Three seniors and one alumna awarded prestigious grant
Krista Clawson & Maura Turcotte
THE SANTA CLARA
May 5, 2016
Santa Clara is adding four more students to its list of Fulbright Scholarship recipients.
Announced last month, three seniors and one alumna were offered grants to study and teach abroad during the upcoming academic year. Santa Clara is among the top producers of U.S. Fulbright scholars and students, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Having dabbled in Spanish, German, Italian, Latin and Homeric Greek, senior Clara Cushing is now taking on Czech. In late August, the English and Classics double major will depart for the Czech Republic on a Fulbright scholarship to work as an English language teaching assistant in a small town roughly 25 miles outside of the country’s capital of Prague.
She credits her English professor for sparking her interest in the Fulbright program.
“I learned about (the scholarship) in my Argumentation class my Spring quarter of my Junior year with Simone Billings. She talked a lot about her Fulbright experience… and I guess I had never heard about it before that and I kind of put it in the back of my mind,” Cushing said.
However, Cushing has long thought about going abroad after graduation. In fact, she’s quite the experienced expatriate.
The senior grew up in Germany, from about the age of six to the age of 12. During her time there, she traveled around Europe with a swim team, going to meets in various countries.
In high school, Cushing hopped back over the pond again to visit Italy and Greece with her Latin class. She also spent fall quarter of her junior year abroad in Rome.
“Classics made me really interested in Europe,” she said. “Learning about European history, I have always wanted to go back and spend more time there.”
When it came time to choose a country for the scholarship, Cushing said her own family history was one of her inspirations. Several generations ago, her dad’s family emigrated to the U.S. from Czech. Additionally, her mom’s parents were educated in Czech after leaving war-torn Germany during World War II.
Although Cushing is unsure of her future career path, at the moment she’s interested in teaching, something she says was sparked by her English major. She has three years of experience working at the on-campus writing center and said she enjoys working with ESL students.
“I don’t know if I want to go into teaching in general, so I thought this would be a good chance to see whether I like it or not,” she said.
Still waiting for more details, the soon-to-be graduate just found out she will be at a vocational school for high school and college-aged students.
“It’s an agricultural school and they have specific classes in like veterinary vocabulary, horseback riding and even golf too–which I decided not to help with because I do not know anything about golf,” she said.
In total, Cushing will spend ten months teaching. While there, she hopes to reconnect with family and friends in Europe and familiarize herself more with the Czech Republic.
“After being in school for so long, I think I want a year by myself to figure things out and become more independent and just to experience something different than everything here,” Cushing said.
Senior Lindsey Allen was awarded the prestigious Fulbright scholarship. She is a political science major with minors in communication and Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.
Allen will be mapping out the current social entrepreneurship atmosphere in Morocco. She will be working with the Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in conducting a study to create a typology of the organizational frameworks available to social entrepreneurs in the country.
The ultimate goal of the research is to overcome gaps in understanding between Moroccan entrepreneurs, policymakers and academia.
“I’ll be investigating what factors in each framework support or inhibit entrepreneurs who want to make an impact in their communities, and I’ll also be doing a gender analysis to see which frameworks are most accessible to women,” she said.
Allen has had experience in the developing world. She studied abroad in Morocco during the fall of her junior year, which was a transformative experience for the current senior. There she conducted field research that won first place in Santa Clara’s Study Abroad Undergraduate Research Award program. She also traveled to Tanzania and Uganda as a Global Social Benefit Fellow.
“For a long time, I felt frustrated with being so far removed from the problems I wanted to address,” Allen said. “Living and working in the developing world–both through my previous study abroad experience in Morocco and my research in East Africa–has helped me discover my passion for grassroots community development.”
Witnessing the far-reaching impact of an experienced social enterprise in East Africa inspired Allen to return to Morocco to continue evaluating entrepreneurial problem solving.
Allen said her mentors, Keith Warner OFM, the director of education and action research in the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Professor Elijah Reynolds, as well as the general Santa Clara community, have supported and encouraged her throughout her endeavors.
“Generally speaking, the feeling of support and community is unique to Santa Clara and has been invaluable throughout my college experience,” she said.
Allen decided she wanted to apply for a research Fulbright in the spring of 2015. In order to do so, she needed to find an affiliate organization that would validate her research and help provide her with resources. She emailed many Moroccan social entrepreneurship networks and organizations.
“The one who responded told me my email caught his eye because his sister went to Santa Clara,” she said.
Warner visited Allen in Uganda, where he assisted with her application and research proposal. Once she returned from East Africa, she worked on completing the application within the following two months.
Allen will depart for Morocco in early September and will be there for nine months.
Senior Sean Reilly, who also received a Fulbright, will travel to Queensland, Australia to study methods to combat “pond apple.” It is an invasive plant that has destroyed many ecosystems in Australia. Reilly is an environmental science and biology major, according to a university press release. He is also president of the campus Grass Roots Environmental Efforts Now club.
Alumna Stephanie Goodman, ’15 is also a 2016 Fulbright recipient. At Santa Clara, she was a public health science and political science double major. She also spent a semester at American University where she studied peace and conflict resolution.
She will be going to Ghana to analyze the effect of enrollment in Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme on trauma-related mortality and evaluate impediments to enrollment, according to a university press release.
“I extend my warmest congratulations to Santa Clara University’s outstanding Fulbright Students,” said University President Michael Engh, S.J. in the university press release. “Their accomplishments are all directed to making the global community a better place.”
Contact Krista Clawson at email@example.com and Maura Turcotte at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.