APRIL 21, 2015- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Three Fulbright Grants Cap New College’s Student Awards for 2015
Three students at New College of Florida have been awarded prestigious Fulbright grants for 2015 and will study and work in Colombia, Germany and Morocco, adding to a strong year of student awards.
This year’s Fulbright recipients are Kyna Patel (Lakeland, Fla.), Peter Raab (Bellingham, Wash.) and August Tupper (Portland, Ore.). All are expected to graduate in May.
The College previously announced that students Shana Bergman and Madeleine Yount were awarded Gilman Scholarships from the U.S. State Department for study abroad, and that Sarah Oldham and Hilary Ramirez received Critical Language Scholarships from the State Department.
New College now has 57 Fulbright recipients in the last 10 years, and 83 in its history. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranks New College as one of the top producers of Fulbright scholars, and the College has more Fulbright recipients per student than almost any other college.
Here are snapshots of New College’s award-winning students this academic year.
Fulbright Award Recipients
Kyna Patel, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Germany
Kyna Patel is well-prepared for her Fulbright English teaching assistantship: She first taught the language in India when she was just nine years old.
Patel’s parents were born in India, and they returned to visit grandparents and family. She remembers being eager to practice her Gujarati (a language of western India) with her cousins – and found them wanting to practice their English with her.
She went on to study Hindi, Latin and Spanish in high school. At New College, she studied anthropology but also was a teaching assistant in Spanish, and joined the Sarasota Literacy Council. “I had been shocked to find out how prevalent illiteracy in adults is today in the United States, and I realized how it prevents people from finding work,” she said. “I wanted to help.” She trained for ESL certification and tutored Spanish speakers in the Sarasota community.
Patel began studying German her first year at New College, added Russian the next year, and studied both in summer coursework at Harvard and Middlebury. She also traveled back to India for an independent study project on the Hjira community.
While studying in Germany, she attended a program in documentary filmmaking, and created her own short film on the shifting demographics in Berlin. She hopes to use that interest in film, as well as American pop culture and selected TV shows, in her teaching. Patel’s long-terms plans are to pursue a career in photojournalism.
Peter Raab, Fulbright Research Fellow in Colombia
Peter Raab’s Fulbright research project examines how to best bring peace and stability in Colombia, a country that was synonymous with violence in the 1980 and 1990s.
For much of the two decades, left-wing guerrilla forces fought Colombia’s government. Right-wing paramilitaries fought back, and were implicated in human rights abuses against civilians. But in the last decade, thousands of guerillas and paramilitaries have demobilized into an uneasy peace.
Raab, an economics student, plans to study what are the best methods for disarming, demobilizing and reintegrating the fighters into society, and what are the main obstacles to that task. He will work with data and materials at a university in Medellin, Colombia, and work with professors to interview people in the field.
His interest in the region and in conflict resolution began at New College, where he studied and wrote several papers about Colombia, its efforts to demobilize the fighters, and the interactions between guerrillas, paramilitaries, narco-traffickers and the government.
Raab also interned at the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy in Washington, D.C., and in Colombia with the Secretary for Education in the city of Sabaneta, where he researched ways to improve English education and access to colleges in English-speaking countries. He also interned at the Personaria of Sabaneta, a group that tracks human rights abuses and aids victims. At New College, he also served as a volunteer peer mediator.
After his Fulbright year, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in conflict resolution and a career in international organizations that work in that field, such as United Nations human rights organizations. As a talented classical guitarist, Raab also is interested in initiatives like the Muse Seek Project, in the Dominican Republic, which offers ways for poor, deaf children to appreciate music.
August Tupper, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Morocco
Wherever August Tupper goes, he becomes part of the community, and he teaches – be it in his hometown, his college or North Africa – and he will continue that when he returns to Morocco for his Fulbright year.
Tupper, known on campus as Gus, learned to get involved at a young age. His family traveled to Mexico with three basic rules: Avoid hotels as much as possible, skimp on everything except meals, and travel on foot whenever possible.
Back home in Portland, Oregon, he volunteered with the Oregon Food Bank and taught refugee youth from Iraw, Somalia, Bhutan and other countries via a Catholic Charities summer program.
At New College of Florida, he has concentrated in international studies and French studies. His fluency in French landed him a position as a teaching assistant, where he creates lesson plans, leads discussions and grades quizzes. It also led him to a four-month term abroad in Morocco, where French and Arabic are spoken. He studied Arabic and volunteered as an English instructor with university students and other adults, engaging with them by reviewing news stories and debating current events. And his Arabic, which initially was so poor the locals would tease him, improved. “When I successfully ordered an egg sandwich from a vendor in the market in Zaouia Ahansal, victory never tasted so good,” he said.
After his Fulbright year, Tupper plans to attend law school.
Madeleine Yount is a first-generation college student from Fort Pierce, Fla., concentrating in international studies with an issue track in development, and has written papers on educational disparities and the Afro-Brazilian culture of northeast Brazil. She is studying Portuguese (Brazil’s official language) and Brazilian culture, and traveling to the region to study agrarian reform and sustainable development, and work in a rural primary school.
Shana Bergman, from Plantation, Fla., is studying a combined program of biology, mathematics and chemistry, and her projects include a mathematical modeling of G-protein pathways. She plans to continue those studies at the University of Oslo, while volunteering at an animal shelter and visiting the remote Svalbard Islands to study rare wildlife, including polar bears and arctic foxes.
Both are third-year students at New College and are expected to return in the fall.
Critical Language Scholarship Recipients
Sarah Oldham, of Bradenton, Fla., and originally from Falls Church, Va., will be studying Turkish in Ankara, Turkey. In addition, Sarah was accepted into Georgetown University’s law school and was a runner-up for a Fulbright award. Her academic concentration is political science and international and area studies.
Hilary Ramirez, of Orlando, Florida, will be studying Russian in Vladimir, Russia. Her academic concentration is international and area studies.
Both are fourth-year students and are expected to graduate in May.
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New College of Florida is a national leader in the arts and sciences and is the State of Florida’s designated honors college for the liberal arts. Consistently ranked among the top public liberal arts colleges in America by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and The Princeton Review, New College attracts highly motivated, academically talented students from 40 states and 15 foreign countries. A higher proportion of New College students receive Fulbright awards than graduates from virtually all other colleges and universities.
APRIL 21, 2015- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE