Fulbright Fellowships Awarded
Three seniors and an alumna are latest recipients of the prestigious honor
May 17, 2011
Anum Khan ‘11 sits atop a stone wall in Al-Azhar Park in Cairo. She will return to Egypt as a Fulbright grant recipient.
Four Dickinsonians are the latest recipients of awards under the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The program offers fellowships for graduating seniors and graduate students to study, conduct research or teach English abroad. Anum Khan ’11 and Sarah Brnich ’11 received research grants, while Kathryn McNamara ’11 and Glenda Garcia ’09 garnered English Teaching Assistantships.
Anum Khan ’11
Khan, a Middle East-studies major and Posse Foundation Scholar from Jackson Heights, N.Y., was awarded a Fulbright Research Grant for Egypt, where she will study how nongovernmental women’s rights organizations operate in Cairo and how they collaborate with law enforcement in dealing with sexual violence. Khan also will pursue a master’s in gender and women’s studies in the Middle East/North Africa at the American University in Cairo (AUC).
“What first attracted me to Dickinson College was the statistic that more than half of Dickinsonians study abroad at some point in their college career,” said Khan. During her study-abroad year, she attended AUC, taking Arabic and classes such as Women, Islam and the State and Marriage and Family in the Medieval and Early-Modern Middle East.
“These classes gave me a better idea of the career path I wanted to pursue, which includes clarifying the misunderstandings some people, both in the U.S. and in Egypt, have about women and the laws—derived from Sharia or Islamic law—that exist to protect women,” she said.
Khan also interned at the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington, D.C., working as project leader for a Saudi women’s rights campaign, and she credited the Office of Global Education with facilitating her international experience. “The support I received from faculty, staff and students from Dickinson enabled me to succeed in my academic achievements ... and become a global citizen,” she said.
“Cairo has a very special place in my heart, not just because of the revolution that took place this spring, but the ambition, strength and hope the Egyptian people display inspires me,” Khan added. “I know I always wanted to go back to the Middle East, and receiving this Fulbright award will help me in my future goals.” The February 2011 graduate will return to campus for Commencement on May 22.
Sarah Brnich ’11
Kathryn McNamara ‘11 (left) and Sarah Brnich ‘11 are both recipients of Fulbright grants.
A double major in Spanish and biochemistry & molecular biology from Ellicott City, Md., Brnich spent the fall of her junior year abroad in Dickinson’s partner program, IES Buenos Aires, the oldest study abroad program in Argentina. Her Fulbright award will take her back to Buenos Aires to work on a collaborative U.S.-Latin America project, Molecular Profiling of Stage II and III Breast Cancer.
“I will be able to apply the research skills I learned at Dickinson while working at the premier institute of basic and applied research in Argentina, Instituto Leloir,” said Brnich, who will be part of a team studying the molecular profiles of Argentine women with stage II and III nonmetastatic breast cancer.
“The Fulbright will give me the opportunity to see the project at all its stages,” she explained. “I will work with patients in a clinical hospital setting, run experiments on samples in the lab and perform analysis to create a database that will ideally help to identify treatment patterns that will not only benefit Argentine women, but also Latin-American women residing in the U.S.”
Kathryn McNamara ’11
McNamara, an international-studies major from Rockville, Md., will use her Fulbright award to teach English in the Republic of Indonesia. While in Indonesia, she also will pursue a supplemental project teaching business English classes to adults in her community.
McNamara spent her junior year in Rabat, Morocco, to continue her study of Arabic. She also taught English and interned at the Democratic Association for Moroccan Women in Rabat. Previously, she interned with Free the Slaves, an anti-slavery organization in Washington, D.C., and spent two summers working for the U.S. Department of State.
“I lived in Southeast Asia when I was younger,” said McNamara “The experience was truly formative for me, and I have always hoped to go back and relearn Indonesia on my own terms. I chose to pursue the study of Arabic and Islam at Dickinson because I want to help erase some of the stereotypes that are pervasive in a post-9/11, post-War on Terror world. Indonesia for me is the next logical step in this journey, and teaching English is a wonderful way to facilitate cross-cultural communication and promote understanding.”
Glenda Garcia ’09
Glenda Garcia ’09, is the second Posse Foundation scholar in recent years to receive a Fulbright fellowship.
A former women’s & gender-studies major, Garcia also will be teaching English in Southeast Asia, but she will be headed to the Kingdom of Thailand. Garcia spent the last year in Somerton, Ariz., as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. In that post, she coordinated programming and volunteer efforts and wrote and implemented curriculum that involved parents as part of students’ learning experiences. She is currently a VISTA leader in Baltimore.
While teaching in Thailand, Garcia hopes to continue research she had conducted as part of a Mosaic at Dickinson. “My research compared women farmers in Pennsylvania to women farmers in Venezuela,” she said. “Now, I’m hoping to research women rice farmers in Thailand, as well.”
The Fulbright opportunity is a lesson in tenacity for Garcia, who came close to receiving the award in 2009. “I was named an alternate, which is a very nice way of being rejected, but it was still a rejection,” she said with a laugh. So, two years later, she tried again—and succeeded. “To me, this means that my persistence paid off,” she said.
The Fulbright Program, which seeks to promote international goodwill through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science, works to increase mutual understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Khan, Brnich, McNamara and Garcia will join the ranks of 171 distinguished Dickinson Fulbright scholars, including 14 in the last four years.