Nine U of C undergrads earn Fulbright Fellowships

While nine students have already been offered the year-long fellowships abroad, some U of C applications are still under consideration.

By Crystal Tsoi

Nine undergraduate students at the University have been named recipients of the Fulbright Fellowship so far this year, according to Senior Advisor for International Initiatives at the College David Comp. For the 2011–2012 application cycle, a total of 86 Fulbright U.S. Student Program applicants applied from the College, yielding 25 finalists.

The nine individuals will go to various places abroad, to conduct research, teaching, as well as some overseas studying. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program sponsors students in their academic endeavors by providing grants that cover tuition, traveling costs, and a living stipend.

Kyle Shen, a fourth-year who will be using his Fulbright Fellowship to teach English in Macao, recalled the nerve-wracking experience of waiting to hear back from the Fulbright Commission. “I went through a whole quarter and had not heard anything,” Shen said.

Andrew Dallos, a fourth-year, will be using his Fulbright Fellowship to teach English in Brazil under the English Teaching Assistantship Program (ETA).

“One of the most attractive aspects of the ETA is that it gives me a substantial amount of time to work on my side-project,” said Dallos in an e-mail.

In addition, Dallos will also be involved with several organizations in Brazil that use soccer to teach life skills to at-risk youths. For Dallos, his experience at the University playing for the Varsity Men’s Soccer team has taught him more than just lessons of the game.

“I have come to see soccer as a way to reach out to young people and as a great platform for youth-focused initiatives. I believe that sport can be a universal language and as such can be a great tool for teaching life lessons that can help people in various walks of life,” he said.

Shen also points to his experiences at the University as the inspiration to pursue a career in academia. “I’m really looking forward to teaching. This is really why I want to do a Ph.D. program. I knew I wanted to do more school after college and I guess UChicago kind of reinforced that,” Shen said.

The application process begins in spring quarter of third year and months then pass before students hear about the status of their application.

The following individuals received a Fulbright for the upcoming year and are listed with the program and its respective country: Moira Cassidy, ETA to Spain; Julia Coburn, Research Grant to Costa Rica; Vriti Jain, ETA to Bangladesh; Megan Race, ETA to Russia; Peter Slezkine, ETA to Kyrgyzstan; Seth Swingle, Art Grant to Mali; and Zoe Vangelder, Research Grant to Mexico.

There are still three alternates who may become recipients should someone decline the award, and five more applications still under review.

The U of C had a total of 10 recipients out of 69 applicants in the 2010–2011 cycle and 21 recipients out of 71 applicants in 2009–2010. As recipients finalize their plans, more Fulbright recipients will be announced in the coming weeks.