Connecticut College Magazine · Winter 2013


The new science center at New London Hall. Photo by Bob Macdonnell

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Fulbright honors

College is recognized as a top producer of Fulbrights

By Amy Martin

Connecticut College's record nine Fulbrights, awarded to students and recent alumni in April of 2012, have earned the College a top spot on the Chronicle of Higher Education's annual list of top-producing bachelor's institutions. The College has the sixth highest number of award winners, with more than twice as many 2012 Fulbrights as Wesleyan University and Trinity College.

Fulbright fellows receive round-trip transportation to the host country, a living stipend, research allowances and medical insurance. Connecticut College is consistently recognized as a top producer of Fulbright fellows, with 31 winners in the last six years.

"The Fulbright is a strong complement to the Connecticut College liberal arts experience, and to receive nine in one year is a testament to the College's commitment to educate our students to be active citizens in a global society," President Leo I. Higdon Jr. said.

Connecticut College's 2012 Fulbright award winners are: Savitri Arvey '12, Rebecca Cheney '12, Catharina Damrell '11, Myles Green '09, Justin Koufopoulos '10, Elizabeth Maret '12, Lindsay Paiva '12, Katherine Sartiano '12 and Karam Sethi '12.

Savitri Arvey '12, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, Mexico

Arvey, an international relations major and scholar in the College's Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts (CISLA), is teaching English at la Universidad Pedagógica Nacional in Mexico City.

At the university, Arvey leads English conversation clubs about U.S. politics, art, education, history and culture. In addition, she is taking classes at the Universidad National Aútonoma de México and is interning part-time with an NGO focused on sustainable development.

"I became interested in critical education and the Mexican education system while taking Professor [Michael] James' 'Revolutionary Education' class last year," Arvey says. "A Fulbright seemed like the perfect way to pursue both of these interests.

Arvey says her experiences conducting research, studying and interning in Latin America through the CISLA program, as well as volunteering in New London schools and as a tutor, prepared her well for the Fulbright program. Following her Fulbright year, she plans to attend graduate school.

Rebecca Cheney '12, Fulbright Research Award, Japan

Cheney, a Japanese language and literature major and CISLA scholar, is spending the year in the area of Hokkaido, Japan, investigating the potential to implement a public school curriculum to revitalize the language of the indigenous Ainu.
Cheney credits the College's East Asian languages and cultures and education departments with fostering her passion for the preservation of indigenous cultures.

"Both have been instrumental in shaping my world view and my decision to go into indigenous advocacy work," she says.
Cheney plans to teach and pursue a graduate degree in education policy after the completion of her Fulbright fellowship.

Catharina Damrell '11, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, Indonesia

Damrell, who majored in environmental studies at Connecticut College, is teaching at a high school in Kendari, the capital of the Indonesian province of South East Sulawesi.

She runs an English club for the students at the school, a public school that is overseen by Indonesia's Department of Religion. Recently, she taught members of the club to carve pumpkins.

"They loved it, and were very fast learners," she says. "I also showed them how to do the dance on the 'Thriller' music video."

Damrell describes the Fulbright experience as life-changing.

"I love my teachers here and my students are so enthusiastic. The heat can seem unbearable at times, but totally worth it," she says. "My whole experience here has been extremely rewarding. I can only imagine what after Fulbright will bring, but I certainly will take into account my time in Indonesia."

Myles Green '09, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, Italy

Green, a double major in Italian and art at Connecticut College, is teaching English at two classical schools in Palermo, Italy.

“Monday through Friday, I teach and learn from Palermo's most-curious and articulate high school students. On the weekends, I head for the hills to forage wild greens, mushrooms and chestnuts under the autumn sun,” Green says.
Green, who won the College's 2009 Oakes and Louise Ames Prize, the highest academic award for a graduating senior, has called the Fulbright fellowship “an excellent opportunity to learn, grow and explore with others and on my own."
Prior to his Fulbright in Italy, Green had been teaching Italian at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School in Peabody, Mass. He hopes to share all of the videos, interviews and stories he gathers in Italy with his students at the school, and also plans to publish a children's story about a curious cat upon his return.

Justin Koufopoulos '10, Fulbright Research Award, United Kingdom

Koufopoulos, who majored in psychology with a minor in East Asian languages and cultures, is conducting social science research and pursuing a master's degree in psychology at the University of Leeds.

Koufopoulos is studying mHealth, or mobile health. He is building an app that connects chronically ill patients together via a mobile social network, and measuring its impact on patient health, satisfaction and medication adherence.
"It's really exciting, because it is truly novel - there has never been a study of this kind to my knowledge, and I get to create a new piece of technology," he says. "It's truly applied work. I think the promise of mHealth and online social networks is a much more collaborative, patient-empowered healthcare system."

After completing his Fulbright research and his master's at the University of Leeds, Koufopoulos hopes to continue to explore how research can be used to create meaningful products by engaging with startup companies and gaining social enterprise and entrepreneurship experience.

Elizabeth Maret '12, Fulbright Research Award, Japan

Maret, a double major in physics and Japanese, is at the University of Tsukuba studying phonon spectroscopy techniques with Professor Muneaki Hase.

"We are using phonon spectroscopy to study the electrical properties of carbon nanotubes," she says. "Spectroscopy is such a powerful tool for discerning the basic electrical and atomic properties of a material because it examines the material without damaging it. It is because of this that I would ultimately like my career to focus on the application of optical spectroscopy techniques to diagnostic medicine."

Maret says she wants to become proficient in technical Japanese to help bridge the communication gap between American and Japanese physicists.

Maret, who served as co-captain of the Connecticut College women's cross country team, has also joined the University of Tsukuba's Wandervogel hiking group, which travels around the country on weekends for hiking, running and rock climbing excursions.

"I've been able to meet many diverse people and share some very stimulating conversations," Maret says. "I'm finding that inspiration comes in unexpected places and no single day is ever without its new interesting twist."

Following her Fulbright fellowship, Maret will pursue a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Michigan.

Lindsay Paiva '12, Fulbright Research Award, Italy

Paiva, an English major, Italian studies minor and scholar in the College's Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy, is researching Tuscany's regional development program, Giovanisí. Created by Tuscany's president in response to high levels of youth and female unemployment in the region, the program provides opportunities for study, training and employment, as well as paid internships and civil service experiences, stipends for housing and vouchers for childcare.

Paiva, who also earned an elementary education certificate at Connecticut College, says she is interested in how the program operates at the administrative level, but also wants to explore the individual experiences of participants and coordinators. She is working in the Giovanisí regional office and is traveling around the country to meet with people involved with the program.

"I am really looking forward to hearing their stories, meeting their families, watching them grow and change, and sharing their celebrations and their struggles," she says. "To understand if a policy is effective is more than mining data and compiling pages and pages of statistics. People drive these policies, and it is the stories of these people that are inextricably tied to program efficacy."

Katherine Sartiano '12, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, Germany

Sartiano, an English and German double major and CISLA scholar, is living in Dresden, Germany, and working in a “gymnasium,” a German middle and high school for students who are on track to study at the university level.
The school, the Roman-Rolland-Gymnasium, specializes in language instruction, with many students taking some subjects in French and some in German.

Sartiano says she enjoys doing crafts and playing games with the younger children and discussing politics and social issues with the older students.

“In my free time, I have been participating in activities at the school, and during the next few weeks, I am planning to help with a fashion show that one of the classes is putting on in English,” she says. “I am also trying to set up a volunteer English tutoring program at a mosque in Dresden.”

Sartiano plans to attend law school in the United States after completing her Fulbright Fellowship.

Karam Sethi '12, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, Malaysia

Sethi, an international relations major with a concentration in national security, is teaching English at a secondary school with a large Chinese population in the suburbs of Johor Barhu in southern Malaysia. Because of differences in the Malaysian school calendar, Sethi arrived in January and is settling in to his new role.

Sethi says he is focused on helping his students gain confidence in their English speaking skills, especially outside of the classroom setting. To do so, he is involving himself in a number of extracurricular activities, including choral speaking, English Language Society, overnight English camps, beach cleanups and the football, basketball and rugby teams.

“A personal goal is to get the students to think creatively and have an outlet for self-expression,” he says.

Sethi, who hopes to attend graduate school for international affairs after his Fulbright year, is blogging about his experience at

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