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2008-2009 Fellowship Winners Announced

Compton Mentor Fellowship

Elizabeth "Libby" Murphy

Ms. Murphy will be working on a project for the year entitled: Tidal Power Developing a Community Vision for a Sustainable Northeast

"For my Mentor Fellowship I would like to conduct an independent technical study of the tidal power capacity of the Northeast coastline, coordinate community interest and produce my findings through a creative website." Libby plans to conduct a detailed evaluation of the entire Northeast coastline, from New Jersey to Maine and hopes that this year will leave her with a valuable understanding of the industry technology, policy and economics The goal is to work directly with organizations and the community to create a common goal of technology and resource development to ultimately create regional sustainability. Roger Bason, President of Natural Currents LLC will serve as her mentor.

Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

Dane Roth

On behalf of the Vassar College Committee on Fellowships, I am pleased to announce that Dane Roth, a triple major in Political Science, Asian Studies, and Chinese has been awarded the Watson Fellowship for independent study and travel outside the United States for 2008-2009. Mr. Roth will travel to People's Republic of China and Taiwan (Republic of China) to investigate his topic “The Characters on the Wall: Graffiti as a Political Voice in China”.

Mr. Roth plans to “examine the use and development of graffiti in China as a means for politically disenfranchised groups to spread their political and social messages. The political and cultural history of China provides the basis for a unique interaction with graffiti, both as a means of political protest and as an art form. For my project I will travel to various locations in China meeting with graffiti communities and artists to discover their motivations and attitudes about graffiti.”

Fifty selective private liberal arts colleges are members of the Watson program and each may nominate either 2 or 4 seniors. Out 175 finalists, 50 new Fellows were selected. Each will receive $25,000 for their year of travel and informal study. As the 40th class of Watson Fellows, they’ll span 102 countries, exploring topics ranging from child soldiers to ant colony behavior to heirloom seed preservation. A RISD designer will study emergency and post-emergency shelter designs. A writer from Middlebury will gather stories of the subterranean. A Scripps College linguist will investigate language extinction.

THE THOMAS J. WATSON FELLOWSHIP: “The Foundation provides Fellows an opportunity for a focused and disciplined Wanderjahr of their own devising a period in which they can have some surcease from the lockstep of prescribed educational and career patterns in order to explore with thoroughness a particular interest. During their year abroad, Fellows have an unusual, sustained, and demanding opportunity to take stock of themselves, to test their aspiration and abilities, to view their lives and American society in greater perspective, and, concomitantly, to develop a more informed sense of international concern.” (2004-2005 Brochure)

Fulbright Fellowships

Frederick Deknatel '08 has been awarded a Fulbright grant to Syria. He will study Modern Standard Arabic at the Arabic Language Center at the University of Damascus, while practicing colloquial Arabic in courses and in everyday encounters and travels within Syria. Language study would be supplemented by independent preliminary research, via local archives and interviews, into a social history of Damascus, particularly the historical preservation and incorporation of the Old City into the modern capital. He has also received a Critical Language Enhancement Award through the Fulbright program to support his language studies.

Jacob Rivkin '07 has been awarded a Fulbright grant to China where he will learn traditional Chinese landscape painting in Hangzhou, China at the International College China Academy of Art. He will use the training he receives there as a way to gain a better understanding of how to balance improvisational brushstroke technique and a focused methodology. It is a year-long non-degree program in which he plans to develop his already existing Chinese language skills.

Lucy Robins '08 has been awarded an ETA to Chile. She also plans to look for a position as a teaching assistant in the local secondary school.She would like to work in a secondary science classroom, either as a tutor or a teacher's aid creating environmental science curricula and field excursions.

Morgan Warners '08 has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowships for Study Abroad to pursue an MA in American Studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He will also participate in an internship at the human rights organization Choice for Youth.

Maguerite O'Haire '08 has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowships for Study Abroad to Australia to work at the Centre for Companion Animal Health at the University of Queensland to study the effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy on adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. 2012 update: Maggie continued at The University of Queensland and is completing her PhD in Psychology... check out her presentation on work she has completed over the course of her time there.

Emma Woelk '08 has been awarded a Fulbright grant to Germany to study health care and social services for the disabled in the German Democratic Republic. She plans to use the academic and archival resources, along with personal interviews, to assess the extent to which the development of services for and attitudes towards the disabled were affected by the German past and differed from the development process in the FRG.

Erin Bergevin '08 has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Germany. While in Germany, she hopes to create an Internet-based program for overseas communication between German students learning English and American students learning German. She also plans to conduct a small study on the function of music in early childhood education settings.

Tracey Blasenheim '08 has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Turkey. While not teaching in the classroom Tracey plans to research the Battle of Gallipoli and the implications of this bloody conflict on the field of International Relations Theory. More specifically he plans to examine the ways in which the battle is remembered in the war memorials, novels, films, and memories of the Turkish people, and to analyze the impact of these modes of remembrance on contemporary Turkish international diplomacy.

Anna Volk '08 has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Columbia. Anna plans to do volunteer work when she is not in the classroom, perhaps at a local battered women's shelter.

More information about the Fulbright Fellowships for Study Abroad competition 

Barry M. Goldwater Honorable Mention

Richard Langford '09 has been awarded "honorable mention" by the Barry M Goldwater scholarship and Excellence in Education program.

James Madison

Patrick Morgan '08 has been awarded a James Madison Memorial Fellowship to fund his Masters of Arts in Teaching.