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Pomona College Class of 2009 Awarded 22 Fulbright Fellowships

Twenty-two graduates of the Pomona College Class of 2009 have received prestigious Fulbright Fellowships to pursue research or teach around the globe. This marks the second highest amount ever received by a Pomona graduating class. In a highly unusual twist, six graduating seniors have turned down the award for other opportunities. The Pomona College record was set by the Class of 2007 with 27 awards.

In addition to the awards made to members of the Class of 2009, one Pomona alumnus has received a research Fulbright, bringing this year's full total of awards to 23.

The Class of 2009 graduates receiving Fulbright Research Grants are:

  • Reed Ayabe, a molecular biology major from Honolulu, will travel to the University of Kyoto, in Japan, to conduct research under Dr. Yoshiaki Nakagawa, using cDNA cloning to determine the primary protein structure of venom from the Japanese scorpion Liocheles australasiae. Normal analytical techniques will also be used, but may be of limited use because the venom is produced in such small quantities. His future plans include attending UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and a career as a clinician and researcher.
  • Derek Galey, a philosophy, politics and economics major from Minnetonka, MN, will study Reykjavik’s environmentally conscious urban planning at the University of Iceland, particularly how the process is affected by the area’s natural features. The project will culminate in a redevelopment proposal for a coastal industrial zone in the Sund harbor area. Galey will facilitate community involvement in the process and present a proposal that incorporates aesthetic, psychological, and ecological concerns. His future plans include a master’s degree in urban planning.
  • Eunice Kim, a history major from East Brunswick, NJ, will take intensive Korean language courses through the Critical Language Enhancement Award and then conduct research on the militarized sex industry in the Republic of Korea through an affiliation with the Korean Women's Institute at Ewha Women's University and a faith-based counseling center for former and current sex workers. She will focus on the role intimacy plays in shaping power dynamics at the local level between American soldiers and female sex workers. Her future plans include a degree in public health and possibly a career in medicine.
  • Michael Lawson, a chemistry major from Weston, CT, will travel to Dr. Wolfgang Sippl's lab in Halle, Germany, to study the use of computational modeling in the research of a novel cancer drug target. His project will focus on the design of a compound to inhibit a histone deacetylase protein, a popular epigenetic target. His future plans involve a PhD program in either biochemistry or molecular biology.
  • Kayla McCulley, an international relations and French double major from Winter Park, FL, will travel to Switzerland’s International Center for Sports Studies and research the internationalization of European soccer, focusing on how this trend is a result of legal and political interactions between the European Union and soccer's governing authorities. She will also take courses in the Master's of Sports Law program at the University of Neuchatel and volunteer as a youth soccer coach. Her future plans include entering the Foreign Service or law school.
  • Sabrina McNew, a biology major from Albuquerque, NM, will travel to the Choco region of Ecuador to study avian seed dispersal and the role of animals in shaping rain forest growth. She will also work with scientists and communities to support local conservation efforts. Her future plans include graduate school and additional study of ecology.
  • John Tsuei, an Asian Studies major from Hsinchu, Taiwan, will travel to Japan to study the history and culture of Japanese youth baseball, focusing on Little League and high school baseball to understand the importance of the sport within Japanese society, the experiences of participants and how youth baseball and baseball culture have changed over time. His future plans include a career that combines his interest in sports and Asian languages and cultures.
  • David Wang, an Asian Studies major from Brookline, MA, will be traveling to Xi'an, China, to study physical education at Xi'an Jiaotong University. He will also continue to pursue his interests in sports and documentary filmmaking, attend classes on sociology and sports, coach basketball and soccer in the community, and film several short documentaries concerning the life and culture in China's first capital. His future plans involve travel to South Africa to document the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
  • Derek Young, an environmental analysis major from Madison, WI, will study forestry and watershed management at a university in Lima, Peru, and then conduct fieldwork in Peru's central Amazon region, studying the effects of the recent expansion of commercial logging and fishing on the rainforest ecosystem; its impact on the local human populations who traditionally depend on fish and forest products; and potential sustainable alternatives. Future plans include graduate school in applied ecology and work for an environmental NGO focused on Latin America.

Paul Ort, an environmental analysis major from Oreland, PA, is an alternate for a Fulbright Fellowships research grant for study in Argentina.

Declining the research awards were:

  • Vivek Charu, a molecular biology major from Anaheim, CA, who was awarded a research fellowship to study public health in India;
  • Kevin Kelley, a chemistry and physics double major from Manhattan Beach, CA, who would have conducted research at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, but will instead conduct research on the cooperative interaction of motor proteins and applications at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD; and
  • Anoush Suni, a Middle East Studies major from Ann Arbor, MI, who would have conducted anthropology research in Syria but instead accepted a Watson Foundation grant to study the oud in Morocco, Armenia and Turkey.

Accepting Fulbright Fellowships to teach English in foreign countries are:

  • Jonathan Gómez, a Spanish major from Coachella, CA, will teach secondary school in Madrid, Spain. His future plans include graduate school.
  • James Kato, a sociology and Asian American studies double major from Fremont, CA, will teach in South Korea. His future plans include a career in student affairs work.
  • Akana Noto, a biology major from Chicago, will teach in South Korea. Her future plans include graduate school work in ecology.
  • Jonathan Peterson, a politics and public policy analysis major from Kelseyville, CA, will teach in Venezuela and research higher education management policies in that country, where higher education is free, with a focus on the changing relationship between the national government and education system.
  • Gladys Reyes, a sociology and Chicano Studies double major from Chicago, will teach in Getafe, Spain. Her future plans include law school and a career in labor law.
  • Jeanne Segil, a social justice studies major from Highland Park, IL, will teach at either the University of Pretoria or the University of Fort Hare in South Africa, while pursuing her interests in human rights and socio-economic justice.

Declining the English Teaching Assistantships are:

  • Max Eulenstein, a philosophy, politics and economics major from Irvine, CA, who would have taught in Germany;
  • Carissa Fletcher, a Chinese and Asian Studies major from Ojai, CA, who would have taught in South Korea;
  • Sarah Miller, a politics and French double major from Centennial, CO, who applied through the French Ministry and would have taught in France; and
  • Justin Royal, a psychology major from Murfreesboro, TN, who would have taught in South Korea.

So far, one Pomona College alumnus has also reported receiving a Fulbright award. Brad Markle ’08, a geology major who currently lives in Corvallis, OR, will travel to New Zealand to work with researchers of the New Zealand Ice Core Program and Victoria University in Wellington, studying Antarctic ice cores to investigate the influence of certain climate drivers on Antarctic climate. These drivers include the El Niño Southern Oscilation and the Antarctic Oscilation, which are important players in the global climate system. His future plans include continuing his climate research and attending graduate school.

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.

Pomona College is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions, offering a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.