4 Win Fulbright Scholarships
Four Occidental College seniors have won prestigious Fulbright Scholarships to work and study abroad.
Adrian Cavallini-Gardner of San Diego, Amanda Iseri of Ontario, Ore., and Sarah Kim of Berkeley are recipients of 10- to 11-month Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships, which will allow them to teach English in Germany, Indonesia, and Hong Kong, respectively. Sam Mowe of Portland, Ore., has received a Fulbright research grant to study the construction of a Buddhist pilgrimage site in Lumbini, Nepal. Each begins their duties this summer. The quartet are among 17 Occidental students and alumni who have won Fulbrights since 2003.
Cavallini-Gardner, an English and comparative literary studies major, will work in a high school in the German state of Nordrhein-Westfallen. He said Germany is one of the United States’ most important allies and, to that end, “fostering friendly diplomatic relations is crucial for America’s self-interest.” “By being an English teaching assistant, I can help facilitate winning the ‘hearts and minds’ of the German people,” he added. “Also, from merely an artistic standpoint, Germany has a vast array of notable artists, writers, philosophers and economists who have significantly shaped modern Western thought. Germany is the primary epicenter where Europe and the Americas ought to be bridged.”
Iseri, a kinesiology major, also will work at a high school, this one in a still-undetermined Indonesian city. Additionally, because her career interests lean to health care, she is hoping to volunteer for a non-profit public health organization. Of her teaching assistantship, Iseri said “it is important because I will have the opportunity to foster appreciation for different cultures and nationalities, and I will help promote international understanding.”
Kim, a biochemistry major, will work at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. She said she is hopeful the experience will strengthen her own intercultural relations. “It is very easy for people to think that their own values and customs are more correct or even superior to others,” she said. “As an American, I find myself buying into this belief quite often. That is why I think immersing ourselves into new environments, new cultures, will be extremely rewarding and enlightening. I hope to be a person that the students and faculty can relate to without cross-cultural barriers and misunderstanding. I would like for stereotypes and misconceptions we may have of each other to be dissolved, and for us to get to know one another apart from what we see through the media.”
Mowe, a religious studies major, will work in the Nepalese city believed to be the birthplace of Buddha. It is being developed by different organizations and individuals who want to establish it as "the holiest place in the world" for Buddhists. "It's important to appreciate the viewpoints and beliefs of different cultures," Mowe said. "I also think the idea of sacred space is amazing and worth studying. Who knows, maybe I'll uncover some really important ultimate truth while I'm over there."
The Fulbright program, which covers travel, education and living expenses, was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas.
Founded in 1887, Occidental is one of the oldest liberal arts colleges on the West Coast. Since winning its first Rhodes Scholarship in 1907, the college has consistently won national and international recognition for academic achievement. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the institution in the top tier of liberal arts colleges since 1991.