2015 Fellowship Recipients

Click on an award category below to view the 2015 recipient(s):


2015 Boren Fellowship Recipients

Boren Fellowships provide up to $30,000 to U.S. graduate students to add an important international and language component to their graduate education through specialization in area study, language study, or increased language proficiency. Boren Fellowships support study and research in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Lance Devreaux Jackson, will complete the Master’s of Public Diplomacy Program at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in spring of 2015. Lance has received a Boren Fellowship to study and conduct independent research in Malaysia. During his fellowship, Lance plans to join the ASEAN studies program at the University of Malaya. His research will focus on how Southeast Asian regional integration affects Malaysian policy on equitable development, freedom of expression, migrant worker rights and the rights of women and children.

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2015 Boren Scholarship Recipients

Boren Scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program, which focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security and the challenges of global society, including sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness. Scholars are selected on the basis of merit and commitment to Boren ideals.

Kayla Caldwell will spend the 2015-2016 academic year in Dakar, Senegal on the Boren Scholarship. She is a double major in International Relations and Economics with a minor in French. While in Senegal, Kayla will live with host family and focus on her already advanced French and beginning Wolof skills. After her program, Kayla will conduct original research through her Honors Thesis Seminar course and plans to apply for a Peace Corps education assignment in Francophone Africa. Kayla aims to go on to earn a Master’s degree in International Development, and eventually pursue a career at USAID in the Africa Bureau or Education Office.

Colin Conwell is a double major in International Relations and Cognitive Science with a minor in Comparative Literature. Through the African Flagship Languages Initiative (AFLI) at the University of Florida, Colin will begin an intensive study of French and Wolof this summer. In the fall, Colin will relocate to Dakar, Senegal to continue language study through November of 2015. Colin’s academic interest lies at the intersection of international security, psychology and comparative literature. Upon graduation, Colin hopes to fulfill his Boren government service requirement as an analyst or field agent of an intelligence collection agency such as the DIA or CIA.

Alexis Dale-Huang is double majoring in International Relations (Global Business) and East Asian Languages & Cultures. Beginning December 2015, Alexis will spend nine months in China studying in both Beijing and Shanghai. Alexis will hone her Mandarin skills and examine China’s political ideologies, economic interests, and cultural practices to understand China’s perspective in international affairs. After completing her senior year at USC, Alexis aims to have a career in the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR).

Jason Tse will spend one year in Tajikistan studying Persian while on the Boren Scholarship. He is majoring in International Relations with a minor in Middle East Studies. Jason is also a recipient of the Critical Language Scholarship in Persian and will devote 10 weeks to a dense language-learning program in Dushanbe, Tajikistan before the start of his Boren Scholarship. Going forward, Jason hopes to work as a Civil Servant in USAID, particularly in the Bureau of Asia. He is also considering a future with the Department of State, especially within the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

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2015 Critical Language Scholarship Recipients

A program of United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program offers intensive summer language institutes overseas in thirteen critical need foreign languages.

  • Akilah Booty – Major: Middle East Studies Minor: Political Science, Language: Urdu, Country: India
  • Lance Jackson – Master’s of Public Diplomacy; Language: Indonesian, Country: Indonesia
  • Brian Knafou – Ph.D. Politics and International Relations; Language: Arabic, Country: Morocco
  • Nicholas Kosturos – Major: Int’l Relations; Minor: Applied Computer Security; Language: Russian, Country: Russia
  • Jason Tse – Majors: International Relations & Middle East Studies, Language: Persian, Country: Tajikistan
  • Thomas Watson – Major: Cinematic Arts (Media Arts and Practice); Minor: Game Design; Language: Russian, Country: Russia

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2015 Fulbright U.S. Student Program Grant Recipients

As the flagship international fellowship program of the United States, the Fulbright Student Grant supports one year of independent study, research, and teaching in one of over 140 countries around the world. Recently, nearly 9,000 students from around the United States competed for about 1900 Fulbright grants.

Justin Bogda completed a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and International Relations from USC in 2014. As a recipient of the Mexico Binational Business Internship grant, Justin will enroll in university courses and intern with a company in Mexico City. Justin aims to help increase cooperation in clean energy development between the U.S. and Mexico. After completion of his Fulbright grant year, Justin will pursue a joint degree in Public Policy and Law and go on to work in green-technology policy and business development.

Nicholas Brown graduated from USC in 2012 with a major in Political Science. While at USC, Nick served as a tutor for student athletes. After graduation, Nick was selected for Teach for America in Indianola, Mississippi where he taught English Language Arts to 4th graders. Nick looks forward to his Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship assignment in Colombia, where he will be placed in either a public or private university working with students who want to go on to be English teachers themselves. While in Colombia, Nick plans to collaborate with organizations that assists refugees such as Pies Descalzos. Nick is committed to a career in education and hopes to become a principal in an underserved community and possibly run for public office.

Stefani Feldman will graduate from USC in 2015 earning a Bachelor’s in Music (Performance Clarinet). Stefani has studied in Oslo, British Columbia and received a special invitation to play in the clarinet section of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra for one concert. On the Fulbright grant, Stefani will return to Oslo, Norway where she will study clarinet with Professor Bjorn Nyman at the Norwegian Academy of Music and pursue a one year Advanced Study Program in Performance there. Outside of the classroom, Stefani will participate in outreach programs administered through the Academy such as “Music in Prison,” for which students perform classical music concerts for inmates.

Maria Fish is the first USC student to win a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Andorra. Maria is graduating spring 2015 with majors in both Spanish and Narrative Studies. Maria has experience teaching with USC’s Joint Education Project and was a volunteer English teacher for the Isla Mujeres Alternative Spring Break. Maria has also worked as a Student Consultant with the American Language Institute’s International Teaching Assistant Program where she tutors USC TAs in the English language. During her Fulbright year, Maria will teach in a high school and hopes to volunteer with a local human rights NGO to help facilitate the Model UN program with her students.

Todd Fredson is pursuing a Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature at USC. He is a former Peace Corps volunteer on the Ivory Coast and will be returning to Abidjan, Ivory Coast to carry out a Fulbright Research Grant. Todd aims to complete translations of three poetry collections that engage the recent civil war. His work will contribute to the completion of his Ph.D. dissertation in which he considers resistance to neocolonialism in poetry. Upon return to the US, Todd plans to apply for tenure-track positions in the areas of creative writing and literature.

Reilly Frye graduated from USC with a major in International Relations and double minors in both Spanish and French in May of 2015.  She will be joining a group of English Teaching Assistants in Brazil for the Fulbright Brazil ETA Expansion Award.  Reilly has spent a semester abroad in Argentina and lived in Switzerland, Spain, France and Peru for 1-2 months each. While at USC, Reilly was a  Student Consultant for the American Language Institute and a tutor for Supplemental Academic Support.  Reilly plans to use her experience as a tutor to aid and encourage her students to speak English.  She also wants to engage  with her community through volunteering with a local NGO and help with efforts to increase awareness and education for Brazilians. Her future career aspiration is to become a diplomat for the U.S. government.

Christopher Gras has experience as an ESL Adjunct Lecturer and graduated from USC in 2014 with a Master’s in Teaching TESOL degree. Christopher will fulfill his Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship at a state university in Turkey. He is especially interested to learn and teach about culture and language while enhancing his background in ESL. Christopher also hopes to establish an English culture and conversation club within his community. After completing the ETA, he will pursue a doctorate degree in Applied Linguistics with a focus on ESL.

Maracel Guevarra will graduate from USC in 2015 as a double major in East Asian Area Studies and Animation and Digital Arts. While on the Fulbright Study Grant to South Korea, Maracel will attend Korea National University of Arts to pursue a Master’s degree in Screen Culture Studies. She is interested in learning the (historical/cultural) Korean context that motivates the South Korean film industry. While she’s not in class, Maracel hopes to intern in a Korean animation studio. She plans to return to the US ready for a career as an active filmmaker and collaborator between American and South Korean film/animation studios.

Jenny Ham graduated from USC in 2013 as a double major in Psychology and Public Relations. She will be placed in an elementary or high school in Taiwan as an English Teaching Assistant. Jenny hopes to increase her expertise in bilingual education while abroad. She is in the early stages of her career as an English Language Development teacher in a low-income, urban middle school. After Fulbright, Jenny will continue her theoretical practice through a Master’s/Ph.D. program in the United States. Her ultimate goal is to become an expert in the field of bilingual education.

Nicholas Kosturos graduated from USC in 2015 as an International Relations major and Applied Computer Security minor. He is the recipient of one of only two Fulbright awards to Belarus as an English Teaching Assistant. Nick will serve as a resource for conversation, reading and writing courses at a university in Belarus. He will also have dialogues about the U.S. to local citizens who have little contextual understanding of America. Nick will use his background from USC’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and President of the USC Russian Culture Club to inform his classroom pedagogy. As the winner of a Critical Language Scholarship to study Russian this summer, Nick will depart for Belarus subsequently. Upon returning to the U.S. Nick wishes to pursue a Master’s in Foreign Service at Georgetown University with a concentration in Eurasian Studies before beginning a Political Officer career in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Danielle Lee has a passion for teaching and children. While on the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, she will teach in the primary, middle, or secondary school level, and will be assigned to school outside of Bangkok. Danielle will participate in Thai language study, ESL teaching techniques, and learn about Thai cultural issues. Graduating May 2015 as a Global Health major with minors in International Relations and Natural Science, Danielle hopes to partner with local hospitals to educate about major health issues such as HIV/AIDS. After completing the Fulbright ETA, Danielle’s plans to attend medical school.

Ani Misirian grew up in a predominantly Armenian community and is intrigued by the many cultural differences inherent in her bi-cultural upbringing. She has volunteered in culturally diverse classrooms around Los Angles and has demonstrated an outstanding record as a Neuroscience major and English minor graduating in May of 2015. Ani has won 1 of only 2 awards offered by Fulbright to go to Armenia to teach English as an English Teaching Assistant. Ani will not just be teaching English, but explaining the U.S. to local citizens who have little contextual understanding of America. As a pre-medical student, Ani plans to volunteer in health-related organizations in Armenia.

Melissa Montalvo is an International Relations major with minors in both Business Law and French who graduated from USC in 2013. Melissa looks forward to her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship assignment in the Mexican public school system. She plans to create an after-school leadership program for adolescent girls to help them realize their full potential. Upon returning to the U.S., Melissa intends to pursue a Master’s of Arts in Comparative and International Studies in Education. She is particularly interested in the challenges and barriers to educational achievement for women and marginalized populations.

Victoria Montrose is currently pursuing a PhD in East Asian Languages and Cultures at USC. She will use her background in Religion and East Asian Studies as a foundation for her research project. While on the Fulbright grant, Victoria will facilitate three case studies of Japan’s oldest and most prominent Buddhist universities in order to enhance our understanding of the relationship between religion and modern education in Japan. Project Title: Making the Modern Priest: Buddhist Universities in Meiji Japan

Mylinh Ngo is a doctoral student in Price School of Public Policy.  She received a research grant to Vietnam to further her doctoral thesis enhancing the capacity of Vietnamese cities to adapt to climate change.  Using Can Tho, a flood afflicted city in Vietnam as a case study, her research will demonstrate how the application of three conceptual adaptation models can inform institutional capacity building.  Mylinh will work with her host to serve as a guest lecturer and teaching assistant in climate change classes at Can Tho University.  After completing her Fulbright research, Mylinh will return to USC to complete her doctoral thesis.

Andrea Valenzuela will complete a Master’s in Higher Education Administration from the Rossier School of Education in spring 2015. Andrea is the recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship will be placed in a public school in Mexico. When she is not teaching, Andrea plans to become familiar with the college application process and financial aid system for Mexican universities. Upon return to the U.S., Andrea hopes to work with underrepresented, low-income and first generation students in the higher education context.

Michael Angel Vazquez graduated from USC in 2012 as a double major in American Studies & Ethnicity and Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Studies. He also minored in Nonprofits, Philanthropy & Volunteerism. After graduation, Michael served as a Teach for America Corps Member, Navajo Nation and taught in New Mexico. Michael went on to receive a Princeton in Latin America Fellowship and was placed in Lima, Peru in 2014 working with an education-focused non-governmental organization. While on a Fulbright ETA grant to Mexico, Michael will continue to prepare for his dream job – becoming a principal on the Mexico-California border.

Laura Wang is an alumna who graduated from USC in 2012 with a B.S. and Master’s in Environmental Studies. Laura is the first USC student to be selected for the Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship. As a Fulbright-Clinton Fellow, Laura will serve as a Special Assistant in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Samoa. Laura’s aim is to implement the National Climate Change Policy, with a focus on accessing available international climate financing to assist Samoa’s efforts in adaptation. She hopes to focus on the country’s preparations for the 2015 Conference of the Parties, where an international agreement on climate is expected to be reached. Since graduating from USC, Laura has served as the Executive Fellow for Renewable Energy and Climate for California Governor Jerry Brown. She also has experience as a Research Associate for the Center for Clean Air Policy.

Scott Wilbur is a pursuing his Ph.D. in Political Science at USC and is a recipient of a Fulbright Research Grant to Japan. Scott asks, “Do states’ electoral systems affect their foreign economic policies?” Scott will evaluate the effect of the 1994 electoral reform on Japan’s foreign economic policy through a case study of Japan’s public financing of outward foreign direct investment (OFDI). He plans to return to USC after the grant to complete his Ph.D. degree and become a political science professor specializing in comparative political economy and international political economy.

Fulbright Recipients in the News!

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2015 Fulbright US-UK Summer Institute Recipients

The Fulbright US-UK Summer Institute Program aims to foster mutual cultural understanding through educational exchange between the US and the UK. Each year, the Fulbright Commission supports around 60 UK and US undergraduate students to undertake a demanding academic and cultural summer programs at leading institutions in the US and UK respectively. There are 9 different Summer Insitutues offered in the UK with unique themes that span for 3-6 weeks.

Ava Polzin is a rising sophomore and one of six students to be selected for the Fulbright Commission Queen’s University Belfast Summer Institute. Ava is a Music Industry and Geological Sciences double major. She will spend four weeks on a cultural and academic program where she will learn about Northern Ireland in terms of its political, economic and cultural relationships within the United Kingdom and in the world.Ava’s interest in learning about history, culture and conflict resolution in Northern Ireland stems not only from her family history there but, as well, from her Lakota Cultural Exchange Program for the parallels she sees in the deeply entrenched feelings about national identity and colonization that have to be honored in any discussion of resolution efforts on either side of the pond.

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2015 & 2016 Gilman Scholarship Recipients

The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards for undergraduate study abroad for U.S. who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university. The program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go.

Spring 2015 Recipients

  • Kerry Liou – Major: Accounting, Country: Singapore
  • Stephanie Mercado – Major: Environmental Studies, Country: South Africa

Summer 2015 Recipients

  • Fiza Khan – Majors: International Relations & Russian, Country: Czech Republic
  • Vong Nguyen – Major: Political Science, Country: China

Fall 2015 and Academic Year Recipients

  • Jia Wei Chen – Major: Business Administration Country: Hong Kong
  • Christina Hart – Major: International Relations; Country: Jordan

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2015 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship For New Americans

Every year, The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans supports thirty New Americans, immigrants or the children of immigrants, who are pursuing graduate school in the United States. They will each receive up to $90,000 in funding for the graduate program of their choice. The Fellows were selected for their potential to make significant contributions to US society, culture, or their academic field, and were selected from a pool of 1,200 applicants.

Shinichi Daimyo – Award to support work toward a MSN at Yale School of Nursing

As a psychology major at the University of Southern California (class of 2009), Shinichi volunteered in the Navajo Nation, and studied the psychological consequences of the Cyprus problem in the Republic of Cyprus and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Recognizing similarities, Shinichi was inspired to study mental health across cultural boundaries and countries.

Shinichi has become an expert in developing and implementing community-based mental health programs across the globe through his work at the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma, the World Health Organization, and Partners In Health. Whether in Haiti or Pakistan, Shinichi is focused on creating sustainable solutions for resource-poor communities with unmet mental health needs.

Shinichi’s work has shown him the game changing potential of nurses in addressing the significant burden of mental illness. Consequently, Shinichi will be attending the Yale School of Nursing’s Graduate Entry Prespecialty in Nursing program to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner so that he can train the next generation of psychiatric nurses to provide mental health care to communities in need. His goal is to raise the profile of advanced practice psychiatric nursing in low-resource settings to help transform how mental health systems are fundamentally structured to care for the poorest and most vulnerable.

Read full bio here! 

 

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