Two Gallatin seniors and one recent alumna have been recognized by the Fulbright US Student Program for research, study, and teaching opportunities in countries outside of the US: Lauren Stockmon Brown (BA ’20) is a Senegal ETA Recipient, Melody Xu (BA ’18) will travel to Beijing as a China Research Recipient, and Jakiyah Bradley (BA ’20) is a Namibia Research Alternate. A fourth recent graduate, Rebecca Karpen (BA ’20), will travel to Austria as a US Teaching Assistant in the Teaching Assistantship Program of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF), which is administered by Fulbright Austria.
“In Senegal,” says Lauren Stockmon Brown (BA ’20), Senegal ETA Recipient, “I will explore, deepen, and build upon my existing research interests in the Black diaspora and language studies.”
An aspiring PhD student in history, Stockmon Brown is interested in how selfhood is performed and embodied. While teaching in Senegal, Stockmon Brown will continue work on her project, My Colorful Nana, a podcast series and organization that encourages listeners to celebrate a more complete understanding of beauty, femininity, and cultural identity. “I hope to learn from my Senegalese students and Senegalese culture while engaging in a true community exchange that will challenge and expand upon my current thoughts, ideas, and beliefs in relation to social advocacy and education.”
Melody Xu (BA ’18) is heading to Beijing, China, to work on a project on the history of artificial intelligence, a joint effort between US and Chinese scholars to try to understand human development and to create machines that are capable of modeling it.
“The inspiration behind this is actually my senior project,” says Xu. “My project was about American researcher named Herbert Simon, one of the first people to design a working AI program in the 1950s. He traveled to Beijing and gave a series of lectures to a number of Chinese universities. Since I know so much about this person from the US perspective, I figured why not go to China and collaborate with scholars there to understand more about AI? AI is that: collaboration--not an arms race as it’s sometimes understood.” For her Fulbright, Xu will conduct research with both the Institute for the History of the Natural Sciences, which is part of the Chinese Academy of Science, and the Communication University of China with a planned start date of March 2021.
Jakiyah Bradley (BA ’20) has been named a Namibia Research Alternate. While at Gallatin, Bradley was NYU Student Government Chairperson and developed the concentration Urban Policy and Social Change, with a minor in Social and Public Policy. Due to concerns about COVID-19, several Fulbright programs are monitoring their offerings and considering longer delays for program start times, encouraging graduates like Bradley who have been named as alternates to apply again.
Austria Fulbright USTA Recipient Rebecca Karpen (BA ’20), a program administered by Fulbright Austria, will travel to teach high school students there. Karpen graduated from Gallatin with the concentration Populist Rhetoric and the Crisis of Narrative, with a minor in German.
“The goal of my concentration was to analyze communities in the aftermath of disaster,” says Karpen. “Ever since I first heard it in 4th grade, I’ve been thinking of Martin Niemöller’s poem that opens, ‘First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.’” The Fulbright will give her the opportunity to teach students and to learn more about how Austria has come to understand and reconcile with its past. “My desire is to go into politics and create educational reforms regarding language classes. By getting a better grasp on what it is to be an educator, I can craft better policy for educators.”
Congratulations to all!