Fulbright and DAAD Grant Recipients Announced

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The 13 award winners will teach, study, or conduct research around the globe.

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A collage of Dartmouth Fulbright scholars
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Twelve students and alumni have been offered grants to study or teach abroad through the Fulbright Scholarship program, in Luxembourg, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, India, the United Kingdom, Jordan, Spain, Mexico, Poland, and Indonesia.

Sponsored by the U.S. government, the Fulbright Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between Americans and the people of other nations through international educational exchanges in more than 155 countries.

“We are thrilled to have so many Fulbright recipients this year,” says Christie Harner, assistant dean of faculty for fellowship advising. “The impressive diversity in their plans—research, graduate study, and teaching, across four continents and 11 countries—speaks to the depth and breadth of a liberal arts education. It also reflects Dartmouth’s commitment to social impact around the world.”

“The Fulbright is a unique opportunity for these graduates to learn with and from communities outside the U.S., advancing their careers while also engaging with people in their host countries.”

2022-23 Fulbright Awards

The following students and alumni have been offered Fulbright fellowships for 2022-23.

Shera Bhala ’22

Kansas City, Mo. | Government, French

English teaching assistant grant, Luxembourg

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Shera Bhala
(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

“Majoring in both government and French motivated me to apply, because Luxembourg is fascinating in that it’s the only grand duchy in the world and it’s a founding member of both the EU and NATO,” says Bhala. “French is one of its national languages in addition to Luxembourgish and German. So it’s a unique country to be able to live, work, and teach in.”

Having traveled to 34 countries across five continents, Bhala is “really looking forward to connecting with students in Luxembourg, teaching them English, sharing my personal background, and hopefully reflecting the diversity of America.” Bhala has Malaysian Chinese, Indian, Scottish, and Irish heritage.

In addition to serving as arts editor for The Dartmouth, Bhala has worked at an inner-city daycare center and a Montessori school. She has also interned at the World Bank and on Capitol Hill with U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Missouri. “I see this fellowship as really enriching and fortifying that path, opening so many doors,” she says. “Senator Fulbright saw this program as an avenue of hope, a way to forge empathy and peace and common bonds between nations. I’m looking forward to building those bridges and championing the U.S.-Luxembourg relationship.”

Matthew Chen ’21

San Marino, Calif. | Quantitative Social Science

English teaching assistant grant, Taiwan

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Matthew Chen
(Photo courtesy of Matthew Chen)

For his senior thesis project, Chen studied how networks of scientific collaboration vary across countries with different economic policies and research infrastructures. He’s also a competitive speed skater who consistently ranked in the top five nationally. While in Hanover, he coached young speed skaters and, as a pre-med student, helped care for children at Dartmouth Health. With the Fulbright, he’ll continue to work with young people, teaching them English and, perhaps, skating.

“At Dartmouth, I really loved my time working with kids across a multitude of different arenas, on the ice and in the hospital,” says Chen. “The Fulbright is the perfect opportunity for me to continue the type of service I most enjoy in a place that is particularly meaningful to me.”

The summer after his freshman year, Chen, whose parents are Taiwanese, went to Taiwan to learn Mandarin. “That fueled my desire to go back to the country,” he says. “It’s going to be exciting to have an impact on Taiwan’s youth inside and outside the classroom. I would love nothing more than to share my love of athletics with the children I meet.”

Following his Fulbright year, Chen plans to attend medical school.

Margaret Ferris ’22

Solon, Ohio | Government, Classical Studies
English teaching assistant grant, the Czech Republic

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Margaret Ferris
(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Ferris traces her ancestry to the Czech Republic, through her maternal grandmother. “She’s the reason I love history and learning and reading—all the things that are fundamental to who I am,” says Ferris. “I want to know more about the country her mother came from.”

For example, she’d like to learn more about European education. “Students can go to specialized high schools, in forestry, or business, or art, for example, and that’s interesting to me because where I went to high school, we also had specialized programs, but they were kind of looked down upon. I’m eager to see if the Czech Republic has a different mindset about equity.”

At Dartmouth, Ferris was a Learning Fellow, helping small groups of students engage in their course work through in-class problem-solving sessions, discussions, projects, and other activities. She’s also taught English in China.

Ferris realizes that the Fulbright will take her to a potentially turbulent part of the world, if the war in Ukraine spreads to other countries.

“I trust the U.S. State Department to make a wise decision about this when the time comes,” she says. “The Fulbright Foundation has done a really incredible job getting the Ukrainian and Russian Fulbright fellows out of their host countries, finding new host families, helping refugees, and demonstrating what it is to be like a global citizen.”

Alexandra Hawley ’19

Farr West, Utah | Anthropology
Research/study grant, New Zealand

(Received the award in 2021, but was unable to enter New Zealand due to COVID-19 restrictions, which have now been lifted.)

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Alexandria Hawley
(Photo courtesy of Alexandria Hawley)

Hawley will pursue a master of heritage conservation at the University of Auckland. “I am very interested in museum work and Indigenous art, and in art as a wellness practice and a healing practice,” she says. A member of the Navajo Nation, Hawley says she wants “to gain Maori and other Pacific Indigenous perspectives on the museum and how we engage with it—to hear perspectives beyond those of the U.S. on issues of ownership and collaboration. I really want to understand healing through creativity and what that means to different communities. And also, just to be around art and beautiful things.”

An anthropology foreign study program brought Hawley to New Zealand in 2018, and she returned for a Native American and Indigenous Studies Association conference. “I ended up making some amazing friends in that short time span,” she says. 

At Dartmouth, Hawley was an undergraduate adviser for the Native American House and a fellow of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows program, which supports students from minority backgrounds in pursuing careers in academia. Through Mellon Mays, she completed a senior capstone project on Navajo maternal-child health. “That was my undergraduate passion that set me up for Fulbright,” she says. “It’s humbling to have been selected. It is such an honor and a privilege.”

Since graduating in 2021, she has worked for the United Way of Northern Utah, currently as the early childhood coordinator with the Welcome Baby program.

Lucas Joshi ’23

Easton, Md. | Hispanic Studies, Lusophone Studies
Research/study grant, India

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Lucas Joshi
(Photo courtesy of Lucas Joshi)

The Fulbright will take Joshi, who is from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, to Goa, on the southwestern coast of India. The territory was settled in the 16th century by Portuguese colonists, some of whom imported enslaved labor from Asia and Africa. A Mellon Mays Fellow who will graduate this year, Joshi says that even though his father is from India, he was not aware, until studying at Dartmouth, of the Portuguese presence in the country. He’s eager to learn more about that complex history.

“As a researcher, I’ll be working alongside a few professors at Goa University who will help me answer questions about legacies of enslavement and domestic labor, and different expressions of memory and mourning,” he says. It also interests him that even though cremation is widely practiced in India, the Catholics in Goa were more likely to inter their dead. “So one of my questions is, where are those descendants buried?”

At Dartmouth, he learned Brazilian Portuguese, which he says is different from what he will hear in Goa. “I have my foot in a few different cultures, making me better equipped to decipher the Afro-Asian heritage of Indian Portuguese,” he says. Following a year of research in India, Joshi will enter a PhD program in comparative literature at Brown University.

Sophia Miller ’22

Grantham, N.H. | Chemistry
Research/study grant, Jordan

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Sophia Miller
(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

After her freshman year, on a language study abroad program in Morocco, Miller met two Dartmouth graduates doing research through the Fulbright program. “I loved the idea of being able to travel and continue my Arabic language education,” she says.

With her Fulbright, she’ll conduct an independent research project based at the University of Jordan in Amman, where, as a sophomore, she did an internship through the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding. “I’m interested in gender studies, and I also want to incorporate aspects of my chemistry background into my research. One issue that has always been important to me is female representation in STEM subjects, so I designed a project where I will be researching ways to increase access to STEM education for female refugees in Jordan,” says Miller.

At Dartmouth, Miller was co-president of the Dartmouth Sexual Assault Peer Alliance. “I also worked as a state director for a nonprofit dedicated to gender-based violence prevention on college campuses, and I would like to continue that kind of work in Jordan,” she says.

Dominique Mobley ’22

Scottsdale, Ariz. | Film and Media Studies
Research/study grant, London

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Dominique Mobley
(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Mobley uses humor to draw attention to serious issues. She’s created, written, and directed a comedic web series, “A Day in the Life of a Black Girl.” She hosts a podcast called “Dom’s Club,” interviewing media groundbreakers. Her documentary “This Is Black Comedy” features both emerging and established comedians. And she’s served as vice president of Dartmouth Comedy Network.

Making people laugh, says Mobley, lowers their guard and opens their minds. “They realize that, OK, this is really funny, but they may also be able to take truth from it. My main goal, through storytelling, is to create these positive, authentic representations of Black people. Growing up, my peers and I were inundated with negative media about Black people that reinforced stereotypes. I realized this had to change and media is a powerful tool for doing that.”

She plans to pursue a master’s degree in screenwriting at the London Film School.

“I’ll be able to enhance my storytelling and collaboration skills while also getting a better understanding of the Black diaspora in London,” she says. “I’ll combine what I’m writing with what I’m experiencing on the ground.”

A Stamps Scholar and Rockefeller Leadership Fellow, Mobley says her many creative pathways at Dartmouth have all led to the Fulbright. After completing her master’s degree, she plans to move to Hollywood to continue blazing trails.

Ethan Moon ’22

Atlanta, Ga. | Economics, Music
Research/study grant, England

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Ethan Moon
(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

“My focus is on environmental justice, because it’s well documented that the impacts of climate change are shouldered by those least able to handle it, usually very marginalized groups,” says Moon. “As a Fulbright scholar, my goal is to work with policy makers and environmental economists to come up with ways to try to ease that burden from these groups.” He’ll pursue a master of arts degree in political ecology.

The United Kingdom sets a positive example of response to a changing climate, says Moon.

“The Environmental Performance Index ranks countries based on how well they’ve performed environmentally, and the UK has really just blown the top off the rankings in recent years. They’re currently fourth in the world,” says Moon. “The United States is 24th and I think that has to do with the social sentiment surrounding climate change. It’s not as contentious and partisan in England as in the United States.”

Moon, whose parents emigrated from South Korea, is writing his economics thesis about corporate governance. “I’m framing it in the context of how we can promote social mobility through private firms,” he says.

Moon says he’s looking forward to exploring rural England. “The government has been preserving the countryside, and it’s absolutely beautiful—a case study of a country taking action, both privately and publicly, to promote environmental issues.”

Zonia Moore ’16

Philadelphia, Pa. | Romance Languages, Hispanic Studies
Research/study grant, Mexico

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Zonia Moore
(Photo courtesy of Zonia Moore)

After graduating from Dartmouth, Moore worked in management consulting, where her favorite projects were related to social change. “One of those initiatives, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, helps institutions implement digital learning, which really improves access for low-income students,” says Moore.

At the University of Pennsylvania, while pursuing an MD, Moore has served as co-president of the Student National Medical Association, “a Black student union for the medical field, working toward racial equity.”

Moore grew up in Sewickley, Pa., but says she feels most at home in Bridgetown, Barbados, where several family members live. “The Fulbright will take me to a hospital in Mexico City, where I will research skin conditions including melasma, eczema, and vitiligo,” Moore says. “I want to explore the field of dermatology to determine the best treatment options for skin of color. After the Fulbright, I will complete my medical degree and see where life takes me.” 

Mia Nelson ’22

Denver, Colo. | English and Creative Writing
English teaching assistant grant, Spain

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Mia Nelson
(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Nelson has been an outreach intern, a storytelling and digital media Intern, and a senior intern at the Dartmouth Sustainability Office, where she wrote an article about FUERZA Fund, an organization that aids migrant farmworkers in Vermont and New Hampshire.

In 2021, her one-act play, The Other Girls, was a winning entry in the Frost & Dodd Student Play Festival.

“I also write poems,” she says. “And I’m on The Dartmouth staff. I chose Spain in part because of its incredible literary scene, especially for women writers.”

The multi-faceted English major has also served as a teaching assistant at Thayer School of Engineering. “A Fulbright, to me, is all about creative teaching. I hope to do the kind of tutoring I would’ve like to have had in high school, relying on a horizontal rather than a hierarchical distribution of knowledge,” she says.

Teaching in Galicia, an autonomous community in northwestern Spain, Nelson will help students learn English via other academic subjects. A leader in the Dartmouth Outing Club, she also plans to hike an ancient walking trail linking the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela to the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

“It’s a quite long pilgrimage, but it’s something that I’ve always really wanted to do,” she says.

Samuel O’Brien ’22

Glen Gardner, N.J. | Government
Research/study grant, Indonesia

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Samuel O’Brien
(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

O’Brien first went to Indonesia as a high school senior to take part in a State Department language study program, and he lived with a family in Jakarta. The next summer he went to Jakarta again, this time with a grant from the Dickey Center. “Writing for a government affairs journal, I learned about a condition called stunting, which results in short stature, but it’s also a kind of developmental condition,” says O’Brien. “It occurs in young children and infants and it’s a huge, huge problem in eastern Indonesia.”

Yet another grant, from The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy, funded a virtual internship at an NGO called the 1,000 Days Fund, which allowed him to continue researching factors that may contribute to stunting. The Fulbright will take him even further along that path.

“Many diets in this region lack nutrition,” says O’Brien. “I will also look at infant feeding practices, because Nestle has heavily marketed formula in this part of the world, and some mothers mix it with water that may not be of the best quality. Social determinants, as well as nutritional constraints, go into stunting, and what I would like to know is if one stands above the rest.”

Currently an intern at the Center for Health Equity at the Geisel School of Medicine, O’Brien plans to attend medical school.

Ian Reinke ’22

Pewaukee, Wisc. | Russian area studies, Middle Eastern studies
Teaching assistant grant, Poland

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Ian Reinke
(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Reinke has always loved learning foreign languages—he speaks Russian and French, has working proficiency in Spanish and Chinese, and is studying Ukrainian and Arabic. At Dartmouth, he’s incorporated language study with history, politics, and world affairs.

“I’m interested in separatist movements that were happening in the eastern part of Ukraine since 2014,” he says. “I’m writing my honors thesis on the arguments that Russia’s using to intervene in surrounding countries in the post-Soviet era.”

Reinke originally planned to spend next year teaching English in Ukraine. Because of the war, the Fulbright program moved his assignment to Poland. But he’s also been offered a fellowship to pursue his master’s degree in Eastern European studies at Columbia University. Being unable to defer enrollment, has decided to take that route, rather than the Fulbright.

DAAD Recipient

Jonah Hirsch ’22
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Jonah Hirsch
(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Another scholarship program, Germany’s Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD), will allow Hirsch to pursue a master’s degree in political theory jointly offered by Goethe University Frankfurt and the Technical University of Darmstadt.

“I’ll combine philosophy and ethical theory with empirical development study to try to answer questions such as whose responsibility is it to address human rights violations, or what kinds of policies can lead to more religious toleration?” says Hirsch, a native of Wilton, Conn., who is majoring in government modified with philosophy. “I’m very grateful to Dartmouth’s government and German faculty for being really supportive. I didn’t start learning German until sophomore year and I took a big interest in language learning in that department.”

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The Fulbright Program was launched in 1946 through legislation from the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright, D-Arkansas, and has subsequently funded over 400,000 participants, according to its website.

To learn more about how to apply for the Fulbright, DAAD, and other programs, visit Dartmouth’s Fellowship Advising Office.