Brittany Anderson, a PhD candidate in anthropology at the University of Iowa, is the winner of a Fulbright Study/Research in Anthropology to Sierra Leone for 2019-20
Hometown: Sparta, WI
Award: 2019-20 Fulbright Study/Research in Anthropology to Sierra Leone
Degree: Doctor of Anthropology
Could you give me a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright?
I will be using the Fulbright to conduct my dissertation fieldwork, which examines the long-term social and economic impacts of the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in a context of resource scarcity and fluctuating international aid.
What drew you to this field of study?
During my undergraduate study at Luther College, I noticed that a lot of the information about the epidemic in West Africa focused on the biological details and the overall numbers. The experiences of individuals affected by the outbreak were not present. This influenced the direction of my Master's research and drove me to go to Sierra Leone. In the last two summers, I was able to conduct research into the long-term aftermath of house-based quarantine and look at the daily lives of those who still live with the consequences. This project expands on those findings to better understand the large scale, long-term impacts for the people affected by the epidemic.
How do you envision this will influence your future career?
The Fulbright will allow me to conduct my dissertation research, but it will also give me an opportunity to provide answers about the long-term effects of epidemic. I hope to publish and communicate my findings in a way that helps the people I am directly working with, as well as give us a better understanding about the effects of epidemic on people and communities after the outbreak is over. I hope to someday work with epidemic response to minimize the kinds of long-term consequences I see in Sierra Leone.
What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright?
My advice for future students would be to start early and have as many people read drafts and provide feedback as possible. The process is tough, but it is possible with a well-structured project and clear, concise ideas.
Are there individuals (professors, mentors, etc.) you'd like to thank for their investment in this process?
I would especially like to thank Professor Theodore Powers, who helped guide me during this process and advise me during our many, many meetings. Additionally, I would like to thank Professor James Giblin and Professor Erica Prussing for their letters of recommendation, as well as Professor Emily Wentzell for her suggestions and contributions during this process. This process would not have been possible for me without their support. I'd also like to thank the individuals back in Sierra Leone who encouraged my project as it developed and formed, as well as the sociology faculty at Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone, who helped to guide my pursuit of this funding. Finally, I'd like to thank Dr. Elizabeth Savelkoul and Dr. Karen Wachsmuth for their support and advice throughout this process.
Students are encouraged to begin their funding searches and applications at least six months to one year in advance. Schedule an advising appointment with Karen Wachsmuth to discuss your interest in an international fellowship or begin an application (as a UI undergraduate student, graduate student, or alumna/us).