UMBC Students, Alumna Receive Fulbrights
Three UMBC students and an alumna have received international recognition as Fulbright Scholars for their exceptional research and academic achievements. This latest honor marks a UMBC first, with the largest number of students receiving Fulbright awards since the University’s first Fulbright Scholar in 2002. (Tim Nohe, associate professor of visual arts, also received a Fulbright and will be profiled at a later date.)
Administered by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Program was created by Congress in 1946 as an educational and cultural exchange program. Each year, approximately 1,000 one-year grants are awarded to U.S. students (recent bachelor’s degree recipients and graduate students) to use for pursuing research or teaching English in one of about 150 nations.
Asynith Palmer, a double major in English and modern languages and linguistics, is the recipient of a full grant, allowing her to design her own research project. Palmer’s grant will send her to France, where she will conduct a more in-depth study of the French admiration of William Faulkner’s literary work.
When I found out the French loved Faulkner, I wondered how the Faulknerian novel could possibly be translated into such a structured language as French,” said Palmer. “This topic fascinated me, so I dug right in.”
Palmer spent last summer at the University of Rennes researching the height of Faulkner’s popularity in France. Last semester, with the help of UMBC’s Study Abroad program, she studied at the International School at the University of Nice. For the Fulbright program, Palmer will return to the University of Rennes to continue her research and sharpen her French skills in reading, writing and speaking.
Palmer formerly worked as a research assistant for Christoph Irmscher, professor and chair of English, and Elaine Rusinko, professor of Russian studies. Palmer is a Humanities Scholar and a member of the English Honors Program. She is co-editor of the UMBC Review, a journal of undergraduate research and creative works, and founder of UMBC’s Running Club. According to Palmer’s professors, she speaks French better than natives. Palmer is a budding scholar of American literature and has been accepted by prestigious graduate programs. She plans to enter a Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan after completing her Fulbright year. Palmer will graduate in the spring with summa cum laude honors.
Pamela Greenlee, a political science major with a minor in French, will travel on a full grant to Rabat, the capital of Morocco. Under the Islamic Civilization Initiative, a component of the Fulbright program which seeks to build an understanding between America and Islamic countries, Greenlee plans to examine human rights issues, particularly the rights of Islamic women. She will look at how civic participation has influenced changes in Islamic family law. In preparation, she will spend this summer at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies ( SAIS), where she interned last year. SAIS is helping Greenlee acquire resources for the trip such as contact information for experts in her interest field and scholarly data. She is fluent in French, has also studied German and is learning Arabic.
In spring 2005, she participated in the Washington Semester program at American University where she studied American foreign policy. Greenlee, an intern for the Shriver Center’s Choice Program, graduates in spring 2006. After she completes her Fulbright year, she will conduct seminars for SAIS. She hopes to attend a graduate school with a strong international relations program and eventually become a foreign service officer.
Leonard Salter , a biochemistry and molecular biology major, sees his Fulbright opportunity as a chance to learn more about the world. “Graduating from college and being 21 means you have to be a responsible person,” said Salter. “The more I read the news, I realize I don’t know about the world.”
Salter will use his teaching grant to teach English in Malaysian high schools and universities. Though he’s not required to speak Malay, he would like to enroll in a class where he can learn the language. Salter has worked for Pfizer for three summers conducting immunology research. At his suggestion, Salter worked with one of his chemistry professors to create a chemistry assistant position. He has held this position for three semesters, researching experiments, collecting the materials and demonstrating the experiments to his peers. Active on campus, Salter serves as president of Phi Kappa Sigma and is a member of the Honors College and National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Though his post-Fulbright plans are still under development, Salter, who graduates this spring with cum laude honors, is contemplating a career as a professor and researcher.
When Jessica Lewis ’05, psychology, goes to Baden-Wüerttemberg, Germany for her Fulbright year, she won’t be going to an unfamiliar place. Lewis was born in Germany and lived there for several years when she was a small child. With her teaching grant, she will work as an assistant to German instructors teaching English.
“Though most Germans know how to speak English, I hope to bring them a real representation of America,” said Lewis, who will use this summer collecting items from her life such as personal photos and pop culture items to use as teaching aids for her students.
Lewis, a December 2005 summa cum laude graduate, has taken advanced courses in German language and literature. Although she has not participated in an official study abroad program, Lewis took a month-long camping trip of Western Europe visiting London, Paris, Andorra, Barcelona, Nice and Cannes, Monte Carlo, Pisa, Rome, Sorrento and Capri, Corfu, Venice, Vienna, Munich, Lucerne, Heidelberg and Amsterdam. Since graduating, she has worked in the Albin O. Kuhn Library’s Circulation/Reserves department. She expects to pursue a graduate degree when she returns from her Fulbright year or begin work as a foreign service officer.
Information on prestigious scholarships is available at http://www.umbc.edu/prestige/ or contact Nancy Miller, coordinator of special projects and prestigious fellowships advisor, at 410-455-6865 or firstname.lastname@example.org.