Arts / Faith and Humanities / People of SU

Five Redhawks Awarded Fulbrights

May 22, 2018

Seattle University

Image credit: Yosef Kalinko

Three recent Seattle University graduates and two current undergraduate students have been awarded prestigious 2018-2019 Fulbright Grants to study, research and work abroad. This is the second time since 2016-17 that five Seattle U students have earned Fulbright Grants in a single year, making the university among the nation's top producers of Fulbrights.

Three recent Seattle University graduates and two current undergraduate students have been awarded prestigious 2018-2019 Fulbright Grants to study, research and work abroad. This is the second time since 2016-17 that five Seattle U students have earned Fulbright Grants in a single year, making the university among the nation's top producers of Fulbrights.

Three recent Seattle University graduates and two current undergraduate students have been awarded prestigious 2018-2019 Fulbright Grants to study, research and work abroad. This is the second time since 2016-17 that five Seattle U students have earned Fulbright Grants in a single year. The university, through its Office of Fellowships, is consistently recognized as a top producer of Fulbrights. Since 1994, the university has produced 51 Fulbright recipients.

Seattle U students will be represented in three grant categories: Study/Research Grants, English Teaching Assistantships, and UK Summer Institutes.

The Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the United States and other countries. Established in 1946 and named for Arkansas Sen. J. William Fulbright, it is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.

“Seattle University is immensely proud of our Fulbright awardees,” said Robert Dullea, interim provost. “A commitment to excellence and a lot of hard work goes into becoming a Fulbright. This year’s success is a testament to the quality and dedication of our students, faculty and staff that make it happen.”

Here are the 2018-19 Fulbrights:

Olivia Mejia-Martinez
Fulbright English teaching assistantship to Colombia

Olivia Mejia-Martinez earned her bachelor’s degree from Seattle U in 2017 with a major in International Studies with Departmental Honors and minors in political science and French. Through her Fulbright, she will live and work in Bogota at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia from August 2018 to May 2019. As an undergrad, Mejia-Martinez studied abroad in France and Senegal and worked as a peer adviser in SU’s Education Abroad office. Given her interest in international education and teaching ESL, after graduation she accepted a job through the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) to teach English in French public elementary schools. This experience pushed her to apply for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Colombia. To engage with the community in Bogotá, Mejia-Martinez will volunteer with an organization that promotes food justice initiatives and she will start a fusion cooking class and English conversation group with her students. Long term, her goal is to advance Spanish language dual immersion programs in Southern California as a teacher, administrator and/or policymaker.

Joe Millward
Fulbright research grant to India

Joe Millward will graduate this year with a degree in economics, minoring in math. His Fulbright aims to expand on research he published on health inequities in northeastern India in 2017 through Seattle U’s International Development Internship Program. Through his personal and preliminary research, Millward found that a major public health concern in rural regions of northeastern India is financing of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). He will spend his Fulbright year estimating the impact of such diseases on household economic welfare by evaluating differences in utility of those affected by these diseases and those not affected. Millward will manage semi-structured interviews and surveys in village communities of North Bengal that will be administered by HIMserve, a nonprofit organization that provides services to rural communities in North Bengal. Additionally he will partner with the Indian Institute of Public Heath Delhi, conducting research with Dr. Anup Karan, a professor of health economics who has done prior research on the economic impact of non-communicable diseases. The goal, says Millward, is to inform policy responses on disease impact and help develop a platform for continued research on the economic impact of NCDs in northeastern India. In the future, Millward hopes to provide competent analysis of programs and policies for families and individuals that do not have equitable access to health care services. Professionally he aims to pursue a career in public health and believes this Fulbright research grant will provide him further opportunities for intellectual and professional growth.

Emily Kawahigashi

Fulbright Research Grant to Nicaragua

Emily graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies and Minors in Spanish and Latin American Studies. In her research proposal for the Fulbright, Emily Kawahigashi questioned the significant social and economics disadvantages faced by ethnic minorities in Nicaragua, despite legal protections. Kawahigashi, a 2016 graduate with a bachelor’s in International Studies and minors in Spanish and Latin American Studies, noted that universities potentially offer socioeconomic mobility and career advancement but that they can also reproduce dynamics of social exclusion. As a researcher with Nitlapan, Kawahigashi’s research will explore the ways in which Caribbean Coast youth in Nicaragua approach higher education while navigating the tensions between integration and maintaining commitments to family, community and identity. Her methods will include semi-structured interviews, focus groups and participant observation. The research will be conducted with indigenous and Afro-descendant community leaders and youth as well as Caribbean Coast students from UCA and BICU universities. Through her Fulbright, Kawahigashi will research the intersections between anthropology, law and minority identities. Following her Fulbright service, Kawahigashi plans to pursue a career as a human rights lawyer with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Vanessa Lam
Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Taiwan

As a future educator, Vanessa Lam aims to educate her students to venture boldly in who they are and who they can be. Lam, a 2016 graduate with degrees in mathematics and a humanities for teaching, chose to apply to teach in Taiwan because its innovative education reform, which includes teaching English and local history. This appealed to Lam’s interest in learning how to inspire cultural pride and cross-cultural curiosity within students. Completing a Fulbright ETA will further develop her ability to integrate cultural relevance and innovative teaching approaches. To complement her teaching and to better understand Taiwanese culture, Lam will engage with the community by learning how to cook Taiwanese dishes. She will create a cookbook in English and fill it with photos and cultural facts about each dish. It will be gifted back to the Taiwanese youth in English. After she returns to the United States, Lam plans to earn a teaching credential and a Master in Teaching, with hopes to integrate cultural relevance and curriculum. Following grad school Lam plans to teach math at a public high school in a low-income neighborhood.

Leah Dooley

Fulbright Summer Institute, London’s Globe Theatre

Leah Dooley is a second-year University Honors student in the Intellectual Traditions program, double majoring in Women and Gender Studies and English Literature. Her academic interests are in the intersection of gender, theater and representation. She is particularly interested in how the theatrical arts—and Shakespeare, specifically—can be used to explore gender and gender performance and push social boundaries. Through the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Institute, Dooley will spend three weeks this summer at the Globe Theatre in London, studying Shakespeare’s work with the American Institute for Foreign Study. During the program, she will take classes and seminars on Shakespearean drama and attend practical workshops covering everything from stage combat to movement. This experience will help Dooley refine her critical thinking skills by better understanding early modern drama and the relationship between historical context, theater and audience. 

More About the Fulbright Grant

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program

The nationally competitive Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fully funded research, study and teaching opportunities in more than 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students. During their grants, Fulbright recipients will meet, work, live with and learn from the people of the host country, sharing daily experiences. The program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction on an individual basis in the classroom, field, home and in routine tasks, allowing the grantee to gain an appreciation of others’ viewpoints and beliefs and day-to-day life. The SU Fulbright scholars will join a highly distinguished group of fellows, which includes 59 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 71 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients and thousands of leaders across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

Study/Research Grant

The Fulbright Study/Research Grant is the traditional award where a candidate crafts an in-depth research proposal for a specific country, sometimes partnered with a graduate program.

English Teaching Assistantship

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship programs place successful recipients in schools overseas to supplement local English Language instruction and to provide a native speaker presence in the classroom.

Fulbright U.K. Summer Institutes

The Fulbright U.K. Summer Institutes are three-to-four week educational residency programs for U.S. undergraduate students to explore the culture, heritage and history of the United Kingdom while also experiencing higher education at a university there.