Fairfield kept its Fulbright tradition alive with three new scholarships for the 2012-13 academic year. Erin Eife (Ireland), Julianne Whittaker (Jordan), and Kathryn Bimson (Thailand) survived a fierce competition among six outstanding applications from Fairfield, and a larger pool of highly competitive applications at the national screening level to be selected as Fulbright representatives for the coming year. On Thursday, May 2, the University will hold a reception in the Oak Room to honor their achievement and to allow each new “Fairfield Fulbrighter” an opportunity to give a presentation of their winning proposal.
Below is a short bio of each Fulbright scholarship recipient prepared by Dr. Janie Leatherman, director of International Studies, professor of Politics, and director of the Fulbright program at Fairfield.
Erin Eife of West Chester, Pennsylvania, is a recipient of a Fulbright award to Ireland. A presidential scholar and honor’s student, Erin has doubled majored at Fairfield University in Politics and Sociology, with minors in both Irish Studies and Peace and Justice. She designed her plan of studies to lay the foundation for a career in criminal justice and a deep commitment to humanize it. Her Fulbright to Ireland will afford a year-long study of the effectiveness of the country’s proactive programs of re-integration of women prisoners into Irish society. Building on her study abroad experience in spring 2011, Erin will return to the National University of Ireland, Galway, to work with Professor Niamh Reilly, Co-Director of the Global Women’s Studies Program, who will serve as her Fulbright sponsor. Erin also plans to draw from her experiences on the Fairfield University Women’s Rugby team to participate in the Gaelic Athletic Association, which counts rugby among one of the country’s three native sports. On return from Ireland, she intends to pursue graduate studies in criminal justice.
Julianne Whittaker of Acton, Massachusetts, is an International Studies and Economics double major, and a recipient of a Fulbright Award to Jordan. She spent fall 2010 studying at the University of Jordan, where she also interned with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) for Palestinian Refugees. When she returned to the United States after study abroad, she continued her engagement on UNWRA and assisting vulnerable populations in the Middle East through a summer internship with the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, as well as a fall internship with the International Institute of Connecticut. A common thread running through her experiences is a passion for working with youth, which she has also sustained during her senior year via an innovative State Department E-Diplomacy project with Mexican youth. Julie’s Fulbright to Jordan is an English Teaching Assistantship, to which she will bring her E-Diplomacy and social media savvy, along with her deep compassion, good humor, and deftness at building bridges, all infused with proficiency in Arabic and her abiding commitment to connect Arab and Americans. She plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Middle East Studies or Migration and Refugee Studies, and then begin her career in foreign service with the U.S. government. Julie has also been selected for Fairfield University’s William J. Kramer ’60 Humanitarian Award.
Kathryn Bimson of Montauk, New York, is a Presidential Scholar and Honor’s student, as well as a Biology major and Peace and Justice Studies minor at Fairfield University. She has a wonderful set of skills, teaching experiences, and engaging ways of relating to people, peers and kids through science, which she bolsters with her contagious smile, energy and enthusiasm. While on study abroad during her junior year in Cape Town, South Africa, she was readily accepted into the community of the students she taught in the Langa Township as part of her service-learning commitment. She will also bring to her Fulbright award in Thailand experiences instructing marine biology to students from 3 to 75 years of age–work she has carried out with Cornell University’s Marine Environment Summer Camp, and her responsibilities as a Biology teaching assistant at Fairfield University. She plans to integrate her interests in biodiversity into teaching English to students in Thailand. After her Fulbright year, she plans to pursue graduate studies in marine biology.