Rachael Warecki
Landscape photo of Galata Tower in Turkey

Five Occidental College alumni, many from the Class of 2024, received awards from the prestigious Fulbright US Student Program, which facilitates cultural exchange by supporting research, graduate study, and English language instruction abroad.

The program, administered by the US Department of State, grants two primary awards: the open study/research awards, which support projects proposed in specific countries, and the English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Awards, which place grantees in overseas schools to supplement local English language instruction. Adithi Benush ’24, Gianna Innocenti ’23, Ezgi Koc ’24, Bia Pinho ’23, and Aidan Trinity ’24 were named awardees, while Estree Arenal ’24 and Rounak Maiti ’16 were named alternates.

Benush, a double major in biology and French from Sacramento, California, received a Fulbright ETA to teach in Taiwan. While there, Benush will organize dance workshops and tennis clinics for the local community. After her Fulbright ends, she plans to work on global public health initiatives.

Innocenti, a biology major from San Anselmo, California, received a Fulbright Research Award to study methods for rewilding agricultural land and mitigating wildfire risk in Turin, Italy. She then hopes to apply her Fulbright research in California, where she plans to study wildfire ecology and work with the National Forest Service or a similar organization.

Koc, a critical theory and social justice major from St. Louis, Missouri, received a Fulbright ETA to teach in Turkey, where she will engage with local artists and explore art exhibitions and workshops. After her teaching experience, she plans to pursue research on Turkish migration, identity, and nationhood.

Pinho, a double major in economics and comparative studies in literature and culture from Curitiba, Brazil and Miami, Florida, received a Fulbright ETA to teach in Germany. While there, she plans to further explore German countercultural history, the topic of her senior comps at Occidental. She hopes to pursue a PhD in German or cultural studies after her Fulbright ends.

Trinity, a diplomacy and world affairs major from Washington, DC, will teach in Mexico as the recipient of a Fulbright ETA. He plans to pursue a career as an ESL teacher while learning about Mexican musical traditions such as huapango, son istameño, and mariachi.