After another cycle of Carleton student and alumni fellowship applications, a total of 17 Carls were recognized by the Office of Student Fellowships in their draft report to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.
Current Carl Susana Kisker ’24 and recent graduate Eric Cheng ’23 were awarded Critical Language Scholarships. The program funds students learning under-studied languages abroad. According to a program statement, the goal is to “broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries.” Kisker will be spending her summer with a host family in Arusha, Tanzania, with 20 other participants. She will take Swahili courses for four hours a day while also learning through immersion. Her interest in Swahili arose after doing research in Kenya.
“Last summer, I did research at Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya. I worked with Dr. Kayamo on a retrospective cohort study on preoperative mortality predictors for patients with Rheumatic Heart Disease,” said Kisker. “We are looking to expand this research to other hospitals in Eastern Africa, and [knowing] Swahili is very useful in developing relationships with other hospitals.”
Lita Theng ’23 was awarded a Davis Project for Peace fellowship to continue work on her project titled “Artists for a Reconciled Cambodia.” The project had previously received funding through Carleton’s Professor Roy F. Grow Fellowship.
Continuing its legacy as a top producer of Fulbright scholars, Carleton boasts twelve new recipients this term, including graduating seniors and alumni. The list of awardees includes Sophie Baggett ’23, Lindsay Boettiger ’23, Horace Fusco ’23, Thomas Gatewood ’23, Erik Lagerquist ’19, Emmett Lefkowitz ’23, Grace Leslie ’21, Chisomnazu Oguh ’23, Michaela Polley ’23, Zak Sather ’23, Mikhalina Solakhava ’23, Allison Teichman ’23 and McKenna Wirth ’22.
Polley will spend her next year as a Fulbright-Marshall Plan awardee in Klagenfurt, Austria, where she will be researching enumerative combinatorics with Dr. Andrei Asinowski at the University of Klagenfurt. Her advice to students wanting to pursue a similar opportunity is simple: start early.
“Don’t wait to start looking for an affiliation. Use the Grantee Directory on the Fulbright website and the Fulbright Scholar network to find possible connections in your country of interest, and don’t be afraid to cold email them,” said Polley. “Starting early will make everything easier.”
Other fellows had similar insights to share regarding the application process.
“The application requires a lot of planning, but if you work diligently during the summer before and practically memorize the Carleton applicant resource website, then you’ll be in a good place,” said Teichman, who will be spending her next year as an English Teaching Assistant in La Rioja, Spain. “The hardest part for me was the six months of patience between submitting my application and becoming a finalist.”
Some of the selected had more roadblocks in their experience than others. Wirth originally applied her senior year for the fellowship to Ukraine, a week before the beginning of the war.
“I’d applied as an ETA to Ukraine last year and had my semi-finalist interview about a week before the invasion, so my Fulbright journey has been a little longer,” said Wirth, who spent the past year working as a business operations associate at a software company. “I’d like to encourage anyone interested to try again if at first they don’t succeed (or a war breaks out).”
Many of the fellows, including Sather, had some previous experience in their selected country or language.
“I worked in Germany last summer as an English tutor at a language school for refugees,” said Sather, who was awarded a teaching assistantship in Bavaria. “I’m pretty sure the only reason I got the grant was because I spent last summer working there — if you can figure out a way to get some experience teaching English, especially in the country you want to go to, I think that’s really helpful.”
Boettiger, who was selected to teach English in Taiwan, echoed similar advice. While she had never been to Taiwan, she had lived in China for a year during high school and, as a Chinese major, demonstrated long-standing interest in the culture and language.
In addition to the twelve Fulbrights, junior Annemily Hoganson received a Goldwater Scholarship. The Goldwater program is a highly competitive undergraduate STEM scholarship which recognizes academic excellence and awards financial support for a student’s senior year.
Additionally, one graduating senior, Julian White-Davis ’23, was awarded the prestigious Watson fellowship, which funds specific projects involving international travel. White-Davis will spend a year across multiple locations including Ireland, South Africa, Israel-Palestine and New Zealand. In contrast to other fellowships, the Watson program has a rule specifying that candidates must not have previously traveled to the places they choose in their projects.
“Each of these countries have a unique history of settler colonialism, and I hope to spend this next year talking with people from each of these places about their relationship with the land on which they live,” said White-Davis. “I’ll meet with people with different histories with the land — settlers, immigrants and Indigenous folks — to talk about these things. I’ll use photography alongside conversation to flesh out these ideas for myself and for the people with whom I speak.”
White-Davis gave advice similar to the other fellowship recipients’: think about the application early and talk to the Office of Student Fellowships staff as soon as you can.
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