University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of German and Russian

Four Students Win Prestigious Fulbright Scholarships

Fulbright scholars

Three of the scholars, from left to right: Matthew Greene '10, Dzeneta Karabegovic '08 and Emily Lubell '09. (Photo: Sally McCay)

Four University of Vermont students have been awarded prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program Scholarships to pursue independent research or teach abroad.

University of Vermont alumnus Dzeneta Karabegovic '08 has been awarded a scholarship to pursue an independent research project on social networks within the Bosnian diaspora population in Sweden. She will spend the year with researchers at Uppsala University working to get a better understanding of how diaspora members interact with their community and the greater Swedish population. A better understanding of diaspora social networks, she says, will lead to better immigration and integration policies for the population. This research will be a continuation of the work she did as a UVM student for her honors thesis.

A better understanding of these populations is important to Karabegovic, who is a Bosnian native. She immigrated to the United States when she was young, and settled in the Burlington area. As a student at UVM, Karabegovic was a member of the Honors College, a double-major in political science and German, a John Dewey Scholar, an inductee into Pi Sigma Alpha (National Political Science Honors Society), and was a founding member of the Bosnian Lillies, a Bosnian dance group. When she returns to the United States she plans to attend either law or graduate school so that she can continue to help Diaspora populations in the U.S. and abroad.

Hannah LeMieux '10 has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Turkey for the 2010-2011 academic year. She will work as an English teaching assistant for a university in the southeastern part of the country. The Phillipston, Mass. native and English major was an involved member of the campus community during her time at UVM. LeMieux was the treasurer of the Student Government Association, president of the women's rugby club, a Pottery Cooperative member and a writing tutor. She was named a Kidder Scholar in 2008, Living & Learning Member of the Year in 2008, a Buckham Scholar in 2009, and was given the Unsung Hero Award by the Department of Student Life in 2010. Her experience as an English major and her time as a writing tutor will enable her to help Turkish university students perfect their English language skills, and her desire to make a difference in her community will help her make a positive impression abroad.

Emily Lubell '09 has been awarded a scholarship to pursue an independent research project on the correlation between socioeconomic status and the prevalence of kidney stones among the population in Arica, Chile. Lubell will spend the year working with public health officials determining if people of a lower socioeconomic standing are more susceptible to kidney stones. If that's the case, Lubell plans to investigate Arica's drinking water and determine if the quality of the city's drinking water combined with a lack of access to bottled water is leaving poorer residents at higher risk for kidney stones.

For Lubell, the Fulbright award is her opportunity to continue research she started while studying abroad. Lubell, who was inspired by her UVM courses and professors to pursue a career in public health, was participating in a public health research program in Arica during the spring of 2009. Lubell studied Arica's potable water quality and was appalled to discover that the level of hardness in the city's drinking water was well over the maximum level recommended by world health authorities. While in Chile she hypothesized that the hardness of the water (a well-known cause of kidney stones) may be putting all residents at risk, but especially the residents who were too poor to buy bottled water. The Fulbright scholarship will enable her to complete her research.

Lubell, a Natick, Mass. native and psychology major, graduated from UVM this past December, and has been working for the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program in Burlington. She will leave for Chile in March; when she comes back she plans on becoming a public health official.

Matthew Greene '10 has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in the Czech Republic for the 2010-2011 academic year. He will work as an English teaching assistant for two high schools in the small Czech city of Havlickuv Brod, located in the middle of the country.

Greene, a Westerly, R.I. native, European studies major and avid linguist, became enamored with the Czech Republic while he was studying abroad in Austria during the 2008-2009 academic year. Matthew already spoke German and Italian, but he begged his Czech friends to teach him their language. Learning the language enabled Matthew to learn a lot more about the Czech people, and he become fascinated by Czech history and culture. He also recognized that the Czech people were just as enthusiastic about learning his language as he was about learning theirs. He hopes that by the end of his year abroad he will be fluent in Czech and his students will have a strong understanding of English.

His intercultural experiences will not end with his Fulbright year. Greene plans on returning to the U.S. to pursue a graduate degree focusing on Central European studies, specifically related to Austria and the Czech Republic. He eventually plans to enter the Foreign Service and work as a representative of the U.S. in a Central European country.

Karabegovic, LeMieux, Lubell and Greene are four of more than 1,500 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2010-2011 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student 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.

Watch three of the scholars talk about their awards and plans: