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Ten Syracuse University Students, Alumni Receive 2020-21 Fulbright Student Awards
Next year, Emma Ettinger ’17 plans to work on a master’s degree in Shakespeare and creativity in the United Kingdom. Gwendolyn Burke ’20 plans to teach English and American culture to students in Vietnam.
Leah Garlock ’16 hopes to encourage students in South Korea to seek out cross-cultural experiences. Joshua Ratel-Khan ’20 wants to create a public speaking club for students in Colombia.
The four are among the 10 Syracuse University students and alumni who will make impacts around the globe as 2020-21 recipients of awards through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Ten students were also chosen as alternates. This year, a record 44 Syracuse University students applied to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and 29 were named as semifinalists.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most recipients will begin their placements after Jan. 1, 2021, contingent on travel advisories lifting.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program funds a number of different awards that include English teaching assistantships (ETA) and study/research grants in over 140 countries.
The Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA) will hold two upcoming information sessions for students interested in applying for Fulbright awards for the 2021-22 program cycle. The first session was held on April 24. Students should register to receive a Zoom link and password to attend the second information session on Friday, May 1, from 2-3 p.m. Juniors, seniors, graduate students and alumni who are interested in studying, conducting research or teaching English abroad after graduation are encouraged to attend. Fulbright applicants must be U.S. citizens at the time of application. Questions can be directed to Melissa Welshans, assistant director of CFSA, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year’s Fulbright recipients include:
- Samar Al Any ’19, a psychology graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences, ETA, Turkey;
- Gwendolyn Burke ’20, an international relations major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and a public relations major in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, ETA, Vietnam;
- Santita Ebangwese ’19, G’20, a graduate student in biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, study grant, Paris-Saclay;
- Erin Elliott ’20, an English and textual studies major and a fine arts major in the College of Arts and Sciences, a public relations major in the Newhouse School and a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program, ETA, Norway;
- Emma Ettinger ’17, a stage management graduate from the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Study UK, University of Birmingham;
- Leah Garlock ’16, a communications design graduate from the College of Visual and Performing Arts, ETA, South Korea;
- Jamie Lustig ’20, a Spanish and neuroscience major in the College of Arts and Sciences, ETA, Spain;
- Katherine MacDonald, a Ph.D. candidate in geography in the Maxwell School, research grant, Tajikistan;
- Joshua Ratel-Khan G’20, a second-year master’s degree student in communication and rhetorical studies in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, ETA, Colombia; and
- Mackenzie Ryan ’19, a policy studies and political science graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School and a current M.P.A student in the Maxwell School, ETA, Taiwan.
This year’s Fulbright alternates include:
- Adam Bayer ’20, an information management and technology major in the School of Information Studies, a philosophy major in the College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program, ETA, Greenland;
- Brandy Boden ’20, a studio arts M.F.A. major in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, study grant, Ireland-Dublin City Gallery;
- Lauren Borg ’20, a history major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School and social studies education major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education, ETA, Belgium;
- Myles Chalue ’16, a philosophy and psychology graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences and a master’s student in higher education in the School of Education, ETA, Colombia;
- Eve Critelli ’20, an inclusive elementary and special education major in the School of Education and member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program, ETA, Thailand;
- Tajanae Harris ’20, an anthropology major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School and member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program, research grant, Germany;
- Stephanie Hausman ’20, an advertising major in the Newhouse School and marketing major in the Whitman School of Management, ETA, Macau;
- Taylor Krzeminski ’20, a citizenship and civic engagement major in the Maxwell School, an international relations major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School and a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program, ETA, Lithuania;
- Cayla Sharp ’20, an international relations major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School, ETA, South Korea; and
- Azarius Williams ’20, a finance major in the Whitman School and a sociology major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School, research grant, Cambodia.
Ettinger was drawn to studying in the UK by University of Birmingham’s master’s degree program, which combines literary analysis of Shakespeare with the opportunity for creative responses to his works. She was also looking for a place where Shakespeare is an essential part of the culture and the theatrical landscape. “We certainly value Shakespeare in United States as well, but it’s really fascinating to have the opportunity to look at the ways that the approach is different in the UK—and particularly to do so in Stratford, which is home to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Royal Shakespeare Company.”
She is excited to get to know the cohort of UK Fulbrights, who come from a wide range of academic disciplines. “Ralph Zito (chair of VPA’s Department of Drama) always reminded us that as theater artists, we have to be students of the world,” she says. “I love that working with a given play can be a reason to learn about any number of topics ‘outside my field,’ so I always value opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration—to learn new things and to gain new perspectives on the things I do know. My hope for this degree is to gain new creative perspectives on both the things I know and the things I do not yet know about Shakespeare.”
Burke’s international relations studies have focused on Asia, primarily East and Southeast Asia. She also has minors in economics and Chinese. “Through both my studies and my own travel experience in the region, I have developed an interest in Asian cultures and how cultural values influence economic development and modernization,” she says. “Vietnam especially is undergoing rapid growth and is at an intersection where traditional values are meeting Western influences as the country continues to develop.”
Her public relations background has given her an understanding of the importance and power of communication and storytelling in learning about and understanding others. “I believe the students I’ll teach as an ETA will offer a unique insight into what it’s like to be at this cultural crossroads, which will make for engaging language practice in the classroom as well as significant cross-cultural dialogue,” Burke says. “In the future, I am interested in working in economic development in Asia, and the skills I will learn as an ETA will help prepare me to communicate effectively and work collaboratively with communities.”
Garlock, a Korean American adoptee, grew up attending and teaching at a Korean adoptee summer camp. “While I lived in a diverse community, much of my understanding of South Korea and what it means to be Korean has been developed from afar,” she says. “Along with my professional goals, I chose to apply to South Korea because I wanted to fully immerse myself into the culture in order to better understand the history, people and language.”
Her community project involves teaching art and language to kids. “Art is a great way for kids to learn without feeling the pressures and rigidity that school and classrooms often bring,” she says. “By creating a safe, fun and open environment to learn language, I hope to encourage my students to continue seeking out cross-cultural experiences in whatever form that might take for them.”
Garlock, who has minored in communications photography in the Newhouse School, currently works for a design agency focused on social impact. Her projects have shaped her growing interests in the overlap of design, art and education. “My goal is to take all that I’ve learned as a Fulbright ETA and create design systems and projects that are culturally sensitive and accessible to diverse audiences,” she says.
Spanish classes gave Ratel-Khan a fondness for and interest in Colombia. “I think that a lot of people have misconceptions and perpetuate stereotypes about the country because of its history of drug trade and violence, but a lot has changed,” he says. “It is very inspiring the way that Colombia and its citizens have responded and persevered.”
Ratel-Khan has competed in speech and debate and currently teaches a presentational speaking course. “I want to bring something similar to Colombia and help students practice English by talking about things they are passionate about,” he says. “What I am most excited to learn about are different Colombian experiences and I look forward to interacting with a wide range of people. I think that these interpersonal interactions will stick with me for life and change the way that I perceive and engage with the world.”
After this experience, Ratel-Khan wants to work with Spanish-speaking immigrant communities in the United States and advocate for their needs to governmental entities. “I am especially interested in helping immigrants who are gender-diverse and/or sexual minorities as they face more obstacles when transitioning to life in the U.S,” Ratel-Khan says.