National Scholarship Award Recipients, 2019–20
We are delighted to announce this year’s national scholarship awards recipients as they come in. University of Massachusetts Amherst’s undergraduates, graduates, and post-graduate students share how they plan to utilize their awards to fulfill their research, studies, and teaching goals. Congratulations to all recipients!
I will earn an MPhil degree in genetics while working in the lab of Dr. Steve Russell. Dr. Russell’s group studies the developmental genomics of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, and I want to learn how to integrate traditional wet lab techniques with next-generation sequencing technology in order gain a more complete picture of the fly genome. My proposed project will involve studying the effects of the genes SoxN and Diachete — two genes that regulate the development of the central nervous system. I hope that this opportunity can give me a broader perspective on how to conduct scientific research while allowing me to explore more of my research interests.
My dissertation research, centered in Reykjavík, Iceland, investigates the process of cadaver acquisition for anatomical and medical training in the early years of modern medical practice. This project is squarely situated between biological and cultural anthropology, combining both to gain a picture of who were used for dissections and medical research, ask why they were chosen, and ascertain what social and political policies promoted the targeting of members of certain social classes over others. I am then comparing this to contemporaneous data from the same time period in the United States.
I will be teaching English at a secondary school in Galicia, Spain, and engaging with the community by developing a running program for girls. The program will focus on self-confidence, leadership skills, and cross-cultural team building.
The Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship provides me the opportunity to spend a year in Germany working in a school as an English language teacher and American culture ambassador, while also pursuing a volunteer project in my spare time. The award offers me a chance to experience German culture in Germany for the first time, while the teaching experience prepares me for a future career in academia or in museum education and curation. I plan to volunteer with a community arts organization that makes the arts accessible and engaging to a wide audience.
Nepal’s Ministry of Education has made improving early-grade elementary school reading instruction and outcomes a priority, and multiple non-governmental organizations are implementing early grade reading programs to contribute to these efforts. Using a case study approach, my research project will investigate in-service teacher training and support models being utilized by non-governmental organizations implementing early-grade reading programs in Nepal and their perceived effectiveness by stakeholders. I intend to identify common themes and practices that emerge across programs that show promise of teacher adoption in classrooms. In addition to using this research for my dissertation, it is my hope that my findings will have practical significance to help inform future programmatic and policy considerations.
What are common practices utilized by NGOs in successfully implementing direct intervention in Mumbai [India] slum communities, and how can these commonalities be used to aid the further expansion of programming into other states and communities? I seek to understand the methodologies taught to nonprofit practitioners when examining their work. This will be through an analysis of general ideology, syllabi, and classroom instruction, as well as through most recent literature published at the institution. I will then meet with a number of local NGOs to see how this actualized in their work through their strategic planning and direct intervention procedures. I will devise a general assessment tool to measure discrepancy levels between methodology and actual fieldwork, and conduct interviews with professors and practitioners. I will then create a mapping from theoretical practices to real-life implementation to identify common points of success.
I will be doing research for Preciosa, my third book of nonfiction. The book begins with the history and evolution of the term “self-care” and contrasts this term with my family’s care for disabled and addicted family members, and integrates personal essay and research to examine what the history of Mexico City’s tightly-knit Jewish community can teach us about the evolution of family and caretaking, and the ways in which disability and oppression fundamentally shift one’s ethics. I will research how Jewish families have described and recorded their networks of allegiance in Mexico, focusing on Mexico City from the mid-20th century to the present day, in partnership with the Jewish Center for Documentation and Research Mexico. The Fulbright will allow me to bring a unique combination of academic integrity, creative thinking, and interpersonal connection toward much needed opportunities for mutual understanding across the US-Mexico border.
Career goals: Ph.D. in Computational Biology.
Career goals: Ph.D. in Physics.
Career goals: Ph.D. in Molecular Biology.
Career goals: Ph.D. in Astrophysics.
Thanks to the ThinkSwiss Scholarship, this summer  I will be conducting immunology research at the University of Zurich (UZH). This will be my second time doing research in Switzerland; in the summer of 2018, I completed the Biology Undergraduate Summer School (BUSS) program at UZH. My experience from the BUSS program encouraged me to pursue further research opportunities in Switzerland as I had an incredible experience with that program. With the ThinkSwiss scholarship, I will be funded for a three-month stay in Dr. Wendy Wei-Lynn Wong’s lab, where I will attempt to identify novel mechanisms in necroptosis. During my stay, I hope to further my biology skillset, explore Swiss academics, culture, and nature. In addition, I see this as a valuable opportunity to study internationally, something I believe will benefit me as I seek to pursue a career in global health. As part of the scholarship, I will be blogging about my experiences.