Seven UVM Students Awarded Fulbright Grants
- By University Communications
Seven University of Vermont students have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships for the 2014-2015 academic year. The prestigious awards are yearlong fellowships which enable seniors, recent graduates, and graduate students to live abroad and represent the United States as a part of the world’s largest intellectual and cultural exchange fellowship.
As Fulbright awardees, students receive a fully funded grant to conduct research, pursue internships or teach English in another country. Fellowships Director Brit Chase and Honors College Associate Dean Lisa Schnell oversee the Fulbright U.S. Student Program competition at UVM.
“This has truly been a tremendous year for UVM students in the Fulbright competition,” said Schnell. “In some ways, this is no big surprise, for the Fulbright is an award that recognizes not only academic excellence, but also creativity and adventurousness, something UVM students and alums are known for. But of course, success like this does not simply follow a reputation; these awards primarily acknowledge the hard work and commitment of the students, of Brit for her superlative recruiting and advising efforts, and of the campus Fulbright Committee, made up of faculty from across the campus.”
Matthew Andrews ’13 has been awarded a Fulbright research grant to conduct research on the Weimar period in Germany at Phillip-Universität in Marburg. Andrews will be focusing on the development of neo-conservatism and analyzing how the ideas of a radical intellectual elite were adopted and popularized by paramilitary movements during that period. Such analysis, he says, can help historians better understand how the process of popularization affects and influences ideological development.
A history major at UVM, Andrews’ proposed research is an extension of work he started while studying abroad in Marburg during the 2012-2013 academic year. His work will be overseen by Eckart Conze, Wenke Meteling and Michael Seelig in the university’s history department. Under the guidance of his mentors, Andrews will be combing archives and taking graduate seminars to examine the phenomenon of popularization. An accomplished jazz violinist, Andrews also plans to get involved in the local music scene while in Germany.
Andrews is originally from Washington, D.C., and he credits the success he’s had at UVM to working closely with his mentors, Helga Schrekenberger and Dennis Mahoney in the German Department, as well as Denise Youngblood in the History Department. After returning to the U.S., Andrews plans to apply for doctorate programs in history and continue his work on modern European history and political thought.
Marlenee Blas G’14 has been awarded a Fulbright teaching assistantship to Brazil for the 2015 academic year. She will be teaching at an English language training center at a local university and mentoring Brazilian students who will go on to become English language teachers. During her time in Brazil she hopes to broaden her understanding of the links between affirmative action, access and college affordability.
A Higher Education and Student Affairs graduate student, Blas’ academic interests have focused on the importance of diversity in a university setting, and how to use the classroom as a medium for cultural exchange. At UVM, Blas has been heavily involved in many aspects of student advising and campus life. She served as a tutor for the Upward Bound program, where she worked with first generation high school students planning to go to college. During her second year in the program, she served as a teaching assistant for the ethnic studies department and a co-facilitator for the Human Relations course focused on social justice and diversity. She is an assistant residence director in the Honors College, an editor of the Vermont Connection, and has presented her work at the Student Research Conference.
While at UVM, Blas has worked with students, staff and faculty on issues related to diversity and multiculturalism on campus. She credits her success in her graduate studies to having the opportunity to work closely with many faculty members including Jill Tarule, Kathy Manning, Rashad Shabazz, Stacey Miller and Kathy Cook. The Higher Education and Student Affairs graduate program recently recognized Blas for her "outstanding contribution to the ALANA community".
Originally from Mexico, Blas grew up in Temecula, Calif., and is the first in her family to go to college. After completing her Fulbright work she plans to return to the United States and work in higher education and student affairs. She intends to eventually pursue a doctorate in education and continue to develop her research of access and support services for college students.
Anders Christiansen ’14 has been awarded a Fulbright Business Binational Internship to Mexico. As an intern, Christiansen will be placed by the Fulbright Commission in either a business or non-profit organization in Mexico City and work on issues of economic development. While interning he will also take classes on trade, business and policy at a local university.
An Honors College student and a political science major, Christiansen has spent his college career developing an expertise in economic and political issues in Latin America. In 2012 Christiansen received the Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in Brazil, where he did research on farming practices that are economically and ecologically sustainable. In 2013 he interned for both Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). He also received UVM’s Public Impact Research Award for his work on the senate immigration reform bill and a UROP grant for thesis research on the Mondragon cooperatives in Spain. He is an avid linguist and speaks Spanish and Portuguese.
Christiansen is from East Montpelier, Vt. While at UVM he worked closely with several faculty members, including Caroline Beer, Josh Farley and Jan Feldman on issues related to ecological economics, democratic theory and Latin American politics. He also worked closely with Ann Kroll Lerner in the undergraduate research office and Brit Chase in the fellowships office to secure funding for his work in the U.S. and abroad. After he completes his internship in Mexico, Christiansen aspires to spend some time working in public policy and public service in Washington, D.C. Eventually, he plans to pursue a joint law and business degree and start an NGO that promotes economic development and worker ownership.
Sydney Healey ’14 has also been selected for a Fulbright English teaching assistantship to Brazil during the 2015 academic year. An Honors College student and a global studies and environmental studies double major, Healey has been an Eco Rep and a teaching assistant for Spanish and environmental studies classes at UVM. She has also worked part time during her college career as a personal care attendant and has led service learning programs with international volunteers. Healey spent the spring of 2013 in Argentina, where she conducted research on indigenous responses to multinational lithium mining in Salta and Jujuy.
Healey is from Doylestown, Penn. After she finishes her Fulbright year, she aspires to pursue a career in social justice and bilingual education by using media to facilitate cultural exchange.
She thanks John Waldron and Richard Watts for their guidance and support with both the Fulbright proposal and her undergraduate thesis.
Dan Rosenblum ’13 received a Fulbright research grant to India for the 2014-2015 academic year. Rosenblum will be working in Delhi’s unauthorized colonies (city neighborhoods that have not received support from the local government) and examining the transforming socioeconomic relationships in these colonies as they are incorporated into the city and start to receive city resources. Such work, he says, will help researchers better understand what formal recognition will mean for community-level economies in India.
Rosenblum is an anthropology major who has spent his undergraduate career examining social and cultural issues surrounding urban migration and development. With the support of UVM’s URECA! Research grant, an APLE research grant, and under the guidance of UVM Professor Jonah Steinberg, Rosenblum traveled to India in 2012 to study youth migration from Bihar to Delhi. He received the Kleinknecht Award from the anthropology department for his work, and his research has been published in the Journal for Undergraduate Ethnography. While in India, Rosenblum will study under Amita Baviskar at the Institute of Economic Growth at the University of Delhi.
Rosenblum is also originally from Doylestown, Penn. While at UVM he worked closely with several professors in the anthropology and geography departments, including Steinberg, Meghan Cope, Benjamin Eastman, and Scott Matter. After he returns from India, Rosenblum plans to pursue a career in international urban policy and planning.
Brian Vedder ’14 received a Fulbright English teaching assistantship to Thailand for the 2014-2015 academic year. Vedder will be teaching English to high school students while also running English language camps for children in the community. During his time in Thailand, Vedder also hopes to make connections with other faculty members, learn more about Thai classroom culture and ethics, and also get involved in the community through volunteering and other service.
At UVM, Vedder simultaneously developed his pedagogical skills as well as an expertise in how to foster technological competence as well as a globally engaged citizenry in the classroom. An Honors College student and secondary education major, Vedder received a Public Research and Civic Endeavors Scholarship (now the Simon Family Fellowship) from UVM in 2012 to teach and conduct research on classroom practices in South Africa. Vedder is also president of Kappa Delta Pi (the honors society for students in education-related disciplines), and he volunteers to work with local youths at the King Street Youth Center. This semester Vedder was a student teacher at Burlington High School, and in May he will defend his thesis, “Unveiling the Silver Lining: A Young Man's Journey Reading Between the Lines of Shame, Struggle and Failure to Discover Meaning and Purpose,” a manuscript that defines, epitomizes, and challenges societal issues concerning special education, the high school classroom, adolescent development, as well as individual conceptualization of shame, struggle and failure and one way to morph it into substance for meaningful growth.
Vedder is originally from Schenectady, N.Y. While at UVM, he worked closely with several faculty members in the College of Education, including Holly-Lynn Busier, Robert Nash and Alan Tinkler, as well as Sydnee Viray. After he returns from Thailand, Vedder plans to work as a teacher in an urban setting.
Joseph Friedman ’14 was also selected for a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a graduate degree in epidemiology from La Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City. Prior to his April notification from the Fulbright Program, however, Friedman chose to pursue an equally coveted opportunity as a post-bachelor fellow at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. In this position, Friedman will be conducting cutting edge research related to health metrics in domestic and global health settings.
Friedman is an anthropology major and an Honors College student; after completing his studies at the University of Washington, he plans to attend medical school and eventually pursue a career as an academic physician addressing social disparities in health.
Andrews, Blas, Christiansen, Healey, Rosenblum and Vedder are among more than 1,500 U.S. students and scholars who will travel abroad during the 2014-2015 academic year through 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 more than 155 countries worldwide.