UW News

August 19, 2010

15 UW students, alumni selected for Fulbright Scholarships

Fifteen UW alumni and students have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships, joining the more than 1,500 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2010-11 academic year through the Fulbright Student Program. This number of recipients sets an institutional record for the largest number of UW undergraduate Fulbright awardees.

The 11 undergraduate alumni are: Masha Burina (’07), Glorya Cho (’07), Maria Hoisington, (’09), Joji Kohjima (’10), Sam Lim (’10), Sarah Munger (’10), Meleah Paull (’10), Caitlin Pratt (’10), Nathan Snyder (’10), Rachael Stovall (’10), Christina Ygona (’06). Two current UW graduate students and two recent doctoral graduates also were selected this year. They are Suzanne Simburg, graduate student in business and public administration; Rachel Severson, graduate with a doctorate in psychology; Cameron McGregor, graduate student in education; and Patrick Aubin, graduate with a doctorate in electrical engineering.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

UW honorees and their projects:

Masha Burina, 2007 graduate
Fulbright country: Croatia
Majors: international studies and economics
Burina will conduct a research project on political and economic civic engagement in Croatia.

Glorya Cho, 2007 graduate
Fulbright country: Zambia
Majors: international studies and economics
Minor: African studies
Hometown: Bainbridge Island, Wash.
As an undergraduate, Cho participated in Model United Nations, volunteered with the global youth organization One World Now!, mentored a middle school student through the Journey Unlimited Mentoring Program, and completed honors-level research through the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. Upon graduation, she interned with an international nongovernmental organization in the Democratic Republic of Congo, studied Korean in Seoul, and studied Mandarin Chinese in Beijing and Taiwan. As a Fulbright Fellow in Zambia, Cho will study the implications of globalization as seen through increases in Chinese migration and investment on youth development policy. She will attend the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Masters in Public Policy degree program in fall 2011 as a Rangel Fellow.

Maria Hoisington, 2009 graduate
Fulbright country: El Salvador
Major: Latin American studies
Minors: Spanish and human rights
Hometown: Seattle 
Hoisington became interested in working in Central America after participating in an exploration seminar on human rights issues in Guatemala led by Professor Angelina Godoy. In 2009, she volunteered as an election volunteer in El Salvador and subsequently wrote her undergraduate thesis for Latin America studies on the social effects of violence on young males from marginalized urban communities. Through this research, Hoisington became interested in the broader issue of creating a juvenile justice system that effectively rehabilitates and reinserts youth back into society so they may have successful futures and not fall into the revolving door of the adult penitentiary system.

As a Fulbright Fellow, Hoisington will examine the current juvenile justice system in El Salvador. In the future, she plans on pursuing a career in social work or psychology and working directly with incarcerated youth.

Joji Kohjima, 2010 graduate
Fulbright country: South Korea
Majors: international studies and pre-med
Hometown: Tacoma, Wash. 
Kohjima has volunteered in schools and medical clinics in far-flung locales such as Thailand, Nicaragua, Ghana, and Vietnam. Joji’s interest in Korea began with hearing stories from his grandfather, who grew up in Korea. His interest in East Asia centers around cultural commonalities, such as philosophical traditions and linguistic relationships between nations. He is also interested in the divergent paths of Asian nations during the modern era. As a Fulbright Fellow, Kohjima will travel to Korea is to better understand Korean history, his family history and the legacy of medical missionaries in Korea. He also wants to understand the plight of leprosy patients in Korea during the 20th century, and to become proficient in Korean. Since completing his degree in international studies at UW, Kohjima has been studying biochemistry and related sciences in preparation for medical school, which he hopes to start after he returns from Korea.

Sam Lim, 2010 graduate
Fulbright country: Germany
Major: international studies
Minor: European studies
Hometown: Spokane, Wash.

As a UW undergraduate, Lim helped lead the student-initiated, student-run University of Washington Dream Project, a unique high school outreach/college degree completion program. Lim also worked for the UW State GEAR UP Program as a Summer Institute Team Leader and for the Making Connections program at the UW Women’s Center as the scholarship coach. Founder of the scholarship resource website ScholarshipJunkies.com, Lim has spoken to students, families, and educators across the country about how to make the most of scholarship opportunities. Lim also traveled and researched abroad in Germany, Italy, Greece, and Guatemala through UW-sponsored programs and as a 2008 Humanity in Action Fellow. Combining his academic interests and passion for international travel, Sam has expanded his research interests to explore issues of college access and affordability around the world. As a Fulbright Scholar to Germany for 2010-2011, Sam will conduct an ethnographic research project to explore the relationship between access to higher education and social mobility in Germany.

Sarah Munger, 2010 graduate
Major: English
Munger will teach English in Indonesia.

Meleah Paull, 2010 graduate
Major: international studies
Paull will conduct a research project in Slovenia on the Roma Act and minority rights and integration.

Caitlin Pratt, 2010 graduate
Fulbright country: Morocco
Major: Near Eastern languages and civilizations
Hometown: Stanwood, Wash.

Pratt first became interested in studying Arabic and Middle Eastern cultures when she visited Morocco in 2005 during a trip to Spain. Later, after beginning her study of Arabic at UW, she decided to take Persian and Japanese to further broaden her ability to connect with people from other cultures. Because of her focus on languages, she began volunteering with the UW’s English Language Program, helping facilitate in-class discussions for students learning English. As a Fulbright Fellow in Morocco, Pratt will serve as an English-as-a-foreign-language teacher and study the Moroccan dialect of Arabic. She will continue working as an English teacher, in addition to considering careers in translation and international relations as her fluency in Arabic increases. She feels that the work of cultural ambassadors is extremely valuable to future relationships between the United States and the rest of the world.

Nathan Snyder, 2010 graduate
Fulbright country: China
Majors: international studies and economics
Hometown: Vancouver, Wash.
Snyder has pursued academic interests in China’s economy, rule of law, and economic growth theory. For his senior thesis, he conducted a survey of court cases from Guangdong province to determine how the court system is being used to adjudicate intellectual property rights disputes in China. He speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently and studied Mandarin intensively abroad in Beijing during 2008 and again in Harbin in summer 2009 courtesy of a U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship. Since January 2009, Snyder has been a research intern at the Washington State Department of Commerce, primarily focusing on trade issues between China and Washington State. In the near-term, he wants to spend a few years working in China in an international trade related job before entering an international relations graduate program. Snyder’s long-term goal is a career in US-China policy with academic or research institutions.

Rachael Stovall, 2010 graduate
Fulbright country: Jordan
Major: public health
Minor: French
Hometown: Kirkland, Wash.

Stovall taught children nutrition in a multicultural Seattle neighborhood through the organization Cultivating Youth, working with the elementary school children to grow, harvest, and discuss the benefits of vegetables. Stovall learned about foods in students’ homes, gaining an international perspective on nutrition. She subsequently developed research and analytical skills, abstracting nutrition policies for Washington state public school districts. Stovall also contributed to evaluations of strong and weak policies on the “Healthy Schools, Successful Students” website for Washington state school management, parents, and the community. In graduate-level epidemiology classes, she learned research methods for calculating risks of diseases and identifying confounding factors that muddle research validity. For her honors senior thesis, Stovall investigated students’ stipends and eating behaviors in a Seattle public school. Stovall plans to earn an MD and a master’s in public health to continue to help people improve their health, and conduct epidemiologic research focusing on child health. She hopes to further her knowledge of public health with her Fulbright research in Jordan.

Christina Ygoña, 2006 graduate
Fulbright country: The Philippines
Majors: communications and business administration
Hometown: Bremerton, Wash.

Ygoña first became interested in community-based models of tourism while she was in the Dominican Republic serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The primarily rural tourist attractions and projects she encountered there and beyond encouraged and excited her to consider community-based tourism as an integral solution to poverty alleviation, cross-cultural understanding, and community development. She considers herself a global citizen with multiple transnational relationships, including one with the Philippines that stems from her upbringing as a first-generation Filipina-American. She looks forward to researching the challenges and prospects of community-based tourism in the Philippines, not only for the professional and academic opportunities it presents in exploring a field of international development she finds extremely intriguing, but also because of the personal stories and experiences it will afford.

Patrick Aubin, 2010 doctoral graduate
Fulbright country: Lithuania
Area of study: electrical engineering
Hometown: Seattle

Aubin will study Parkinson’s disease, the common neurodegenerative disorder that impairs motor skills, including balance, in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Aubin is developing a new diagnostic test for the early detection of Parkinson’s disease by analyzing a person’s “balance, posture and sway with an artificial neural network. The artificial neural network module will be designed as a plug-in module for OpenSim, a powerful open source computational musculoskeletal modeling software,” he said.

As a graduate student at the UW, Aubin was a research assistant at Veterans Administration Puget Sound Health Care System’s Center of Excellence for Limb Loss Prevention and Prosthetic Engineering. The center’s mission is to prevent lower limb amputation by understanding the biomechanics of the foot and the causes of diseases that lead to amputation. Once he completes his Fulbright, Aubin will pursue an academic career in biomedical engineering at a research university.

Cameron McGregor, UW master’s student
Fulbright country: Russia
Area of study: Elementary education
Hometown: Ritzville, Wash.

McGregor will travel to the city of Elista in Southern Russia, north of Georgia, to teach American studies and culture to students between 10 and 14 years old, as well as university students. “During my Fulbright, I am hoping to gain a greater understanding of the Russian language, of Russian culture and of the Russian education system,” McGregor said. “I want to be able to compare how Russians view education, versus how we, as Americans, view education in order to make a more significant impact as a future elementary teacher.”

After completing his master’s degree in teaching, McGregor plans to teach elementary school in the United States or abroad.

Rachel Severson, 2010 doctoral graduate
Fulbright country: Norway
Area of study: psychology
Hometown: Maple Valley, Wash.

Severson will travel to Oslo, Norway, to research environmental generational amnesia, the idea that the natural world a person experiences in childhood forms that person’s baseline of what is environmentally normal. As the environment degrades, each new generation perceives the degraded environment as normal, unaware of the degradation that occurred previously. This psychological phenomenon has implications for environmental sustainability, Severson said.

“I will investigate, across generations, Norwegians’ experiences, values and conceptions of the natural environment,” she said.

Severson and her husband, Karl Unterschuetz, are sailing their boat to from the Pacific Coast of Mexico to Norway, by way of the Panama Canal, Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea.

Suzanne Simburg, UW master’s student
Fulbright country: Mexico
Areas of study: public administration/ business adminstration
Hometown: Seattle

Simburg will work at New Ventures, a group in Mexico City that provides consulting services to entrepreneurs in order to support sustainable businesses that combine profitability with social responsibility.

“I’m interested in the idea of a dual bottom line,” Simburg said. “New Ventures’ work is particularly interesting because of the intersection between business and public value.”

Simburg, who completed the 200-mile Seattle to Portland bike ride this summer, also is looking forward to learning business Spanish and improving her salsa dancing.

For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, click here.