Samantha Bonar

Nine Occidental College seniors have won prestigious Fulbright scholarships to work and study abroad.

The nine are among 51 Occidental students and alumni who have won Fulbrights since 2003, a record that makes Occidental one of the country's top producers of Fulbright Scholars.

"I am eager to examine  issues regarding the largely failed partnership between the U.S. and Mexico, such as NAFTA, and immigration policies, from a new perspective and in a hands-on way," said Leah Glowacki, a Spanish and diplomacy and world affairs double major from Palm City, Fla., who will teach English in Mexico.

Brian Bumpas, a mathematics major from Pasadena, received an English teaching assistantship to teach in Taiwan, where he plans to continue his study of Mandarin. Juan German, a diplomacy and world affairs major from Providence, R.I., will travel to Turkey to teach and conduct research. Micah Farver, a politics major from Portland, Ore., will teach in Thailand, while Ryan Allman, a diplomacy and world affairs and Spanish double major from Chevy Chase, Md., will teach in Colombia. William Holmes, who hails from Sammamish, Wash., and majored in English and comparative literary studies, will teach English in South Korea, while Anne Wolfstone, an English and comparative literary studies major from Portland, Ore., will work as an instructor in Austria.

"I felt a mixture of pride and disbelief," upon learning she'd won the Fulbright, Wolfstone said. "What I'm left with now is pure excitement." She credits her "enthusiasm for the German language, interest in teaching, and extremely positive study-abroad experience in Vienna" for her pursuit of the award.

Cecilia Prator, a biology major from La Crescenta, will conduct biology research in Australia, while Meghan Whalan, a biochemistry and history double major from Eugene, Ore., will study chemistry in Finland. "I will be studying venomous spiders, scorpions, and centipedes for the development of eco-friendly pesticides from their venom components," Prator explained. "Australia is considered the hub of venom research, not only  for the more well-known fact that Australia is home to the most deadly venomous animals in the world, but because the University of Queensland, where I will be working, is also the most concentrated area of scientists in the world dedicated to studying venomous animals.

"I am so excited about beginning the adventure of a lifetime," she added. "I am honored to be part of the legacy of Fulbright winners."

The nine will join more than 1,600 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2012-2013 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

The Fulbright program, which covers travel, education and living expenses, was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

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 and its global orientation. Scores of Occidental alumni are currently serving in the Foreign Service, with international NGOs and as international entrepreneurs.