Unprecedented in its 75-year history, last year the Fulbright U.S. Student Program suspended all research fellowships and teaching assistantships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s grantee cohort will consist of 2020-2021 Fulbrighters as well as 2021-2022 awardees. Pomona College winners for 2021-2022 are:
Alexa Bayangos ’21, a math major and Asian American studies minor from Redwood City, California, will teach English in Thailand. As an athlete herself, Bayangos hopes to foster interest in basketball by organizing a skills camp for the youth in her host community. She also intends to provide workshops highlighting social issues within athletics, including gender inequality, body image issues and mental health stigma.
Martha Castro ’21, a molecular biology major from Orinda, California, will go to Sweden with a research award. Her project seeks to identify protein biomarkers, or identifiers, for enterovirus infection-induced damage to pancreatic beta cells, which would provide a non-invasive method for Type 1 diabetes prediction and diagnosis in asymptomatic patients. Among her planned activities in her host country, Castro will join Karolinska Institute (KI) Center for Infectious Medicine’s Global Friends organization, which works to promote connections between Swedish and international students.
Adam Dvorak ’21, a physics major from Santa Rosa, California, will conduct research in Denmark studying the effects of extreme weather events. In his project, he will be searching for patterns and trends using machine learning and determining which combination of variable renewable energy sources and associated storage is needed to have power at all points of the year, creating a system able to withstand extreme weather events. While in Denmark, Dvorak aims to teach violin.
Ethan Ong ’21, a math major and Chinese minor from Bellevue, Washington, will teach in Taiwan and hopes to host “food-telling” events. At these events, Ong will share a personal story about himself, accompanying the story with food that has an associated emotional connection. These would take the form of regular snack events or potlucks where community members can share their stories with one another.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is “sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries.”