Prestigious Program Takes Alumnae Across the Globe to Study, Research, and Teach

May 15, 2015
Photos of Ten Wellesley women who have won Fulbright awards this year.

A Wellesley education can take you around the world. Later this year, 10 Wellesley seniors and alumnae will be studying, researching, and teaching abroad with the help of grants from the Fulbright U.S. Exchange program.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries. Over 360,000 students have participated in the program since its inception in 1946. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 160 countries.

This was a winning year for Wellesley women, with ten receiving Fulbright grants. (Several grant awardees may elect to decline their awards in order to pursue other opportunities.) In addition, three Wellesley women were honored as alternates.  The Fellowships program at the Center for Work and Service assists students and alumnae to apply for the Fulbright as well as other national and graduate fellowships that can strengthen and broaden intellectual horizons.

Congratulations to the following Wellesley recipients of 2015 grants from the Fulbright Program!

Faith Fells ’15, political science and education: Awarded an English teaching assistantship in Malaysia. 

Charlotte Fitzek ’15, East Asian studies: Awarded a research grant to study how the Catholic Church helps North Korean defectors integrate into South Korean society. She will decline her award in order to continue her studies of East Asia at Georgetown University.

Kimberly Geronimo ’08, political science and Spanish: Awarded a grant to perform a mixed-methods study that creates national-, regional-, and municipal-level indicators of distance between vulnerable households and nearby public services in Chile.

Esther Im ’12, international relations–political science: Awarded a grant to study policy implications of demobilization of troops on the Korean Peninsula in the context of reunification by mainstreaming a gender perspective to assess the social costs and the impact of demobilization on men and women in South Korea.

Maria Labouyer ’15, biology and art history: Awarded a grant to research the relationship between diet and the composition of bacteria in the gut as it relates to the development of autism, at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Lucia Perez ’14, astrophysics: Awarded a grant to perform spectroscopic analysis on Herbig AB stars with Dr. Thebe Medupe of the South African Astronomical Observatory. She will assist Dr. Medupe with translating ancient scientific manuscripts from Timbuktu and run a winter school that promotes the study of astrophysics among black South Africans.

Paulina Perlin ’15, political science and mathematics: Awarded an English teaching assistantship in Russia. She will be declining the Fulbright to accept a fellowship with the NYU-Global Academic Fellows program in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Nathalie Rivas ’15, biochemistry: Awarded a grant to study the preservation and degradation of biosignatures under planetary conditions that simulate the surface of Mars, in Campinas, Brazil.

Christy Rozek ’15, cognitive and linguistic sciences and Italian studies: Awarded an English teaching assistantship in Malaysia.

Jocelyn Wong ’15, art history: Awarded a grant to research the conceptual approaches of Chinese contemporary landscape painters in the Westlake District of Hangzhou, China. Her work will be advised by Dr. Gao Shiming, the director of Intermedia Studies at the China Academy of Art. 

Three Wellesley women were named alternate awardees: Jiali Lin ’12 (China)Maria Nikitin ’13 (Italy), and Margaret McClure ’15 (Russia). 

-Katelyn Campbell '17 contributed to this story.