Six awarded Fulbright fellowships

The 2013 Fulbright winners. Top row (from left): Rebecca Tisherman ’13 and Candace Taylor '13. Second row: Monica Raymunt '09 and Evan Piekara '07. Third row: Andrew Greaves '13 and Andrew Gatti '10.
The 2013 Fulbright winners. Top row (from left): Rebecca Tisherman ’13 and Candace Taylor '13. Second row: Monica Raymunt '09 and Evan Piekara '07. Third row: Andrew Greaves '13 and Andrew Gatti '10.

Five Connecticut College seniors and recent alumni have been selected to receive U.S. Fulbright Student Program grants to live, conduct research and teach abroad for an academic year. In addition, a recent graduate and employee of the College has been awarded a Fulbright Study/ Research Grant for Beginning Professional Journalists. 

"Connecticut College students are educated to be active citizens in today’s global society, which makes them excellent candidates for Fulbright fellowships,” said President Leo I. Higdon Jr. “Nine of our recent graduates are currently teaching and conducting research all over the world as 2012 Fulbright scholars, and I am very proud of our 2013 winners, who will soon join their ranks.”

Fulbright fellows receive round-trip transportation to the host country, a living stipend, research allowances and medical insurance. Connecticut College is consistently recognized as a top producer of Fulbright fellows, within seven years. The 2013 winners are: Rebecca Tisherman ’13, Candace Taylor ’13, Monica Raymunt ’09, Evan Piekara ’07, Andrew Greaves ’13 and Andrew Gatti ’10.

Rebecca Tisherman ’13, Fulbright Research Award to China

Tisherman, an environmental studies major and East Asian languages and cultures and mathematics double minor, will research the effect of shale gas drilling (commonly referred to as “fracking”) on groundwater resources in China. She will be working with Professor Tang Ya at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China.

“Shale gas drilling just started last year in China and they are still working on trying to conduct it in the safest manner possible,” Tisherman says.

Tisherman studied Chinese at Connecticut College and had the opportunity to study abroad and complete an internship there. As an environmental studies major, she has also been preparing herself for graduate study of water management.

“Fulbright combines both of my interests and gives me an amazing opportunity to study how humans are impacting water systems while immersed in Chinese culture and society.”

Following her Fulbright Fellowship, Tisherman hopes to work in environmental consulting, specifically in the field of hydrology or hydrogeology, before pursuing a graduate degree.

Candace Taylor ’13, Fulbright Research Award to Nicaragua

Taylor, a dance major at Connecticut College, will return to the country where she studied abroad as a junior to continue her honors study research, which combines dance and anthropology to document cultural histories.

Taylor will live primarily in Managua, Nicaragua, but will travel all over the country collecting the personal testimonies of the people there. She will record those personal histories and create a dance piece inspired by them. The work expands on research she did for her senior honors thesis, “Using Dance to Cultivate a Culture of Testimony,” under the direction of Assistant Professor of Dance Rosemarie Roberts. In addition, she will incorporate research she conducted during her study abroad to Nicaragua regarding the presence of modern dance within the country.

“The people of Nicaragua are so warm,” said Taylor. “I really fell in love with the country. I am so eager to get back there.”

Taylor said she learned she had received a Fulbright while studying in Connecticut College’s Shain Library. “I gasped out loud, and everyone came over to congratulate me. Conn is a very supportive environment,” she said.

Following her Fulbright fellowship, Taylor, who has conducted independent research during all four years of college, said she is interested in dancing professionally and pursuing a master’s degree in dance anthropology.

“Many people don’t realize how intensely academic dance can be,” Taylor said. “I have been so inspired and motivated by the professors in our dance department. I can only hope I might be able to pay it forward and share all I’ve gained here with others.”

Monica Raymunt ’09, Fulbright Study/ Research Grant for Beginning Professional Journalists to Germany

Raymunt, an English and theater double major at Connecticut College, will travel to Berlin to research access, funding and the role of government in the German higher education system. She also plans to intern with either a German or American news agency there.

Since October of 2011, Raymunt has been a writer and content producer in Connecticut College’s Office of College Relations.

Following her graduation from Connecticut College, Raymunt worked at the Atlantic Media Company as an intern and then research assistant for Government Executive magazine. She then spent several months working as an au pair in the Netherlands, where she became interested in the education systems of the Netherlands and Germany and the role they play in the integration of immigrant communities in Dutch and German culture.

“Access to education is something we struggle with here in the U.S., so it’s important to look at it from an international perspective,” she said.

While working at Connecticut College, Raymunt has taken three German language and culture classes and studied for a month in Germany.

“Liberal arts graduates always have myriad interests, and this Fulbright brings together a lot of my interests and passions,” she said.

Following her Fulbright year, Raymunt hopes to work in the field of journalism, ideally as an American correspondent for a German news organization or a foreign correspondent for an American news service.  

Evan Piekara ’07, English Teaching Assistantship to Poland

Piekara, a government and economics double major at Connecticut College, was awarded an English Teaching Assistantship Fulbright to Poland. In lieu of the Fulbright, he has accepted an employment offer from BDO, a large accounting company, where he will be working to launch a federal management consulting practice.

After graduating from Connecticut College, Piekara taught for four years with Teach for America.  On Friday, he will graduate with a master’s in business administration from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

Andrew Greaves ’13, English Teaching Assistantship to Malaysia

Greaves, a government major and sociology minor, will teach English at a primary or secondary school, likely in a small town or rural area in Terengganu, Pahang or Johor. He also hopes to also coach a volleyball team and develop a local component to World Refugee Day to build awareness of refugee rights. To coincide with the Malaysian school calendar, Greaves will begin his Fulbright in January of 2014.

Greaves says he is passionate about cross-cultural learning and teaching, and that he chose to pursue a Fulbright to Malaysia because of its diversity and growing economy.

“It will allow me to both teach and learn from diverse students who will be future global leaders,” he said.

Greaves says he has learned that the most successful Fulbright fellows adapt well with cross-cultural sensitivity and strong communication skills, both of which he developed at Connecticut College.

Professor [Tristan] Borer’s human rights course and refugees course helped me develop a unique understanding of how to critically examine international issues from different perspectives,” he said.

Following his Fulbright fellowship, Greaves hopes to work in the corporate social responsibility department of a global manufacturer. “I would like to help corporations find ways to source their goods more ethically and ensure fair labor rights while remaining profitable,” he said.

Andrew Gatti ’10, English Teaching Assistantship to Hungary

Gatti, who majored in international relations at Connecticut College, will be working at the Hungarian Fulbright Commission’s Education USA Advising Center and at the Jesuit Roma Residential College in Budapest, Hungary. At Education USA, he will advise Hungarian students interested in pursuing higher education in the U.S. At Roma Residential, he will teach advanced English, establish an English club with a focus on cultural immersion and train and advise students who may qualify as future Fulbright applicants.

Following his graduation in 2010, Gatti joined the Peace Corps and taught English in a rural village of Ukraine, where he was the only American among the village’s 2,000 people. After he completed his service in December of 2012, he traveled in the Middle East and Asia.

The Fulbright is a natural next step for Gatti. “I have always been about travel, doing something meaningful with my life and living outside of my comfort zone to discover my potential,” he said.

Gatti credits his professors, including Assistant Professor of History Eileen Kane, with introducing him to the fascinating world of Eastern Europe and teaching him to critically analyze the U.S. in a way he says has benefited him tremendously while living abroad. He also describes his study abroad semester as transformative.

“Studying abroad in Dublin marked a definitive change in my life that sparked my interest in discovering other cultures,” he said. “It changed everything.”

Following his Fulbright fellowship, Gatti hopes to study international relations at the graduate level and continue working and studying abroad.

May 13, 2013