the most “challenging” for him. Lemish says about his future plans, “After graduating from Pomona I plan on continuing to graduate studies focusing on China, and hope to be able to conduct similar projects in the future. I believe this research will provide insight about the large and diverse overseas communities around the world.”

Rotary Scholars

Jacquline DuBose, Elizabeth Holley, Elizabeth Redman, and Anna Rooke were awarded scholarships by the Rotary Foundation for graduate study at the foreign university of their choice. Scholars indicate four location choices in order of preference and are notified at a later date where they will be studying. Graduates Samantha Brown and Elena Shih have also been named alternates for the program.

Elizabeth Redman, who earned her degree in public policy analysis and economics, already has considerable experience through internships in fields of economics on which to draw for her graduate study in a university in South America. After interning as a research assistant for the Brookings Institution her junior year, she decided to take on her own research project. Driven by the belief that companies can do well financially without sacrificing other stakeholder interests, she began to study companies' motivations for corporate social responsibility. Through several departmental and summer research grants, Pomona College provided her the opportunity to travel both nationally and internationally to interview business executives and policy leaders about the best way to integrate social and environmental obligations into business goals. Through the Rotary program, she will expand her research to South America where she plans to work with several organizations that educate the public and companies about issues of corporate social responsibility.

Jacqueline DuBose plans to study in Kingston, Jamaica, at the University of the West Indies to further research and education in her Black Studies degree. Her interests, she says, focus on “single mothers in urban areas and women and labor.” She plans to further her studies of global perspectives on women’s daily labor in urban areas after attending law school. At Pomona, Dubose worked closely with Professor of Art History and Black Studies Phyllis Jackson.

Graduate Elizabeth Holley’s first choice for study is Oslo, Norway. She will continue her studies in environmental geology by taking graduate-level classes in geology and ecology, in addition to just “soaking in the cultural experience while abroad.” Her future plans involve a career in public policy or teaching. “The United States has an acute need for science-based environmental action,” she says, “and I hope to study techniques and methods in my host country. Eventually, I will apply this to a research, policy, or teaching career in environmental geology and conservation.”

The Freeman Fellowships for study abroad are administered by the Institute for International Education in conjunction with the Freeman Foundation. According to the Institute, “Study abroad for U.S. students is expanding rapidly, but the number of students heading to Asia has not kept pace with the rest of the world. Awardees will be expected to share their experiences with their home campus to encourage study abroad by others, and to spread understanding of Asia in their home communities.”

The Rotary Foundation promotes international understanding and friendly relations through sponsorship of study abroad programs for people interested in acting as goodwill ambassadors. The one-year Academic Year Ambassadorial Scholarship award may be used in any country where Rotary Clubs are located, and provides up to $25,000 for tuition, fees, and other expenses. In addition to academic study, Rotary Scholars are expected to be outstanding ambassadors of good will to the people of the host country through both informal and formal appearances at clubs, schools, civic organizations, and other forums.

Pomona College, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions, offers a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Founded in 1887, its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research. Each year, Pomona students receive some of the most prestigious awards for undergraduate and graduate study and travel in many parts of the world.