Anisha Bhat, Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Anisha Bhat

 

  1. Why did you choose to apply for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship?
    My desire to study in England first arose last summer, when—through SURP funding—I conducted archival research at the British Library for my senior thesis. Through this experience, I realized that studying in the U.K. could provide a vast number of opportunities—such as access to archival resources, eminent scholars, and a variety of research institutes pertinent to my academic interests—that were unavailable in the U.S. Cambridge is also renowned for its history department and faculty, many of whom focus on Africa, India, and the Indian Ocean. Consequently, that summer I immediately began looking into ways to study in the U.K. after graduation, and became extremely excited and hopeful when I discovered the Gates Cambridge.
  2. What graduate program will you enroll in at Cambridge, and what will be your focus in that program?
    I will enroll in the MPhil in World History. The program itself focuses on Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, but my focus will be on the Indian Ocean region. At Cambridge, I hope to further the research I began in my senior thesis on the history of the African diaspora in India.
  3. What are you most looking forward to about your time in Cambridge?
    I am really looking forward to meeting and interacting with my Gates Cambridge cohort. They seem to be a group of fascinating, ardent scholars from all over the world and I hope to get to know them better. Also, I see a lot of similarities between the vision of Gates Cambridge and that of the Posse Foundation, an organization that, as a Posse scholar, has played a transformative role in my time at Pomona. If my Gates Cambridge cohort will be anything like my Posse cohort, I am truly excited to meet them all!
  4. How have your experiences at Pomona prepared you to apply for this award?
    I felt prepared to apply for this award mainly because Pomona really helped me develop my academic interests and allowed me to delve deeply into scholarly experiences even as an undergraduate. I was able to conduct substantial archival research at the British Library and the Archives Nationales d’Outre Mer through SURP funding. Additionally, I was able to curate an exhibit at the Honnold-Mudd Library on Islam in the Indian Ocean. These experiences and others were instrumental in shaping my plans for the future.
  5. What advice would you give to future applicants about the Gates Cambridge application process?
    I would suggest potential applicants start thinking about and discussing the application with your academic advisors as early as possible, since the deadlines come up very quickly in the fall. Additionally, I would encourage future applicants to take full advantage of the information sessions, practice interview sessions, and other resources specifically tailored to British Fellowships offered by the CDO. I found these events immensely helpful when I was floundering through the process. 

Alana Murphy, Fulbright Research Grant to the Philippines

Alana Murphy

 

  1. Why did you choose to apply for a Fulbright research grant? What made you choose the Philippines as your host country?
    I spent time both before and during my Pomona College experience living, working, and conducting research in other countries.  I grew tremendously from these experiences, so I decided to apply for a Fulbright research grant because I wanted to spend more time in this way - learning both about others and myself while living and working cross-culturally.  There is nothing more humbling than working in another country where you do not speak the language or understand the culture.  And there is nothing more satisfying than finding a place for yourself there, learning to speak another language, and listening to and learning from other people who have lived lives both extremely different and strangely similar to your own.
    While I was living in Amman, Jordan from August 2010 to July 2011, I befriended several Filipino women who were working in Jordan as domestic helpers.  These women shared with me stories about working overseas - far away from their homes and family.   Then while studying abroad in Morocco during the fall of 2013, I became involved in a predominantly Filipino Church.  The women in this church welcomed me enthusiastically, showed me pictures of children, boyfriends, and other loved ones back home, and told me stories about the discrimination they faced from employers and other locals.  These women inspired me with their bravery, their compassion, and their honesty.  I applied for a research grant in the Philippines because I want to continue to learn first hand from Filipino migrant workers, and come to better understand what these workers face on a daily basis.
  2. Briefly describe your research project and how you plan to get involved in the local community.
    My research project is focused on Philippine Government policies that promote, regulate, and manage migration of Filipino workers.  I hope to examine ways in which government agencies advocate for Filipinos who encounter poor treatment while working overseas, and investigate how accountability measures could be established to promote better working conditions for migrant workers in the future.  I am really interested in how Filipinos perceive and feel about their government's involvement in both encouraging migration and monitoring overseas Filipino workers. My project seeks to emphasize how states can promote the well being of their migrant workers overseas and ultimately approach migration positively.
    I will be living in Manila for the first three months of my project working with professors at the Ateneo de Manila and The Scalabrini Migration Center learning about and mapping out government migration policies.  I will also be learning Tagalog, and I hope that I will have the opportunity to establish close relationships with locals who will have the patience to help me practice.  I then plan to conduct research in several smaller towns and provincial centers interviewing migrant workers through focus group discussions and case study interviews.  I hope to connect with local churches, migrants' rights organizations, women's groups, and other community based-organizations.  Hopefully after establishing relationships with these institutions, opportunities will arise for me to volunteer or become involved in these community centers and give back in some for way for their assistance with my research.
  3. What are you most looking forward to about your time as a Fulbright fellow?
    I am really looking forward to traveling on my own again, and working to learn a new language.  I am also really thankful to have my overseas aspirations fully funded - quite the relief!
  4. How have your experiences at Pomona prepared you to apply for this fellowship?
    I do not think that my academic classes at Pomona prepared me or inspired me to apply for the Fulbright, but Pomona certainly made a lot of amazing opportunities possible that otherwise would not have been through summer funding and other off campus programs!  Through the Career Development Center, I received funding to work for a refugee resettlement center during the summer of 2013.  I spent fall 2013 semester in Morocco where I conducted field research for the first time.  I was able to participate in the CMC Washington DC program during the spring of 2014 and complete a full time internship with the U.S. Department of State.  And this past summer, I received the Oldenborg Research Grant to conduct research in Amman, Jordan that I used for my senior thesis.  These are the types of experiences that have prepared me for Fulbright, and they would not have been possible without Pomona.
  5. What advice would you give to future applicants about the application process?
    Start your application early, read a lot about whatever topic you are interested in, and ask a lot of questions.  The hardest part of the application is obtaining affiliation letters - don't give up!  Ask anyone and everyone you know who might possibly know someone who could help (or someone who might know someone else who might know someone).  Make sure that you write about why you are personally drawn to the country that you applying for or the topic that you want to research.

Corey Fayne, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in South Korea

Corey Fayne

I have grown fond with working with passionate and motivated middle school students for two consecutive summers during my Breakthrough Collaborative experience as a Writing teacher. As a result, my love for teaching in conjunction with my eagerness to further explore Korean culture in all its glory has led to my staunch decision to apply for a Fulbright ETA in South Korea. The prospect of teaching in the Korean educational context—considering how culturally and politically different it is from American education—highly intrigued me. My thesis explored the implications of cram schools on students and parents in South Korea as well as in Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong, thus serving as another impetus in this regard. Second, after studying abroad both semesters my junior year in Seoul, South Korea, I learned that there are promulgated misconceptions about the Black experience. As a Black cultural ambassador, I will have the privilege of challenging or rectifying these misrepresentations, such that my dance collaborative project of Black and Korean dance aesthetics in the community for which I will work in will create a space that can bridge the gaps of these two cultures. I am excited to explore the unknown or the obscured of South Korea and prepared to face the inevitable challenges that accompany this journey; that is, rather than living and working in the comfort of a city, I intend to work in an area that is neither urban or heavily populated as in Busan or Seoul. With the support and guidance of Pomona and Posse staff/mentors, I have gained the capacity to embrace differences of cultures and the courage to challenge the status quo—learning to practice humility whilst striving to rectify the misconceptions of the Black experience as a Black ETA in South Korea, more specifically. I am also thrilled to build proficiency in the Korean language so that I can materialize my objectives in this context. I urge those of whom aspire to be a future Fulbright awardee to always consider the suggestions of their mentors, though remembering that they have a choice in incorporating their suggestions. Equally important, do not hesitate to be bold or take risks in your essays; the Fulbright committee wants to get a sense of who you are in your writing, not everyone who has helped you.

Dakota Spear, Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Dakota Spear

 

  1. Why did you choose to apply for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship?
    I applied for the Gates Cambridge scholarship because I knew I wanted to explore another country after graduation, while continuing my studies in biology and conservation science. I became interested in Cambridge because it is one of the best places in the world to study ecology, and the research I will do not only will allow me to travel to England, but to Indonesia as well.
  2. What graduate program will you enroll in at Cambridge, and what will be your focus in that program?
    I will earn an MPhil in the Biological Sciences, specifically Zoology. My more particular focus is entomology. I will be studying how different management techniques in oil palm plantations in Sumatra, Indonesia impact spider biodiversity and predation.
  3. What are you most looking forward to about your time in Cambridge?
    I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet other people and learn what fascinating subjects they themselves are exploring. At Pomona, I learned the most by talking with and listening to other people. At a large international university like Cambridge, I am excited to learn as much as I can from continuing this practice.
  4. How have your experiences at Pomona prepared you to apply for this award?
    Exploration of different courses and extracurricular activities at Pomona really helped me to understand my own interests and the field I hope to pursue. The CDO was an invaluable resource for helping me to turn my broad interests into a cohesive story about who I am and what I want to accomplish. I would not have that story without the opportunities at college to try so many new things and be exposed to new ideas and experiences.
  5. What advice would you give to future applicants about the Gates Cambridge application process?
    For general advice, I will say keep your options open. Apply to many things that sound amazing to you. Even the act of deciding which places and programs you want to apply to, and then applying, will help you understand what you want out of those opportunities, and what you can give that no one else can. More specifically for the Gates Cambridge, start your application early. Give yourself time to mull over your own story; this will help you show the scholarship committee why you deserve this opportunity, but will also help you understand your own hopes for the future, and what you can get out of a year studying at Cambridge.

Dillon Dong, Downing Scholarship

Dillon Dong

 

  1. Why did you choose to apply for the Downing Scholarship?
    After I won the Goldwater Scholarship, Jennifer Locke contacted me and suggested that I look into the UK Scholarships, so I did. Most of the scholarships were Cambridge specific so that’s where I started looking. I read through all the webpages of faculty at Cambridge's Institute of Astronomy, and was very excited to find that Professor Rob Kennicutt was working there. (Professor Kennicutt lead the two foundational projects (the Spitzer SINGS and Herschel KINGFISH surveys) that the bulk of my undergraduate research is based off of).  I emailed him and he said that he’d be happy to work with me on an extension of my undergraduate research, so I applied for most of the scholarships that would fund a 1 year research Master’s degree there, including the Downing Scholarship.
  2.  What graduate program will you enroll in at Cambridge, and what will be your focus in that program?
    I will be enrolling in a 1 year MPhil program in Astronomy at Cambridge. The Astronomy MPhil is typically offered only to international students with scholarships like the Downing, Gates and Churchill; most regular students enroll in the MAst (a 1 year course based Master’s degree) or the PhD program. While at Cambridge, I plan to focus on comparing the Very Large Array radio observations of star forming regions in nearby galaxies from my undergraduate research to observations of the same targets in the infrared from SINGS/KINGFISH, ultraviolet from GALEX, Hydrogen-alpha spectral line from archival data, and more. I have a few additional side projects in mind too and will follow up on any interesting leads that turn up from my main project.
  3. What are you most looking forward to about your time in Cambridge?
    The opportunity to collaborate with the amazing people at the IoA and the independence of a flexible job with a walking distance commute. It feels kind of like taking a year off to work with hardly any schedule constraints, or like starting a postdoc early!
    I loved my time at Pomona and enjoyed doing summer research, but I’m definitely looking forward to a change of pace from the usual “go to class, do homework, try to find time for research, repeat” routine of the school year and the “long morning commute, 9-5 workday, long evening commute” routine of summer research (I worked in Pasadena and lived in Claremont/Arcadia).  Pomona has taught me that I’m most happy and productive working odd hours; some days I’ll feel inspired and happily work an 18 hour day, but other days, I’ll be completely unproductive for the whole day. Additionally, since my research can be done almost entirely from a laptop, I can also vary the locations where I work: reading papers in a coffee shop, coming into the office for meetings and social events, and taking walks around campus when I want to reflect on an idea.
  4. How have your experiences at Pomona prepared you to apply for this award?
    Pomona gave me the invaluable opportunity to start research almost the moment I got here, and that experience taught me that science is so much more than the problem sets that I was used to doing in class. Had I not gone to Pomona, I don’t know if I would have even discovered my love of astronomy in the first place. Instead, professors like Phil Choi have inspired me and guided my path to becoming a scientist every step of the way. 
  5. What advice would you give to future applicants about the Downing application process?
    Start applying during the summer! I made the big mistake of waiting until the semester had started to write my personal statement. As a result, I wasn’t able to complete all the applications I wanted, and my classes / grad school applications / theses became overwhelming towards the end of the semester. Applying to scholarships is a lot of work, but don’t let that dissuade you either. There are definitely economies of scale since you can modify and reuse paragraphs and even whole personal statements. I essentially rehashed one of my scholarships essays for all of my grad school personal statements, which saved a ton of time.

Emily Glass, Watson Fellowship

Emily Glass

 

  1. Why did you choose to apply to the Watson Fellowship?
    I chose to apply for the Watson Fellowship because it seemed to afford an extraordinary amount of freedom. I thought the such freedom after my undergraduate education would provide unparalleled opportunities for growth, both intellectually and emotionally. I also chose to apply for the opportunity to travel and learn about the world. Much of my life and education has been U.S.-centric, and the chance to break out of that paradigm was extremely thought provoking. 
  2. Tell us about your Watson project.
    I plan to study international baseball in the Dominican Republic, Curacao, Australia, and Japan. I’m eager to see how baseball flourishes in Latin American countries while its popularity has waned in the United States. My project enters me into a male-dominated sport as a women and allows me to push boundaries. Moreover, my project immerses me in a sport that many deem slow and boring. I want to enter a “slow” game as the time we live in and our communications seem to be ever-quickening. 
  3. What are you most looking forward to about your time as a Watson fellow?
    I am most looking forward to navigating my independence. I think the opportunity and challenge to be on my own will provide new, unimagined experiences. I am also curious to see how baseball, the game deemed “America’s pastime” in the U.S., manifests itself across the world. 
  4. How have your experiences at Pomona prepared you to apply for this award?
    My experiences at Pomona immersed me in a tight-knit community of people from many backgrounds. Thus, I think my time at Pomona began to teach me how to interact and work within communities. I take this knowledge into each world and community I will enter during my 12 month adventure. I look forward to attempting to cultivate a humane existence in the world, and I think Pomona prepared me for this journey. 
  5. What advice would you give to future applicants about the Watson application process?
    My advice to future applicants is simple: start early! I was unsure if my project was possible before reaching out to international baseball communities and asking if I could play baseball, teach English, or act as a fly on a wall. Start early and be eager to make connections that you may or may not be able to take advantage of. My last piece of advice to future applicants is to use your Pomona community to the fullest extent. Talk with faculty and staff members who may know anything about your project or interests. I, myself, could not have applied for this fellowship without the suggestions of Professor Lorn Foster, Professor Art Horowitz, Coach Pericolosi, and many others.

Hannah Wayment-Steele, Churchill Scholarship

 

  1. Why did you choose to apply for the Churchill Scholarship?
    I was very excited about the chance to work with Daan Frenkel at Cambridge, a field leader in theoretical chemistry, which the Churchill scholarship would allow.  I was also excited about the opportunity to live and conduct research abroad before starting graduate school.
  2. What graduate program will you enroll in at Cambridge, and what will be your focus in that program?
    I will be completing an MPhil in Chemistry. I will be a member of the Frenkel research group, which studies the thermodynamics of nanomaterials self-assembly.
  3. What are you most looking forward to about your time in Cambridge?
    I am most looking forward to meeting people, traveling, and sharing experiences with the other Churchill scholars, Cambridge students, and members of my research group.
  4. How have your experiences at Pomona prepared you to apply for this award?
    My research experience in the Chemistry department has helped prepare me for the research aspect, but beyond that, all my classes helped me practice conveying and synthesizing ideas in writing, which really helped in crafting my essays.
  5. What advice would you give to future applicants about the Churchill application process?
    Start early! I started researching professors at Cambridge in the spring of Junior year, I felt this gave me enough time to think about what sort of research I would want to do and to contact professors accordingly. Also start writing essays early, especially your personal statement.

Manya Janowitz, Fulbright Research Grant to Morocco

 

  1. Why did you choose to apply for a Fulbright research grant? What made you choose Morocco as your host country?
     I studied abroad in Morocco last year and did some research on effects of the February 20th Movement (their ‘Arab Spring’) particularly in regard to gender dynamics. One of the people I interviewed drew my attention to an ongoing problem between microfinance companies and their women clients in Ouarzazate, a province in southern rural Morocco. According to these clients, the loan policies were unfair and proved impossible to pay back, creating more debt for these already low-income families. Much of what I have focused on in my studies at Pomona concerns theories of international development; I am wary of the role business plays in development, and while microfinance is perhaps not as blindly accepted as it was some years ago, its development logic still holds sway. I think that it’s crucial to critically examine these dominant development theories from feminist and human rights perspectives. I decided to apply for a Fulbright grant to carry this research out.
  2. Briefly describe your research project and how you plan to get involved in the local community.
    My research concerns the efficacy of microfinance institutions in rural Morocco, those companies that give out small “micro” loans to (primarily) women with the general idea that this start-up capital will enable them to earn sustainable incomes and eventually bring them out of poverty. In Ouarzazate, the region where I’ll be based, 4500 women in the past 4 years have come together to protest unfair loan policies; many demonstrated by refusing to pay back their loans, and one particular company has retaliated by imprisoning and fining two of the lead activists on account of slander and fraud. I’ll be using this court case as a lens through which to examine the policies and effects of microfinance institutions on people, particularly women, in this region. In Ouarzazate, I plan on joining a few student organizations at the local University.
  3. What are you most looking forward to about your time as a Fulbright fellow?
    I’m excited to talk with and learn from families receiving these loans. The most fulfilling aspect of my previous time abroad has been the relationships I’ve made with people of different backgrounds, ideas, and worldviews. I’m excited to learn from the people and communities I’m surrounded by. I’m also looking forward to living in a rural region of Morocco, to see how it compares to life in the capital city (where I was based on study abroad). Oh, and I’ve been dreaming about the food ever since I left!
  4. How have your experiences at Pomona prepared you to apply for this fellowship?
    My professors have been challenging, thought-provoking, and wonderfully encouraging, I would not have applied without access to this sort of critical thinking or support. Through them I have learned to question power structures and the knowledge which accompanies. My fellow classmates have also been inspirational and quite formative in deciding to push myself to apply.
  5. What advice would you give to future applicants about the application process?
    Look for host institutions early – you don’t want to have a killer application but not apply because you weren’t able to find an affiliate in time! Give yourself plenty of time to shape your essays. Your research should not only be something you’re passionate about working on, but also a logical culmination of your academic and intellectual journey—show the Fulbright commission why this is your project.

Ramon Caleon, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Indonesia

Ramon Caleon

 

  1. Why did you choose to apply for a Fulbright? What made you choose Indonesia as your host country?
    One thing I learned from my semester in Salamanca is that, obvious as it may be to some people, there's a lot of the world I have yet to see. Having recently graduated from Pomona, I feel that now is the ideal time to continue seeing more of the world, and Fulbright is the perfect opportunity to do that. I chose Indonesia because I wanted to work in a country that was part of maritime Southeast Asia; as a 1.5 generation Filipino American, I wanted to explore more of my identity as a Southeast Asian.
  2. Briefly describe the work you will be doing in Indonesia, including how you plan to get involved in the local community.
    The bulk of my work will be to assist a local high school English teacher. Other grantees in the past have also launched speech contests, facilitated lessons for community English camps, and managed extracurricular activities. As an ETA grantee, I plan to engage with the Indonesian community by volunteering with a local hospital, conservation organization, or a wildlife rescue.
  3. What are you most looking forward to about your time as a Fulbright fellow?/ How have your experiences at Pomona prepared you to apply for this fellowship?
    The thing that I look forward to the most is this feeling (although I wouldn't jump to say expectation) that the next year will be an extension/application of my liberal arts training at Pomona College. As a biology major, I'm excited to live in a nation which features such great biodiversity as well as the Wallace Line (a boundary separating the ecozones of Asia and Australia. As a Spanish minor, I'm thrilled to learn (and hopefully become proficient) in another language. I'm excited to put all my various experiences with youth (from after school programs to tutoring) to an actual classroom. As someone who explored his Asian American identity while at Pomona, I'm interested to see how my definitions/ideologies of "Southeast Asian" will be redefined/developed during my year in Indonesia. Lastly, ignited by my semester in Salamanca, I look forward to living in another part of the world.
  4. What advice would you give to future applicants about the application process?
    • When selecting a country, don't initially limit yourself to a specific region of the world. At the beginning, I only focused on Spanish-speaking countries before realizing that I was excluding a great chunk of the rest of the globe.
    • Genuinely reflect about your past years in Pomona. With all activities and commotion, it's easy to forget about the little things that may have actually influenced you and provided you with that experience to become a highly qualified applicant.
    • Use your resources! (professors, the Writing Center, the CDO, your friends) They're all there to support you in the process, as well as lend a pair of eyes to edit your essays.

Ricardo Morales, Fulbright English Assistantship in Mexico

Ricardo Morales

 

  1. Why did you choose to apply for a Mexico? What made you choose Mexico as your host country?
    I chose Mexico because I had a genuine interest in experiencing life and working in the country my parents used to call home. Although Mexico is only a short trip across a critically politicized border, culture and society is starkly different when compared to its northern neighbors. I was interested in parsing out the differences through teaching English and strengthening the understanding, while deconstructing the misunderstandings, that traverse the U.S.-Mexico border.
  2. Briefly describe the work you will be doing in Mexico, including how you plan to get involved in the local community.
    My role as an ETA requires that I teach English classes to students in Mexico. Apart from this responsibility, I hope to set up community-centered art workshops throughout the city. I am structuring many of these workshops to foster a space where participants learn stories from those in their communities and to bolster the importance and appreciation of art techniques and production.
  3. What are you most looking forward to about your time as a Fulbright fellow?
    I am looking forward to connecting with those around me, those that share my history in ways I have yet to understand, and to ultimately increasing mutual understanding of different backgrounds. I have heard so many wonderful experiences from those who have pursued a Fulbright in the past and I am hoping to have similar moments of mutual benefit and understanding from my time in Mexico.
  4. How have your experiences at Pomona prepared you to apply for this fellowship?
    My time at Pomona helped in fostering an ability to explain my passions. The Fulbright application calls for a connection between the work you will be doing under the fellowship and the activities and leadership roles you held throughout the years. Pomona definitely pushed me to follow what interested me academically and socially, characteristics that I made sure to emphasize in my application.
  5. What advice would you give to future applicants about the application process?
    Start early, of course. I focused a lot on making sure I expressed the qualities and past experiences that would make a Fulbright the next logical step for me. I think Fulbright primarily makes sure if you are qualified in terms of past experiences in teaching and do place an emphasis on these experiences in your statements. Also, ask multiple sets of eyes to review statements. Friends, professors, and mentors will surely be able to provide some feedback.

Robert Goldman, Fulbright Research Grant to New Zealand

Robert Goldman

 

  1. Why did you choose to apply for a Fulbright research grant? What made you choose New Zealand as your host country?
    I chose to apply for a Fulbright research grant in New Zealand because I wanted to take advantage of an incredible opportunity to conduct geologic research in one of the most volcanologically and seismically active places on the planet. I was especially eager to apply to New Zealand since all my friends and classmates who studied abroad there had fantastic experiences!
  2. Briefly describe the work you will be doing in New Zealand, including how you plan to get involved in the local community.
    For my research project, I will be developing and implementing models of the formation and evolution of the Banks peninsula’s ancient (roughly 10 million-year-old) volcanic system. My goal is to improve our understanding of the physical processes that governed the development of these and related systems, which will contribute to the much larger effort of improving hazard assessments of active volcanoes worldwide. As I learn more about the Banks peninsula’s geologic history, I will share what I have learned with local Maori tribes, and from them learn about the cultural history of their ancestral home.
  3. What are you most looking forward to about your time as a Fulbright fellow?
    I am looking forward to the whole experience of conducting groundbreaking research in a new community nearly halfway around the world! I also look forward to growing as both a scientist and person, and forming friendships and building connections with members of the academic and local communities that will last a lifetime.
  4. How have your experiences at Pomona prepared you to apply for this fellowship?
    Pomona has prepared me for this fellowship in several ways. My rigorous coursework in geology, physics, and mathematics, as well as my summer research experiences and senior thesis project, have prepared me well for the task of conducting a large, independent, graduate-level research project in physical volcanology. Thanks to Pomona’s small class sizes and collaborative atmosphere, I have learned how to communicate my ideas effectively and work conductively with my peers, skills that have made me a stronger scientist. My classmates and professors have also exposed me to new ideas and ways of thinking, which will help me solve the many intriguing and unfamiliar problems I will encounter during my research in New Zealand. Finally, I would not have been awarded a Fulbright Research Grant without the support of my advisors and recommenders at both the Career Development Office (including Jennifer Locke and Kyla Tompkins) and within the geology department (including Professors Eric Grosfils and Linda Reinen).
  5. What advice would you give to future applicants about the application process?
    If you have even a remote interest in applying for a Fulbright grant, go for it! The CDO provides plenty of useful resources for learning about and going through the application process. Try to start as early as possible, to give yourself time to think carefully about where you would like to apply and what type of grant project (or teaching opportunity) you would like to pursue. Even if you don’t start the process right away, it’s not too late as long as the primary application deadlines (which start in mid September) have not passed! The CDO is very enthusiastic about helping as many students achieve their Fulbright goals as possible, so do not be afraid to ask them for help, even if you missed a few deadlines. Had I not asked the CDO to help me with my application after missing July’s preliminary application deadline, I would not have been awarded a Fulbright grant! Establishing reliable contacts and concrete plans/goals are crucial for a successful application. It is also important that you demonstrate how you are a good fit for your project, and how strong a fit your project is for your host country. Finally, to ensure that you communicate your ideas effectively, have people from several different disciplines read and critique your statements, and don’t hesitate to ask current and previous Fulbright fellows for their advice!

Spencer Heim, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in South Korea

Spencer Heim

 

  1. Why did you choose to apply for a Fulbright? What made you choose South Korea as your host country?
    I was interested in the Fulbright because I wanted to gain real-world English teaching experience before heading off to graduate school. The Fulbright Program in particular interested me because it covered essentially all the costs of international travel, provided training and housing, and is of course a very prestigious program recognized internationally. I had been interested in South Korea throughout my time at Pomona and even took Korean classes for four semesters, but I had not yet had the chance to actually go to the country, and I wanted to both gain firsthand experience and expand my knowledge even further.
  2. Briefly describe the work you will be doing in South Korea, including how you plan to get involved in the local community.
    I'll be working as an English Teaching Assistant, working with a Korean English teacher to create lesson plans and activities that will teach English grammar to Korean students. The South Korean Fulbright program is also unique in that we are required to live with a host family our first year. I'm hoping to both attend and participate in international cultural exchange opportunities, sharing my experiences living in America both in and out of the classroom. I'm particularly interested in South Korea's booming entertainment industry, including Korean pop music, cinema, and television dramas, and I'd love to use pop culture as an engaging starting off point to create dialogue comparing Korean and American media culture.
  3. What are you most looking forward to about your time as a Fulbright fellow?
    I'm looking forward to improving my Korean language skills while also gaining teaching skills working in the classroom. I'm also looking forward to getting to know my fellow Fulbright grant recipients during our six week orientation at the start, hopefully making some lifelong friends in the process.
  4. How have your experiences at Pomona prepared you to apply for this fellowship?
    During my time at Pomona, I've had ample opportunity to travel abroad, having done international research through the Pacific Basin Institute and the Oldenborg Grant already in addition to studying abroad in Tokyo my Junior year. I think that having plenty of experiences abroad have made me comfortable with all the adjustments that come with living abroad for an extended period of time and made me okay even when language barriers and cultural differences create difficult situations. Of course, my classes on East Asia, particularly Korea, and Linguistics have instilled lots of interest in the region and in language education as a whole that inspired me to apply for the fellowship in the first place.
  5. What advice would you give to future applicants about the application process?
    Choosing which country you want to apply to may be an easy decision for some, but for me, it was one of the toughest decisions  to make because so many of the programs looked interesting. I spent hours digging through the Fulbright website, comparing different countries' ETA programs and reading previous Fulbrighters' experiences on each of them. When your advisors tell you to "start early," this is one of the most important things to do before you can even think about writing. However, all that thought you put in to choosing a country and your reasons for it will make your essays come that much more naturally. Take the time to really investigate lots of different countries, even those you might not have really considered before, until you're confident you've found one that matches your interests. If you've found a match, it should be easy to make it clear in your essays why you're the perfect fit!

Tessa Bertozzi, Downing Scholarship

Tessa Bertozzi

 

  1. Why did you choose to apply for the Downing Scholarship?
    Having made up my mind that I wanted to pursue a research career, the Downing Scholarship seemed like a great opportunity and natural next step in that direction, especially since I had always planned on spending time abroad after graduating from Pomona. I was sold after browsing Google images of historic Cambridge pubs and finding a great lab focused on mammalian genetics led by an inspiring woman scientist.
  2. What graduate program will you enroll in at Cambridge, and what will be your focus in that program?
    I will pursue a PhD in Genetics, focusing on the effects of in utero undernourishment on the intergenerational transmission of metabolic disease.
  3. What are you most looking forward to about your time in Cambridge?
    I’m most looking forward to getting to know the Cambridge community, including both students and faculty members. I’m sure exchanging life stories will be very interesting in such an international and renowned institution.
  4. How have your experiences at Pomona prepared you to apply for this award?
    The wonderful professors in the biology department provided me with a great foundation and the SURP program allowed me to gain vital research experience. Taking classes in other departments as part of my liberal arts education and playing on the 5C Ultimate Frisbee team also gave me tools I would otherwise be lacking. Finally, the CDO did an excellent job of helping me through the application process and encouraging me to think about my future before I thought to do so myself.
  5. What advice would you give to future applicants about the Downing application process?
    I would say contact potential supervisors at Cambridge early over the summer—it’ll make fall semester way less stressful. I found looking through research lab websites and reading recent publications a great way of figuring out whether a given lab would be a good fit. I would also advise people to take advantage of the resources the CDO has to offer: summer advising, essay editing, practice interviews, etc.