Editor’s note: This story was updated on June 22, 2023.
The Fulbright Program has once again awarded a large number of teaching, study, and research grants to a diverse group of adventuresome Dartmouth students and alumni.
“We’re thrilled to see Dartmouth’s exceptional liberal arts education represented in such a wide range of assignments and countries—from teaching in Uruguay and Belgium to STEM research in Germany and creative writing in South Korea,” says Christie Harner, assistant dean of faculty for fellowship advising.
“Dartmouth actively encourages critical engagement across disciplines, languages, and cultures, preparing our applicants for an incredible variety of experiences through the U.S. Fulbright Student Program. Our recipients take what they’ve learned on campus and lend their talents to an increasingly global society.”
Administered by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other nations through international educational exchanges in more than 155 countries.
Sixteen students and alumni have accepted Fulbright awards for 2023-24, and a 17th was offered one but declined.
2023-24 Fulbright Awards
Fatema Begum ’22
New York, N.Y.
Open Study/Research, Germany
“I was born in Bangladesh,” says Begum. “When I was younger, I would see starving Bangladeshi women going from home to home asking for a bundle of rice, as they carried malnourished babies on their backs. That early exposure to the link between poverty and poor health is why I care so much about reducing the global burden of disease.”
A premed student who majored in biology, Begum spent a postgraduate summer at Germany’s Max Planck Institute exploring how antidepressants modify human behavior.
“I was so fortunate to be able to listen to Ukrainian refugees tell stories of resistance and fighting for freedom,” she says. After finishing up an Intramural Research Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health, she’ll spend four months working at the World Health Organization on regional suicide prevention initiatives in Latin America before her Fulbright fellowship takes her back to the Max Planck Institute. “I am really hoping to learn more about intergenerational trauma,” she says.
Ultimately, Begum plans to enroll in medical school.
“Having access to education has made me a mentor and a fierce advocate for lifelong learning, and I am so thankful for the professors who mentored me in the German and biology departments,” she says.
Aditi Gupta ’23
English Teaching Assistantship, Czech Republic
For Gupta, a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar with a major in anthropology modified with history, living and working in the Czech Republic will tap varied interests and abilities. Her parents emigrated from India to attend graduate school in the U.S. Her mother has a degree in teaching English as a second language, which is also what Gupta will be doing next year.
“I’m hoping to combine my anthropology and premed interests and my greater interest in global health and health communications by teaching English at a nursing college,” she says.
A 2022 Newman Civic Fellow, Gupta has worked closely with the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact to make menstrual products available to women who can’t afford them. “I also do some global health research with CARE, the international nonprofit. Both experiences gave me a more grounded understanding of what it means to work with members of a community whose lived experience is different from mine,” says Gupta.
Maryam “Mia” Iqbal ’21
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
English Teaching Assistantship, Romania
Iqbal majored in neuroscience and intends to go to medical school. But first, she says, she wants to immerse herself in the culture and language of her mother, who is Romanian.
“My father is Pakistani, and growing up in south Florida, most of my relatives nearby were from my dad’s side,” says Iqbal, who is known as “Mia,” the nickname her Romanian aunt gave her. “My dad served the country in a war zone with the United States Department of Defense for over a decade. So while my dad was away, my maternal grandmother basically raised me while my mom went to school and worked. During this time, I always spoke Romanian in the house until I was about seven.”
But she’s lost some of that fluency, and hopes to regain it next year. “As a physician, I hope to specifically work with immigrants and refugees, so it’s important to understand what makes English difficult for non-native speakers and be mindful of where and how miscommunication can occur,” she says.
Iqbal also has plans to bridge both sides of her heritage outside of her obligations under the Fulbright program.
“I taught myself to do henna tattoos when I was about 13, and this is something I carry from my Pakistani side,” she says. “It’s my way of connecting with others and sharing a part of my culture at the same time. So that’s something I would definitely hope to be doing in Romania as well.”
Kaj Johnson ’22
Teaching Assistant, USTA Program, Fulbright Austria
Since graduating with a double major in cognitive science and music (singing bass with the Dartmouth Aires), Johnson has been working as a technology consultant in New York City.
“I’ve enjoyed my time in the workforce, but really miss the feeling of being immersed in German,” he says. “At Dartmouth, I felt such a rush from being enveloped in a new language for a few hours a week.”
Next year, he’ll teach English as part of the U.S. Teaching Assistantships at Austrian Secondary Schools fellowship program, a partnership between Fulbright Austria and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science, and Research.
At Dartmouth, Johnson volunteered with START, an arts education program run by the Hopkins Center for the Arts. “As someone interested in education as a career, I’ll be excited to continue this work across linguistic and cultural differences,” he says.
And he had a more personal reason to apply for this assistantship.
“My grandfather spoke German as a first language, and although he lost fluency before my mother was born, the German language was omnipresent in my childhood. We sang German Lutheran songs during every family reunion. He passed away this past May, and I can’t think of a better way to honor his life than learning the same High German dialect that he spoke in his Bavarian family.”
Brody Karton ’23
English Teaching Assistantship, Uruguay
When Karton and his older brother were just 11 and 13 years old, they launched a summer day camp for neighborhood kids. “Over the years, we’ve had more and more diverse groups of campers,” he says. “Our mission is to continue to provide opportunities for diverse peer groups to interact, and to combat socioeconomic inequality by providing scholarships to low-income families.”
Karton chose to spend his Fulbright year in Uruguay to improve his Spanish while continuing to sharpen his skills as an educator. “Uruguay has options to work in elementary schools and middle schools and high schools, as well as universities and teaching training centers. That really appealed to me,” he says.
With a major in economics, modified by environmental studies, and a minor in Spanish, Karton spent a term studying in Argentina and has been an undergraduate adviser and captain of the basketball club team.
Following his Latin American adventure, Karton and his brother plan to start a more comprehensive summer program for young people who need to keep mentally and physically active when school is out of session.
“To be able to better serve the communities around us—that’s how I see the Fulbright piece fitting into my future,” he says.
Betty Kim ’20
Diamond Bar, Calif.
Open Study/Research, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea
As a creative writing major with a minor in music, Kim wrote for The Dartmouth and for I2, an online magazine addressing issues common to students of color, and was also a member of the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra. After graduation, she became a Digital Library Fellow at the Dartmouth Library and later worked at the Dartmouth Library Book Arts Workshop, creating a book of her own—a graphic novel—in partial fulfillment of a master’s degree she’ll receive this month from the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction.
Born in South Korea and raised in Southern California, Kim says the novel tells a story based on her own hometown, where she grew up in an “enclave of Asian Americans. Only a few of the signs were in English, and it was a really unique experience, and I am really grateful for it,” she says.
Kim is also grateful that the Fulbright will take her to South Korea, where her parents were born and raised. “At Underwood College at Yonsei University in Seoul, I’ll write another graphic novel, about an ethnomusicologist who travels through Korea. The character is kind of like me but takes a different trajectory.”
Anders Knospe ’23
University of St. Andrews Study Award, Scotland
What is conceptual engineering? Hint: it’s not about designing or building things. It’s an intellectual pursuit that involves redesigning ways of thinking, and it’s what drew Knospe, a philosophy and computer science major, to the University of St. Andrews, which he says is a center of academic work in this field.
Historically, philosophy has asked what Knospe calls the big “is” questions, such as “What is justice?” or “What is beauty?”
Conceptual engineering shifts the focus to concepts, he says, translating “is” questions into “ought” questions. “So how ought we to think about beauty,” he asks. “How ought we to think about justice, gender, race?”
As he pursues a master’s degree in philosophy in Scotland, Knospe says practicing conceptual engineering may help him ask the right questions about his own future.
“There’s a chance I’ll come out of the experience wanting to do more graduate school in philosophy,” he says. “I’m also considering law school. Or perhaps I’ll choose journalism.”
From his sophomore summer through senior fall, Knospe was an editor for the Jack-O-Lantern, Dartmouth’s venerable satire magazine. “In terms of communication and working with others, I learned a lot from that,” he says.
Zachary Lang ’23
English Teaching Assistantship, Belgium
Lang, who majors in philosophy and history, chose to teach English in Belgium next year in part because he’s fluent in two of the nation’s three primary languages.
“My mom is French and my dad is German,” he says. “And since I will be affiliated with Hasselt University, which is in a Flemish province about an hour southeast of Brussels, I’m looking forward to learning some Dutch.”
Lang is also fascinated by Belgian history. Through a supplementary research project, he hopes to delve into the Belgian revolution of 1830, which led to the secession of southern provinces from the Netherlands and the establishment of the Kingdom of Belgium.
“Karl Marx lived there for a few years, publishing some of his best-known works while observing developments in England, France, and Germany,” says Lang. As a hub for both NATO and the European Union, Belgium interests him as a place where countries, languages, and cultures come together.
At Dartmouth, Lang has served on the Student and Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault, which plans and implements cross-campus initiatives to address sexual violence. He enjoys rock climbing, skiing, and soccer.
Maia Madison ’23
Open Study/Research, Eswatini
As a girl visiting the Boston Museum of Science, Madison saw a documentary called Dream Big: Engineering Our World. On the spot, she decided to become a civil and environmental engineer “to build bridges connecting people to opportunities.”
These days, the bridges she wants to build aren’t constructed from metal and concrete. “They’re more metaphorical,” she says. “I’m interested in connecting people through anthropology and access to health care, bridging different disciplines within the ecological and biomedical sciences.”
In Eswatini, the second smallest country on the African continent, Madison will work in a lab taking aim at multidrug resistant tuberculosis. “The project focuses on children and people with HIV, because one of the problems facing diagnostic tools for tuberculosis is that it’s really difficult for babies or people with HIV to produce sputum. I’m working on developing a diagnostic tool that uses stool samples instead of sputum samples. There is a vaccine and treatments for tuberculosis, but access to diagnostics and care is very unequal across the world.”
Madison, who has explored global health issues through the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, says she plans to become “a physician-scientist, and study host-pathogen interactions at the intersection of infectious disease and changing environments due to anthropogenic changes.”
Sarah Matsunaga, MED ’24
Open Study/Research, Fiji
Matsunaga was born in Honolulu and earned her bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University in 2018. She worked in San Francisco as a health care consultant before pursuing an MD at the Geisel School of Medicine, where she is in her third year.
“I’ve been fortunate to travel all over the country for my Geisel rotations, and I’m continuing in that spirit with the Fulbright,” she says.
Next year, she’ll be doing a qualitative study on youth attitudes toward depression.
“In Fiji, there are private health care options, but the system is primarily public, and psychiatric care and medications are free. It’s an interesting contrast to the U.S., where cost of care can be a big barrier, and I’m curious how the removal of that barrier might change perceptions towards depression and stigma,” she says. “Oceania and the Pacific, including Fiji, have pretty high rates of youth suicide.”
She’ll be working with a psychiatrist on the island who has been involved in community outreach programs aimed at destigmatizing depression. Following her graduation from Geisel, she’s leaning toward a career in either psychiatry or internal medicine.
Molly McQuoid ’23
English Teaching Assistantship, Estonia
“My mother is a teacher and both grandmothers were teachers, and I know I want to go into education,” says McQuoid. “In fact, it was in an education course at Dartmouth that I learned about Estonia’s exceptional education system. In addition to teaching English, I hope to learn a lot about what makes their schools tick, and bring my findings back to the U.S.”
McQuoid has a major in cognitive science and a double minor in education and social inequalities. A member of the Center for Social Impact’s outreach program, Strengthening Educational Access with Dartmouth, she helps high school students from under-resourced communities gain the skills they’ll need to thrive in college. She also teaches at a day care center in Norwich, Vt.
“I’ve been involved with a number of teacher-adjacent roles, and it will be cool to step into that more fully next year,” she says.
Another reason she’s drawn to this tiny nation on the Baltic Sea: its rich musical tradition. McQuoid is a member of the a cappella group, Dartmouth Sings. Her brother’s youth choir once visited Estonia while on tour, and she has always been curious about it.
“Meanwhile, I’m doing research. It’s going to be very exciting,” she says.
Leeza Petrov ’22
English Teaching Assistantship, Belgium
Petrov’s father emigrated to the U.S. in 1991 from what was then the Soviet Union, and her mother arrived in 1995, leaving what had by then become the Russian Federation.
“My parents are both scientists. My father was doing really high-level physics research before coming here and totally starting his life from scratch. I look up to both of them a lot,” she says. “Coming from a multilingual background, speaking Russian at home and then learning French at a fairly early age, I wanted to spend my Fulbright year in a place where different languages and cultures bump up against each other. I’m interested in how languages can get mapped onto the broader legacy of colonial relations.”
With a double major in biology and art history, Petrov will teach English at the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Antwerp. She discovered her love for teaching last spring at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vt., where she interacted with both children and adults, helping them to learn about science through hands-on activities.
“I think there’s something that’s really valuable that I can take from that experience and apply to my Fulbright assignment,” she says.
Timothy Poisson, Guarini ’22
Open Study/Research, Dublin, Ireland
Poisson, a manager in Dartmouth’s Advancement Division, writes and illustrates his own comics and graphic novels under the name of Tim Fish.
“I started drawing when I was four years old,” he says. “I’m a self-taught artist and have been trying to improve my craft, so I earned my Masters of Liberal Arts degree at Dartmouth, in creative writing. For my thesis, I wrote a screenplay called Tracy in the 16th Minute. It’s about existentialism and the ‘great resignation,’ when droves of people left their jobs during the pandemic.”
Poisson co-created and provided illustrations for Liebestrasse, a graphic novel written by Greg Lockard, about two men who fall in risky, forbidden love during the final years of the Weimar Republic. It landed on the 2022 Best Graphic Novels for Adults list by the American Library Association.
For the Fulbright, Poisson will be based at Trinity College in Dublin, researching diversity, equity, and inclusivity in Ireland versus the United States.
“That will lead me to create several projects, including another graphic novel and a radio play or series. I’ll also be co-teaching a graduate seminar with the faculty member who sponsored me, called Consuming History. I really feel that this fellowship came at an important turning point in the quality and seriousness of my creative writing and what I can accomplish through art,” he says.
Kathryn Putz ’22
English Teaching Assistantship, Taiwan
Serving others around the globe is a high priority for Putz, who is currently in Cambodia working for the Harpswell Foundation, a nongovernmental organization which is dedicated, according to its website, “to bringing about social change in Southeast Asia by fostering action and equal participation of women.” Based in Phnom Penh, the foundation provides housing, educational support, and leadership training to women from rural provinces who attend college in the city.
“I lead evening classes in debate, writing, and health,” Putz says. She looks forward to teaching English next year in Taiwan. That’s where she hopes to become fluent in Mandarin, which she began learning in first grade from her Taiwanese teacher.
“Also, as I work toward a career in international affairs and international security, I hope to gain a nuanced understanding of U.S.-China relations, including sensitive issues such as human rights in Taiwan, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong,” she says.
With a double major in government and Asian societies, cultures, and languages, Putz was active in the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, helping to advise other students interested in global internships. She also started the Women in Law and Politics club.
Shania Smith ’23
English Teaching Assistantship, Taiwan
With a major in politics, philosophy, and economics, and a double minor in music and Chinese, Smith’s interests are broad and deep, not only inside the classroom, but in her busy extracurricular life.
She plays percussion in Dartmouth’s jazz ensemble, The Coast, captains the running club team, is involved in several Christian organizations on campus, and mentors young people in the Dartmouth Alliance of Children of Color.
She is active in the First-Year Summer Enrichment Program, a Rockefeller Leadership Fellow at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy, and co-founder of Dartmouth’s newest language learning club, Chinese Roundtable.
Smith has chosen to teach English in Taiwan in part to improve her command of Mandarin, which she began studying in sixth grade. “As the first in my family to graduate from college, I am passionate about the impact of education on life trajectories,” she says. “Taiwan ranks among the top 10 countries in the world when it comes to education, and yet there is also, as in the U.S., a disparity issue. As someone interested in civil policy, I want to explore how to address these paradoxes and hopefully learn from Taiwan’s pitfalls, as well as what makes them relatively successful in education.”
Lidia Balanovich ’22
Balanovich, a cognitive science major at Dartmouth, was granted a Fulbright to attend Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, but has opted to decline the award and instead will move to New York City to work as a user experience researcher at Microsoft.
Garrick Allison ’22
Allison ’22, who was a history major at Dartmouth, learned in June that he had also been selected for a Fulbright. Allison, who served as chair of the Special Programs and Events Committee at Dartmouth, will go to Vietnam in August to teach at a high school for gifted students in Dien Bien Phu.
To learn more about how to apply for a Fulbright, or to explore other opportunities, visit Dartmouth’s Fellowship Advising Office.