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Vassar College numbers among top U.S. bachelor’s institutions for producing Fulbright recipients in 2011-12.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—  Vassar College ranks sixth nationally among U.S. liberal arts colleges for number of student recipients of 2011-12 Fulbright Fellowships, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. The complete list of colleges and universities that produced the most 2011-12 U.S. Fulbright Students is highlighted in the October 23 online edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.
“This is the seventh year that Vassar College is among the top ten of Fulbright student recipients in the country,” noted Lisa Kooperman, director of the Office of Fellowships and Pre-Health Advising. “Of the 41 students and alumnae/i whom we supported this year, six received fellowships.”
Four members of Vassar’s class of 2011 (Olivia Arguinzoni,  Christine Cruz, Jane Manchon, and Jessica Peng) and two recent alumnae/i (Diana Heise ’01, Gabrielle Kotkov ’10) were awarded Fulbright Fellowships for research, graduate study, or English teaching assistantships (ETA) abroad for 2011-12.
Each year Vassar's Office of Fellowships and Pre-Health Advising supports approximately 40 students in their applications for Fulbright grants to research, study, or teach abroad.

About the recipients

Olivia Arguinzoni ’11 (Bronx, NY)  received an ETA to teach in Brazil as she said she is “specifically interested in teaching English in Brazil to be a part of the growing connection between the United States and Brazil. I bring enthusiasm, proficiency in Portuguese, and an already established foundation with Brazilian culture.”

Christine Cruz ’11 (Bronx, NY) received an ETA to teach in Spain as she said she wants to ensure that children have positive educational experiences; I will learn from my students as they learn from me. In Spain, I hope to reconcile what it means to be Hispanic and the differences between Latino/a, Hispanic, and Spanish.”

Artist Diana Heise ’01 (Kansas City, MO and North Hero, VT) will travel to Mauritius to “produce performance works that respond to and incorporate the creative traditions of literature, maroonage, and dance developed by Mauritians to challenge the oppression of labor diaspora. These pieces will be videotaped and combined with other performances produced in New Orleans and the Caribbean. This project aims to make positive associations between diaspora communities in Mauritius, America, and the Caribbean to inspire greater mutual understanding.” At the Kansas City Art Institute, Heise is special assistant professor of photography and digital filmmaking. (http://www.dianaheise.com/)

Gabrielle Kotkov ’10 (New York, NY) received an ETA to teach in Italy where she said she will be fully immersed in Italian culture, refining Italian language skills and exchanging perspectives and experiences with students and with other people I meet. Outside of the classroom, I will also take art history and culture classes at the local university, and hope to volunteer at a local art museum.”

Jane Manchon ’11 (Houston, TX) received an ETA to teach in Thailand and noted that she is “uniquely qualified to teach English because I am a creative writer, published poet, speaker of two foreign languages, and halfway through a TESOL certification course. I think Thailand will be a very hospitable environment for a new, enthusiastic teacher, and presents a year long experience unlike anything else I've encountered.”

Jessica Peng ’11 (Syosset, NY) received an ETA to teach in Indonesia and is “interested in comparative education in various developing economies, particularly those in Asia. I have had several experiences living in Asia. Additionally, I have training in English teaching (CELTA) and have taught in Vietnam for six months. Indonesia appeals to me in particular for its large and influential economy, both on the regional scale and global scale, and its diverse demographic.”

About the Fulbright Program

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education, and athletics. Forty Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 75 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes. Prominent Fulbright alumni include: Muhammad Yunus, managing director and founder, Grameen Bank, and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient; John Atta Mills, President of Ghana; Lee Evans, Olympic Gold Medalist; Ruth Simmons, President, Brown University; Riccardo Giacconi, physicist and 2002 Nobel Laureate; Amar Gopal Bose, chairman and founder, Bose Corporation; Renee Fleming, soprano; Gish Jen, writer; and Daniel Libeskind, architect.

Fulbright recipients are among over 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. For more than 60 years, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has funded and supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education. For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit http://fulbright.state.gov.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Monday, November 14, 2011