Sixteen Pomona College Alumni Receive Fulbright Award

A class is held outdoors on beautiful Marston Quad.

Sixteen recent Pomona alumni have been awarded Fulbright grants for the 2024-2025 cycle, matching last year’s number of awardees which made Pomona a top producer of Fulbright students.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the flagship international educational program sponsored by the U.S. government and funds American citizens to study, conduct research or teach English abroad.

“Pomona students have long been promising candidates for Fulbright: their intellectual depth and intercultural capacity, often honed through language and overseas study, positions them well for academic and cultural exchange—the heart of Fulbright’s mission,” says Jason Jeffrey, assistant director, fellowships & career advising at Pomona’s Career Development Office.

Jeffrey explains that candidates are aided by an internal process at Pomona, which includes a summer pre-application and faculty advisors who assist with application development.

Following are the recipients and brief descriptions of how they will carry out their Fulbright award:

Malia Battafarano ’24, a Spanish major, will pursue a master’s degree in Latin American literature in Mexico. She will study disability within Latin American culture and looks forward to gaining an academic understanding of disability as well as increasing her cultural competence.

Samuel Bither ’21, an international relations major, will conduct ethnographic field work at traditional fishing communities in the Azores in Portugal to assess how their way of life is threatened as the climate changes and fish populations dwindle.

Kai Carse ’24, an international relations major, will be an English teaching assistant in Mexico. Through a supplemental project, he plans to share his experience gained in the American wilderness while learning about Mexican conservation efforts.

Jenny Chen ’24, a psychological science major, will be an English teaching assistant in Taiwan. She hopes to build community by volunteering at a local bookstore or immersing herself in the local dance scene.

Schuyler DiBacco ’24, a molecular biology major, will investigate CRD-independent Wnt signaling at the National Institute of Genetics in Mishima, Japan. He looks forward to becoming a better scientist through the experience as well as improving his ability to communicate in Japanese.

Teodelina Martelli ’24, a biology major, will perform outreach to isolated and underserved communities through the Chilean Andes, investigate the relationship between conservationists and Indigenous people in Chile, and tell the story of condor conservation in the Andes.

Michael Negussie ’21, a politics major, will launch a public debate program for high school students in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the aim of forming the country’s first international debate team. Following the Fulbright, he will pursue an MA in Global Thought at Columbia University.

Nelia Perry ’24, a molecular biology major, will conduct research at the Australian Museum Research Institute. Her project will address current knowledge gaps critical for the conservation of endangered native land snails on Lord Howe Island.

Wiley Roberts ’24, a history major, will be an English teaching assistant in Uzbekistan. He has immersed himself in the country’s medieval history through his scholarly work on the Timurid Empire and the Persian cultural world, and he looks forward to experiencing the region in person and making lasting connections and friendships.

Melissa Seecharan ’24, a molecular biology and English double major, will evaluate the biological and sociodemographic factors that promote the spread of vector-borne diseases in rural Ecuadorian communities, in collaboration with the Center for the Research on Health in Latin America.

Claire Chang ’24, Lydia Haile ’22, Charis Kim ’24, Genevieve Krieger ’24, Christiana Marchese ’24 and Sophia Ristuben ’24 each were offered a Fulbright award but declined it.