News and Events

November 15, 2017
Seven Students Nominated to Compete for Fulbright U.S. Student Grants

The CMU National Scholarship Program proudly presents seven outstanding students who have been nominated to compete for 2018-2019 Fulbright U.S. Student Grants. Semi-finalists will be announced by the Institute for International Education in late January. Finalists will be notified in early to late spring.

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, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.​

Noah Danielson: Study Grant Nominee - United Kingdom

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Noah Danielson, an Honors student from Midland, Michigan, is nominated to compete for a Fulbright Research Grant in biochemistry in the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics of King’s College London. He desires to earn his doctorate there in Genetics & Molecular Medicine, focusing on DNA, genome sequencing, and rare genetic disorders while in Dr. Tim Vyse’s laboratory. As an undergraduate at CMU, Danielson gained advanced research experience. First, he signed on for a two-year research assistantship in a lab using a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer analyzing the kinetic diffusion of molecular constructs that serve as genetic material delivery systems. Currently he is working in a lab that researches trehalose analogues, which may eventually have use for curing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Danielson notes that this kind of research, and the corporations that build the machinery used for these purposes, share a global endeavor to cure such diseases, and overseas experience will help build this network when he returns to work in the US. He would like to work either within academia or the federal research level, perhaps for the National Institutes of Health. Outside the lab while in England, Danielson intends to volunteer with the Red Cross and Refugees Support Network.

Kelsey Griffith: English Teaching Assistant Nominee - Nepal

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Kelsey Griffith, an Honors students from Benton Harbor, Michigan, is nominated to compete for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Nepal. Griffith is an elementary education major, with a focus on language arts and a minor in anthropology. She has participated in service learning trips to Peru, and to Mexico where she taught English. She gained further international experience by completing her pre-student teaching in Ireland. In deciding which country to apply to for her Fulbright experience Griffith recognized that Nepal was a natural fit for her career commitments. Nepal, which currently experiences severe poverty, has identified learning English as a way for its citizens to help improve the national economy. Griffith believes that education can be transformative for all people, and thus must be accessible to all people, including girls, women, the differently abled, the impoverished, and the systematically overlooked. In making this education available she is also committed to cultural sensitivity so as not to introduce or perpetuate monoculture. One example of this commitment is that she is a facilitator with the David Garcia Project, in which she leads groups in simulations that demonstrate the difficulties a person with a disability might encounter.

​Nathan Holmes: English Teaching Assistant Nominee - Mexico

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Nathan Holmes, an Honors student from Howell, Michigan, is nominated to compete for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Mexico. In working toward his goal of becoming a surgeon in the southern United States serving a Hispanic population, Holmes has already established a pattern for study abroad that he hopes to advance even further with his Fulbright experience. He studied abroad in Chile, where he taught English classes at a university and volunteered in a local emergency room. Similarly, he participated in teaching English to orphans while he was on a service learning trip in Mexico. These experiences taught Holmes “acceptance, why diversity is needed, and how valuable being bilingual is.” They have fostered in Holmes a strong commitment to being both bilingual in English and Spanish, and to being culturally competent in serving people from Central and South America who are in the U.S. Holmes has been admitted to Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine but has permission to defer for a year should he receive the Fulbright grant. He views a Fulbright appointment to Mexico a logical next step in his journey.

Ashley Howell: English Teaching Assistant Nominee - Vietnam

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Ashley Howell, an Honors student from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, is nominated to compete for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Vietnam. The placement would be for working with advanced English learners at the secondary or post-secondary level. As an English major with a Creative Writing Certificate, Howell has myriad experiences tutoring and teaching English, including working in the CMU Writing Center, as a teaching assistant for an Honors service learning behind bars course, and a service experience in the Dominican Republic. Howell is currently conducting a poetry workshop in a local correctional facility for her Honors Capstone research. Howell’s long-term plans are to earn an MFA in poetry, followed by a PhD in creative writing, with the aim of becoming an English professor. She hopes to work throughout her life to amplify the voices of those who have been silenced, no matter the context. The possibility of living and working in Vietnam for a year is appealing to Howell because, “In public school, I was only taught about the country in relation to the Vietnam War. I look forward to gaining a more complex understanding of Vietnam by directly experiencing the country through its landscapes, architecture, food, and people.”

Adam Newby: English Teaching Assistant Nominee - Colombia

Newby Photo.jpgAdam Newby of Iron River, Michigan, is nominated to compete for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Colombia. Newby, who is majoring in Social Work and Spanish, with a Certificate in Spanish and English Translation, came to his love of Spanish relatively late in his academic career, beginning his study while at CMU. Newby believes this experience gives him special insight for how to teach university-level students who are learning English for the first time. In Colombia he wants to show post-secondary students that it is never too late to become proficient in a foreign language. Through creating an immersive classroom environment, he hopes that his students will “see how fun, useful, and life-giving learning another language can be.” Newby’s previous experiences with combinations of teaching, social work, and Spanish include tutoring CMU students in Spanish and psychology, working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence and human trafficking, studying abroad in Costa Rica, a mission trip to Ecuador, and working as a CNA on a medical mission trip to Mexico. After finishing a PhD in Social Work, Newby’s career goals include pursuing social work in Spanish-speaking communities in the US to help end disparities in the health care system due to language barriers.

Chrisoula Pitses: English Teaching Assistant Nominee - Argentina

Pitses Photo.jpgChrisoula Pitses, an Honors student from Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, is nominated to compete for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Argentina. Pitses began her CMU education planning to major in exercise science, focusing on kinesiology, but she never gave up on her love of Spanish, her other major. After an experience in an Honors course that included a week-long trip to Miami to volunteer at an immigration center, she discovered how these disparate interests might be combined. She could become a lawyer specializing in immigration policy and healthcare availability. Pitses has focused her academic energies in these combined areas by conducting Honors Capstone Research on healthcare disparities in Hispanic populations, earning a certificate in translation, and travelling, volunteering, and studying abroad in Mexico, Honduras, and Costa Rica. The Fulbright mission is meaningful to Pitses because she values the personal connections made through living and working in another culture: “It is these connections, perspectives, and relationships that fuel compassion, understanding, and empathy. All too often are immigrants stereotyped, lumped together, and considered a statistic. This further emphasizes the need for global education and awareness.” If awarded an English Teaching Assistant grant, Pitses plans to attend law school after her Fulbright experience.

Kerigan Williams: English Teaching Assistant Nominee - Germany

Williams Photo.jpgKerigan Williams of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, is nominated for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Germany. Williams plans to earn an MFA and PhD in fiction writing, with the goal of becoming an English professor. Williams’s background in creative writing has given her a unique view of language learning, which she hopes to utilize while teaching in Germany. She believes that knowing a language is more “than simply being able to parrot a few choice phrases. You have to tell a story. Since I have stopped looking at German as a foreign language and instead considered it as another medium in which I can tell stories, my understanding and abilities have flourished.” This approach, telling a story, rather than focusing on set phrases and grammar, is one which might allow German students “to feel freer with their speech and their abilities. Rather than being constrained.” Part of the Fulbright experience is community engagement in the host country, and Williams envisions herself utilizing not only her German minor, but her music minor as well, by participating in a community orchestra playing oboe, leading book club programs in local libraries, and through community-wide creative writing workshops.

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