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Pomona College Class of 2008 Awarded 17 Fulbright Fellowships

Seventeen graduates of the Pomona College Class of 2008 have received prestigious Fulbright Fellowships to pursue research or teach around the globe, the second highest number ever received by a graduating class. In addition, four graduates from earlier class years received Fulbrights, bringing this year's full total to 21. The Pomona College record was set by the Class of 2007 with 27 awards. The previous record was 15 for the Class of 2006.

Among the Class of 2008 recipients, five were awarded Fulbright Research Grants.

  • Jason Clark, an environmental analysis major originally from Polson, MT, will study Mandarin Chinese in Northern China, through a Critical Language Enhancement Award. He will then begin research on China's recent national forestry conservation plans, with a focus on reforestation efforts and watershed protection projects, comparing actions taken at multiple governmental levels as well as in China's private sector, and the interplay between forest managers and forest users. Currently a resident of Seattle, he plans to enroll in a environmental management graduate program when he returns to the U.S.
  • Matthew Goldman, a molecular biology major from San Francisco, will work with the Ecuador chapter of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences to investigate the effects of decentralization on the distribution of health care in Ecuador, with a focus on cultural and regional differences, using hospital statistics, patient surveys and interviews. He will also enroll in the Master's of Public Health program at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and volunteer at Hospital Baca Ortiz, a children's hospital in Quito, to teach English and assist with patient care. His ultimate goals are to work as a physician and as an adviser to public health programs both locally and abroad.
  • Geoffrey Lewis, a mathematics major with a minor in Chinese from Mission Viejo, CA, will examine the future of green building in China. By some estimates, half of the world's new construction in the next 10 years will be done in China. Lewis plans to interview a variety of real estate professionals, government officials and academics to understand the current state of green building and how the market could be transformed to encourage more green building and a sustainable transportation infrastructure. He will be based at the Tsinghua School of Architecture in Beijing. When he returns, he will join Deutsche Bank in New York as an investment banking analyst.
  • David McCormick, a double major in German and molecular biology from Knoxville, TN, will study the microbial ecology of methanotrophic bacteria in grassland soil, at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany. The work will include taking soil samples and analyzing the DNA from the soil to determine what types of bacteria are present. With the data, he will compare the grasslands ecology with that of other terrain types. His future plans include a degree in public health and medical school.
  • Ian Sawyer, a politics major from Osaka, Japan, will study traditional agriculture, its changes and preservation in India. Working with environmental activist Vandana Shiva and the organization Navadanya, he will use ethnographic research supplemented by interviews with experts to examine what factors influence farmers in northern India to abandon, modify or preserve traditional agricultural techniques. His goal is to better understand how corporate takeover of agriculture is being resisted at the grassroots level. When he returns to the United States, he plans to focus on community organizing and environmental justice issues in the Los Angeles area.

Twelve of Pomona’s 2008 Fulbright Fellows were awarded grants to teach English in foreign countries.

  • Kelsyn Bevins, a philosophy, politics and economics major from Missoula, MT, will teach elementary school children in South Korea. On her return, she plans to study public interest law at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, OR.
  • Julia Chang, a molecular biology major from Torrance, CA, will teach in Taiwan. Her future interests include international medicine and health education.
  • Adhana Davis, a history major with a focus on Africa and the African Diaspora from Mira Loma, CA, will teach in Madrid, Spain. She will also research immigration politics in Spain for comparison with those in the U.S. She plans to attend UCLA Law School in fall 2009.
  • Meredith Gaffield, a history major with a concentration in the ancient/medieval Mediterranean, will teach at Vinh Long Community College in Vietnam. A resident of Lexington, KY, she plans to attend graduate school.
  • Olga Klinger, a French major from San Jose, CA, will teach secondary school students in South Korea. Her career plans involve work on international human rights and possibly a law degree.
  • Elizabeth Levin, an English major with a Spanish minor from Pasadena, CA, will teach in Madrid, Spain, where she will also research the folktales of Spain and those of immigrants to Spain. Spain is one of the fastest growing countries in the world, due to immigration from Africa, Eastern Europe, and South America. Because folktales can be indicators of cultural identity, she hopes their similarities can teach young children about the similarities between themselves and people of other cultures.
  • Margaret Murray, an English major from Chicago, will teach in Muenster, Germany. She plans to apply to an MFA program in fiction writing in 2009.
  • Jabarri Reynolds, a psychology major from Chicago, will teach elementary school students in Alcobendas, Spain, which is north of Madrid. His future plans may include playing basketball in Europe for a year to gain insight into the world of professional sports and then earning a Ph.D. in sports psychology.
  • Samantha Rudolph, a religious studies major from Rockville Center, NY, will teach in Temuco, Chile at the Universidad Autonoma de Chile. She will also work with Peruvian immigrants in order to better understand their integration into Chilean society. By comparing their situation with Mexican immigrants in the U.S., she hopes to better understand alternative modes of integration and how they might be applicable within the U.S. Her future plans include working in the field of immigration and eventually earning a law degree.
  • Scott Stroup, Scott Stroup, a chemistry major from Richland, WA, was offered a teaching fellowship in South Korea, but declined.
  • Alexander Su, an international relations major from Fullerton, CA, will teach in South Korea, where he also hopes to coach water polo and examine urbanization. His future plans include a career in entertainment law.
  • Alice Yoo, a chemistry major from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, declined a grant to teach in South Korea in order to prepare for dental school.

Class of 2008 alternates for Fulbright Fellowships are:

  • Genna Beier, for a research grant to Argentina; Joshua Dzieza, for a teaching grant to Turkey; Tiamaht Erickson, for a teaching grant to Andorra; Kristian Melby, for a research grant to Norway; and Yim Yan, for a teaching grant to Hong Kong.
  • At least four Pomona College alumni were also awarded Fulbrights.
  • Marisa Diaz ’06, a Spanish major from Berkeley, CA, will conduct a qualitative/quantitative research study of Latin American domestic workers in Madrid, Spain, focusing on their social and labor networks as well as the organization of domestic work.
  • Laura Gamse ‘07, a social activism/media arts major, will travel to South Africa to make a film about the use of theater, film, music and other media to influence social change in post-apartheid South Africa. Gamse was a Fulbright alternate in 2007 and reapplied in 2008.
  • Katie Lenhoff ‘07, a Russian and East European Studies double major from Yorba Linda, CA, was renewed for 2nd year. She teaches English in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and is conducting research on the recording of history in public spaces, looking at the museums in that city to understand what is considered worthy of preservation, how material is presented and how people in the community relate to those museums and the material in them as a part of their histories and identities.
  • Richard J. Won ’98, an Asian Studies major from Los Angeles, will go to South Korea mixing language study, graduate coursework, research and a fiction writing project - a short story collection called A Hundred Korean Tigers. The stories focus on the relationships between native Koreans and Korean Americans, with special attention to families that have been separated by the Korean War and the diaspora. A Critical Language Enhancement Award will extend his stay in Seoul for language classes at Yonsei University and Seoul National University. He is currently working toward his MFA degree at Columbia University’s School of Fine Arts.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, founded in 1946 and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, offers opportunities for recent graduates, postgraduate candidates and developing professionals and artists to conduct career-launching study and research abroad. Designed to increase cultural understanding between U.S. students and citizens of foreign countries, the grants generally provide round-trip transportation, language or orientation courses, book and research allowances, and maintenance for the academic year, based on living costs in the host country.

Over the decades, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 250,000 students, scholars and professionals worldwide with the opportunity to observe each others’ political, economic and cultural institutions, exchange ideas and embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world’s inhabitants.