Thirteen UI students, alumni receive Fulbright awards for 2015-16

Funds will be used for research, writing, teaching abroad

By Hayley Bruce, Iowa Now

Thirteen University of Iowa students and alumni have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants to conduct research, attend graduate school, undertake creative projects, or serve as English teaching assistants abroad in 2015–16. This year's recipients are: Brett Burk, Douglas Baker, Julia Cartwright, Daniel Goering, Quinn Hejlik, Clare Jones, Julia Julstrom-Agoyo, Sarah Mayer, Acacia Roberts, Steph Rue, Beatrice Smigasiewicz, Gloria Wenman, and Audrey Williams. 

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to increase understanding between people of the United States and other countries by providing participants opportunities to study, teach, conduct research, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. Below are the UI recipients and a brief description of their projects.

Brett Burk of Oskaloosa, Iowa, graduated from the UI in December 2014 with a B.A. in linguistics and an emphasis in Teaching English as a Second Language. With his Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship award, Burk will draw on this academic background and experience tutoring English language learners in China and the U.S. to build and expand upon the English curriculum of his host school in Taiwan for 2015–16.

Douglas Baker of Fort Dodge, Iowa, is expected to graduate with a B.A. in Japanese and music in May 2015. With his Fulbright U.S. award, Baker will gain access to unpublished compositions in archives held in Japan, which will help him pursue his research on the composition style of Japanese composer Taijiro Goh. Baker says this research will help him determine where Goh fits in on the timeline of Japan's musical transition to Western European styles and aesthetics.

Julia Cartwright of Powell, Ohio, is expected to graduate with a B.A. in global health in May 2015. Cartwright was awarded a Fulbright U.S. award to conduct public health research on the relationship between undernourishment and adverse treatment outcomes in pediatric cancer patients at Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Center in India. Cartwright declined the grant to pursue other endeavors.

Daniel Goering of Agency, Iowa is a Ph.D. candidate in organizational behavior and human resources in the UI Tippie College of Business. With his Fulbright U.S. award, Goering will study work-life balance issues and investigate methods to increase resilience to work-family stress with experts at the University of Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan.

Quinn Hejlik of Omaha, Nebraska, is expected to graduate with a B.A. in history and international studies in May 2015. With his Fulbright U.S. award, Hejlik will work as an English teaching assistant in Russia, where he hopes to develop a deeper understanding of Russian culture and language while extending the same understanding of English language and American culture to his Russian students.

Clare Jones of New Orleans, Louisiana, earned an M.F.A in creative writing (poetry) from the UI Writer's Workshop and an M.A. in book arts from the UI Center for the Book in May 2014. Jones will use her Fulbright U.S. award to investigate the potential of new creative writing publishing initiatives to bring Pacific area cultures and climate change activism to the attention of the global community and encourage collaboration between specialists within environmental conservation groups and the arts in New Zealand and Polynesia. She will also research and write a book of poetry,Neotype, that weaves together themes of botany, ornithology, and geology of that area.

Julia Julstrom-Agoyo of Chicago, Illinois, is expected to graduate with a B.A. in international studies with a focus in human rights, a certificate in sustainability, and minors in political science and Spanish in May 2015. Julstrom-Agoyo will use her Fulbright U.S. award for an English Teaching Assistantship in Malaysia to create a dialogue about the cultures and values of Malaysian and American people in terms of the arts, environment, and values to build friendships.

Sarah Mayer of Johnston, Iowa, is expected to graduate with a B.A./B.S. in Spanish and biochemistry in May 2015. Mayer will use her Fulbright U.S. award to cultivate relationships through language learning in Colombia, where she will work as an English teaching assistant. Mayer says this experience will better help her serve the Latino population in the U.S. in her future career as a physician.

Acacia Roberts of Iowa City, Iowa, graduated with a B.A. in linguistics and French in December 2014. Roberts will use her Fulbright U.S. award as an English teaching assistant in Morocco this fall, where she plans to create a weekly conversation group for young adults to discuss global events and help them practice their English speaking skills.

Steph Rue, of Cleveland, Ohio, is expected to graduate with an M.F.A in book arts in May 2015. Rue will use her Fulbright U.S. award to investigate the history and technique of Korean book arts with a special emphasis on paper making in South Korea. She will also create a series of artist books and paper artwork in Seoul that will incorporate her research on traditional bookmaking methods. Her project is intended to help preserve the spiritual and historical tradition of Korean book arts.

Beatrice Smigasiewicz, of Chicago, Illinois, graduated with an M.F.A in literary translation in May 2014 and will earn a second M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from the UI in May 2015. Smigasiewicz will use her Fulbright U.S. award to investigate the representation of post-Soviet Polish identity in Krakow, Poland, through interviews, museum research, and study of Polish literature and architecture. She will use her research to write a book of essays titled Recovered Futures.

Gloria Wenman, of Oxford, Iowa, is currently pursuing a graduate teaching certificate and holds an M.S. in urban and regional planning from the UI, an M.P.A. in public administration from Upper Iowa University, and a B.A. in psychology and creative writing from the UI. Wenman, who is also a member of the U.S. Army, will use her Fulbright U.S. award to address individual learning needs of students and engage them in conversations about American culture as an English teaching assistant in Mongolia.

Audrey Williams, of West Des Moines, Iowa, graduated with a B.A. in political science and French in 2013. Through textual analysis of government policies and interviews with government officials, academics, and experts, Williams will use her Fulbright U.S. award to travel to Turkey to investigate how the country has transitioned from a developing nation into a G20 economy able to provide development aid to other states.

Learn more about the resources available to students interested in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

For more on Fulbright awardees past and present, visit this page.

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