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Four of Middlebury's 2016 Fulbright students. From left: Todd Hunsaker, Tim Fraser, Dylan Gilbert, Josh Berlowitz.

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Nine from Middlebury Receive Fulbright Awards

May 27, 2016

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Six Middlebury students and three recent alumni have been awarded Fulbright Fellowships for the 2016-2017 academic year. The Middlebury recipients are among the more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research, and provide expertise abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as a record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.

Middlebury’s Fulbright recipients include the following:

Joshua Berlowitz ’16 hopes his English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in Turkey will help him toward his goal of becoming a professor of Aegean and Anatolian history. The Valhalla, New York, native who studied the classics, political science, and history at Middlebury, hopes to “exchange English skills and an introduction to American culture for a broader world perspective and pre-professional experience.” As one form of his immersion experience, Berlowitz hopes to replicate Middlebury’s “language tables,” where students eat while chatting with their professors and classmates in their target language. At the end of his Fulbright, Berlowitz plans to apply to Ph.D. programs in the classics.

Mara Moettus ’16
Mara Moettus ’16
Mark Balderston ’15.5
Mark Balderston ’15.5
Leif Castren ’14
Leif Castren ’14
Barbara Ofosu-Somuah ’13
Barbara Ofosu-Somuah ’13

Timothy Fraser ’16, of Greenville, Pennsylvania, will explore post-Fukushima debates in Japan about restarting nuclear reactors that were shut down after the tsunami disaster. At Middlebury, Fraser’s academic focus has been international and global studies, East Asian studies, and geography. Fraser will begin a Ph.D. program in political science at Northeastern University when he returns to the U.S.

Dylan Gilbert ’16, an art history and Russian major from St. Peters, Missouri, will complete an English Teaching Assistantship in Italy. Gilbert notes that his experience teaching writing to middle schoolers in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with the Breakthrough Collaborative, solidified his desire to teach. He hopes to teach extra classes in art history while he is in Italy as a way to help students practice English in an informal setting as they get a taste of American culture and history. Eventually, he plans to pursue his Ph.D. in Italian studies and teach at the university level.

Todd Hunsaker ’16 is double majoring in neuroscience and German at Middlebury. He plans to conduct research at the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Thuringia, Germany. Hunsaker, of Scottsdale, Arizona, will be studying the diagnosis and treatment of psychological and neurological disorders, specifically schizophrenia, OCD, and depression, using fMRI, DTI, VMR and EEG neuroimaging techniques. Hunsaker plans to apply to medical schools in the U.S., Germany, Austria, and Switzerland when he returns from his Fulbright fellowship.

Mara Moettus ’16 is a geography major from Minneapolis, Minnesota. On her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, she will travel to Latvia to “explore my Latvian heritage and to share my love of cross-cultural communication through language.” Moettus will use her experience working with people with disabilities to engage with special education programs and incorporate this into her teaching assistantship. After her fellowship, Moettus expects to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector, possibly working with refugees and immigrants.

Mark Balderston ’15.5 studied Spanish and linguistics at Middlebury. A native of Philadelphia, Balderston will pursue an English Teaching Assistantship in Brazil. Balderston has traveled extensively throughout Central and South America and hopes that his ETA program will help him gain additional experience before pursuing an advanced degree in language teaching or linguistics.

Amy Herman M.A. ’15 (not pictured) earned her bachelor’s degree at Sarah Lawrence College and is enrolled in the Middlebury German School’s master’s program in German studies. She plans to teach German to high school students after completing her English Teaching Assistantship in Germany. Currently living in Austin, Texas, Herman has spent the past 20 months volunteering as an ESL teaching assistant, an experience she says led her to pursue teaching full time. She is particularly interested in joining – or starting – a choir or ensemble in Germany that focuses on traditional music from around the world.

Leif Castren ’14 studied biology and Spanish as a student at Middlebury. With his Fulbright fellowship, the Kalispell, Montana, native will study ecological responses to volcanic disturbances from the 2008-2009 eruptions of Volcán Chaitén in southern Chile. This fall Castren will complete his first semester of graduate studies in ecology and religion at Yale University before starting his fellowship.

Barbara Ofosu-Somuah ’13 earned her bachelor’s degree from Middlebury jointly in psychology and sociology and Italian. A native of Ghana, Ofosu-Somuah will spend her Fulbright fellowship in Italy, examining diversity and inclusion efforts in Italian schools. She will examine teaching practices that “deliberately create fair social and academic outcomes for immigrant students in Italian schools.” At the conclusion of her project, she will pursue doctoral studies in education, focusing on race, inequity, and language in higher education.

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 primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright Program’s establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. Since then, the Program has given more than 360,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

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