Four Win Fulbrights
Four recent Occidental College graduates have been offered Fulbright Scholarships to study abroad, a record for the most recipients in a single year at the institution.
The total breaks a record set last year, when the college had three winners. Since 2000, Occidental students have won 10 Fulbrights.
“Our success with the Fulbright competitions shows the strength of our commitment – beginning in the Core program – to encourage deep and sympathetic study of other cultures at Occidental,” said David Axeen, professor of American studies and Fulbright faculty advisor. “Our success also demonstrates the strength of our language programs, of all our programs for international study, and of the preparation our students have as undergraduates to do significant research.”
This year’s winners include Nalika Gajaweera ’04 of Sri Lanka; Jamie Ko ’05 of Warren Ohio; Elisabeth Sewall ’05 of Portland, Maine; and Rachel Shoemaker ’05 of Katy, Texas. Fulbright Scholarships cover travel, education and living expenses.
Following are descriptions of each recipient’s proposed research:
Nalika Gajaweera will study socio-cultural issues surrounding the outsourcing of U.S. technology labor to India. “Focusing on the new young emerging working sector and their consumer practices, my study will examine how young Indian cultural identity becomes reshaped in light of Americanization and expansion of western market economy and ideology,” said Gajaweera, who earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. For eight months, she will conduct interviews and do field work in Bangalore and Mumbai, India.
Jamie Ko has been offered a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Grant to spend 13 months in South Korea teaching English to middle school or high school students. “I believe that this project is important in the larger scale of fortifying relations between the U.S. and South Korea,” said Ko, who earned her degree in women’s studies/gender studies. “I am certain to learn a great deal from my teaching experience as well. And I will be able to educate others about my country, offering students what they cannot learn from textbooks.”
Elisabeth Sewall will study Ukrainian efforts to create a national identity since gaining political independence in 1991. “Many Ukrainians in contemporary society would like to recognize political and cultural ties to Russia,” said Sewall, a group language major at Occidental. “The fact that a significant proportion of Ukraine’s population is ethnically Russian and that the Russian language is still widely used further complicates the notion of an independent, distinct Ukraine.”
Rachel Shoemaker will spend a year in Taiwan comparing the work environments of mainland Chinese journalists stationed in Taiwan and Taiwanese journalists stationed in the mainland. “The entry of China and Taiwan into the World Trade Organization in 2001 should have increased journalism exchanges between the two regions, but thus far the WTO’s reach has fallen short of the strait,” said Shoemaker, who at Occidental earned an independent pattern of study degree that involved interpreting and translating Chinese, French and German.
The Fulbright Program 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. Twice during the past four years, Newsweek has named Occidental as one of the nation’s hottest colleges. 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.