Fulbright Program awards grants to Stanford graduating seniors, alumni and graduate students

Twenty-one Stanford students and alumni will pursue special projects next year with funding they received from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. They will travel to 16 countries, including Spain, Argentina, South Korea, New Zealand and the Kyrgyz Republic.

The Stanford affiliates are among the more than 1,900 students, artists and young professionals who have been offered grants to study, to conduct research or to teach English in more than 140 countries during the 2016-17 academic year. Candidates are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential.

Participants in the Fulbright program, which was designed to increase mutual understanding between Americans and the people of other countries, engage in cultural exchange through direct interaction by sharing a variety of daily experiences.

Stanford’s Fulbright U.S. recipients are:

  • Austin Ayer, a senior majoring in biology, who will partner with El Colegio de la Frontera Sur and the Mexican NGO Comunidad y Biodiversidad. Ayer will conduct a dual socioeconomic and ecological analysis of a series of recently established marine protected areas in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico.
  • Russell Burge, a doctoral student in history, who will investigate social change in South Korea during the period of rapid development under Park Chung Hee (1961-1979) by looking at the history of Seoul, the largest center of urbanization in South Korea.
  • Sarah Case, a master’s student in East Asian Studies, who, with an English Teaching Assistantship, will teach English in Taiwan in order to improve her Chinese language skills, to gain experience as a language teacher, and to deepen an understanding of Chinese and Taiwanese culture and society.
  • Kristine Chen, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, who will partner with researchers at the University of Twente in The Netherlands on the design and analysis of a pressure mapping system for soft, wearable exoskeletons (exosuits); this will alert researchers and clinicians to high-pressure regions that could be harmful to potential users, including paraplegics and hemiplegics.
  • Alexander Cheung, a senior majoring in bioengineering, who will pursue a master of bioethics and health law in New Zealand at the University of Otago.
  • Mackenzie Cooley, a doctoral student in history, who will explore the imposition of Spanish utopian ideals on European and American nature by elites, naturalists and agricultural artisans from 1450 to 1620. Cooley will research and utilize material from archives in four locations in Spain – Simancas, Cadiz, Jerez de la Frontera and Sevilla.
  • Laura Crews, who earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental systems engineering and who will investigate the effects of Arctic sea-ice decline on seawater chemistry and physics in Norway. Such effects are consequential to phytoplankton, marine plants that feed the marine food web and are important constituents of the global carbon cycle.
  • Melissa Diaz, a senior majoring in international relations and in history, who will develop teaching skills with an English Teaching Assistantship and learn about Spain through interactions with students and independently. Diaz plans to teach students how to create exhibits through oral history, mural painting and dance.
  • Beatrice Garrard, a senior majoring in history, who will develop teaching skills in Mongolia for a career in education. Garrard, a recipient of an English Teaching Assistantship, is interested in the lore and customs of Mongolia and its relationship to Russia and the former U.S.S.R.
  • Theodora Gibbs-Plessl, who earned both a master’s degree in Earth systems and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology in 2014, and who will work with local partners in La Cumbre, Argentina, to assess the vulnerability of its residents’ well-being to the stresses of climate change. Gibbs-Plessi will develop and lead an entrepreneurship-training program to increase the community’s resilience to climate stress.
  • Tanvi Jayaraman, a senior majoring in human biology, who will investigate the barriers to health care access for survivors of intimate partner violence at two violence prevention centers in Rende, Italy, in partnership with the Women’s Studies Department at Universita di Calabria.
  • Grace Klaris, a senior majoring in human biology, who will study the impact of household decision-making on newborn health in Shiv garh, a rural community in Uttar Pradesh, India.
  • Anjali Kumar, who earned a bachelor’s degree in public policy in 2015, and who will document the ways in which the design details of Thailand’s government-initiated housing redevelopment have affected slum dwellers’ informal businesses.
  • Eldred Lesansee Jr., who earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations in 2015, and who will pursue a master’s degree in international development at Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs. Lesansee’s studies will focus on the role that indigenous populations play within development policy and practice.
  • Nicholas Levy, a doctoral student in history, who will conduct dissertation research in Moscow archives. The title of his project is Over-Developed Socialism? Steel Cities, Industrial Planning and the Fate of the Eastern Bloc Economy.
  • Dana Phelps, a doctoral student in anthropology, who will investigate Albania’s heritage negotiation process as the country seeks to re-brand itself while complying with its two potential and conflicting funders, the European Union and Turkey.
  • Sruti Sarathy, who is earning both a master’s degree in French and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 2016, and who will study cross-genre hybridity in South Indian classical violin through practice, performance and ethnography. Sarathy will look at the violin’s role in defining and contesting the borders of Carnatic music.
  • Paul Shields, a senior majoring in international relations and in Slavic Languages and Literature, who will assist English language courses with an English Teaching Assistantship at the university level in Russia and will investigate local health care reform in rural regions.
  • Steven Tagle, who earned bachelor’s degrees in English and in psychology in 2007, and who will study Greek myths in translation at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. He will visit the landscapes and archaeological sites that spawned those myths. Tagle also plans to interview young Greeks about the pressures and uncertainties they face as they come of age at a critical juncture in Greek nationhood.
  • Thuy Vy Thi Tran, a senior majoring in human biology, who will conduct community-based participatory research on a youth empowerment program in rural Oaxaca, Mexico. Acknowledging youths as leaders and keepers of their community, the project seeks to understand their experience with the program, explore their role in community well-being, and identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Grace Zhou, a doctoral student in anthropology, who will explore emergent economies of care in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan. Zhou will study women’s role in distributive networks following industrial decline and the collapse of state services. Her research centers on bazaar work and sex work in Osh, in southern Kyrgyzstan.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is one of several Fulbright programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Institute of International Education.

At Stanford, the Bechtel International Center’s Overseas Resource Center advises students and recent graduates who are interested in Fulbright grants and administers the competition for Stanford. For more information on the Stanford application process, visit the Fulbright Scholarships page on the Bechtel International Center’s website.