Five Middlebury College Seniors Awarded Fulbright
Fellowships — An Unprecedented Five Out of Seven
Nominees from Middlebury Receive the Award

An unprecedented five out of seven Middlebury College
students nominated by the College for the J. William Fulbright
Fellowship have received the award. Five seniors—Julie Crosby
of Livermore, Colo.; David Grass of Jericho, Vt.; Erich Osterberg
of Newton, Mass.; Ashley Palmer of Southampton, Mass.; and Kate
Stone of Bethesda, Md.—have been awarded 1999 fellowships.

The Fulbright Program, which is funded by the United
States Information Agency, awards roughly 1,000 academic grants
each year to graduating seniors and graduate students to fund
a year of research abroad. This year marks the first time that
such a high percentage of Middlebury applicants have received
Fulbright grants.

Fulbright fellows are normally affiliated with a
university in the country in which they will be studying. The
program provides fellows with airfare, tuition, and a stipend
for housing, food, and other expenses.

Middlebury’s applicants for the Fulbright Program
are evaluated and advised by Director of Off-Campus Study David
Macey and the Study Abroad Committee. Four to eight Middlebury
students usually apply each year and, in past years, anywhere
from 30 to 50 percent of those graduates have received grants.

“The Fulbright Program is the culmination of
one’s intellectual and academic life and the launching pad for
the rest of his or her intellectual and academic life,” said

Julie Crosby spent her junior year in Zimbabwe and
Ghana and plans to return to Ghana for her fellowship. As a sociology/anthropology
major with an English minor, she will unite her two fields of
study through her research of Ghanaian literature from a social

She plans to audit courses at the University of Cape
Coast, where she studied last year, and travel around southern
Ghana, living in homestays. She will research literacy issues,
explore the influence of oral literature on written literature,
and examine more informal forms of pamphlet literature, which
are available to people who can’t afford to buy novels, and are
roughly equivalent to American comic books. The ultimate goal
of her research is to develop a curriculum for teaching Ghanaian
literature from a social perspective.

“I’m interested in cross-cultural representation,”
Crosby said. “If Americans can understand Ghanaian literature
in the context of where it comes from, then that can help to address
some of the gross misrepresentations of African countries that
are found in the news media and in Western literature.”

David Grass, an environmental studies and chemistry
joint major, will return to Chile, where he spent last spring
studying rain forest vegetation. His project will focus on lichens
as biological indicators of atmospheric pollution—a connection
he learned of while studying in Chile last spring. As his project,
he said, “I hope to develop a low-tech, easy, and cheap means
of detecting the air pollution that greatly affects the crops
in the rural agricultural areas of Chile. Currently farmers there
have no equipment for this purpose.”

“People’s burden to endure exposure to someone
else’s pollution gives them the right to know its effects,”
Grass added.

He will be doing field work outside Santiago, where
he will also take classes at the University of Chile.

Erich Osterberg, a geology major, will return to
New Zealand, where he spent last fall, to research underwater
chimneys and canyons on the continental shelf off the eastern

He learned of the existence of the underwater chimneys
and canyons while taking classes at the University of Otago in
Dunedin, New Zealand. The formations exist nowhere else in the
world, and have not been extensively researched. Osterberg, who
studied marine geology and oceanography at Middlebury, saw a great
research opportunity. “It was a really interesting project
that was waiting to be done,” he said.

In addition to taking classes at the University of
Otago, Osterberg will do field research, which will eventually
be applied toward a master’s degree in marine geology at the university.

Ashley Palmer, an East Asian studies major, will
spend 12 months in Japan, where she lived for two years with her
family as a child and also spent her junior year in high school
on an exchange program. Her fellowship will allow her to study
the community solidarity of rural Japanese health care, as well
as how residents of a village or members of a group work together
to take care of each other—an aspect of Japanese collective traditional

Palmer will take classes at a Japanese university.
She also plans to study one community in depth to examine the
ways in which the modern health care system in Japan complements
or conflicts with traditional ideas of health care.

“Countries look at each other’s health care
systems to find ways to improve delivery, utilization, and access
to health care,” she said. “However, I think it is important
to keep in mind the intricacies of any particular society or tradition.”

Kate Stone, an international studies major with concentrations
in Japanese and history, spent her junior year abroad in Japan,
and will return there for her fellowship. She proposes to study
the situation of Japanese children on the homefront during World
War II, many of whom were evacuated for their own protection.

Stone’s research will take the form of an oral history
project and she plans to interview survivors of the war as well
as look at records and diaries. She will also take classes at
a Japanese university. When her research is finished, she hopes
her findings will be published as an article.

“I had an amazing experience last year in Japan,”
Stone said. “I think a piece of my heart is somewhere in