Not all Clark students are taking a break from academics before the new year begins in August. This year, nine Clark students received prestigious awards to study abroad and pursue advanced education over the summer.
“I am thrilled to see more students visiting the Fellowships and Scholarships office in its third year, and to see a greater number of students applying for more and various awards,” says Jessica Bane-Robert, director of the Office of Prestigious Fellowships and Scholarships. “It is always an honor and privilege to support students as they complete applications.”
Students receiving awards include:
Hana Green, working toward her doctorate in Holocaust history at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, earned a one-year grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to carry out critical research at the Center for Holocaust Studies at the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History in Munich, Germany.
Green, whose work centers on the resistance of Jewish women in Nazi-occupied Europe, applied for the grant with the support of her Strassler Center professors. “I do not believe I would have been successful without the support from my primary adviser — Dr. Thomas Kühne — and the department as a whole, including Executive Director Mary Jane Rein and Professor Frances Tanzer; Robert Tobin and Ben Korstvedt of the Clark DAAD Committee; and Jessica Bane Robert. Their generosity of time, feedback, and kindness is, quite frankly, astounding.”
Inonge Kaloustian ’21, a double-major in biology and psychology, was awarded the Princeton in Africa fellowship award — but ultimately declined the fellowship, instead accepting graduate school scholarships from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Originally from Maryland, Kaloustian is a first-generation student whose mother is from Zambia. She explains that this connection spurred her to apply for the award. “The chance to spend time anywhere on the continent would be a dream come true.”
Emily Patterson, M.S. ’22, will study Modern Standard Arabic at the Jordan Language Academy this summer with an award from the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program. The program, which funds cultural immersion experiences for American college students living and studying critical languages abroad, bolsters America’s national security and economic prosperity by producing world leaders who can communicate globally.
Patterson, who is currently pursuing a master’s in geographic information science at Clark, is excited to continue her Arabic learning this summer, and hopes she can use this opportunity in tandem with her budding GIS career. While she currently speaks an Arabic dialect, the Pennsylvania native believes studying a more standardized form will allow her to communicate more seamlessly throughout different regions and countries in the Middle East. While the program is being held virtually this year, she will have the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of activities, from cultural opportunities to regular meetings with a language partner for conversational practice.
Alexandre Nazaire ’22 received a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State. He had planned to travel to Tamkang University in Taipei, Taiwan, to study intensive Mandarin, but the program ultimately shifted to an all-virtual format due to the ongoing pandemic. Nazaire, who describes the award as “the ideal opportunity for full language and cultural immersion,” says that after being unable to study abroad in his junior year, he was determined to find a way to fine-tune his Mandarin.
The Tamkang program comprises rigorous language and cultural instruction, career skills training, and the chance to be a citizen ambassador. A combined languages major, Nazaire plans to pursue diplomacy, interpretation, and international relations.
Nazaire says his success has been spurred by key support from a number of his Clark mentors, including Bane Robert, Professor Alice Valentine, and Alissa Briggs, director of study abroad. “They did everything they could to help me every step of the way,” he explains, also giving a shout-out to his friend Heran Abiy ’21, who first recommended the program to him.
Katie Gross ’22 was named a Goldwater Scholar in Mathematics, Science and Engineering by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. A biochemistry and molecular biology and history double-major, Gross plans to put the award toward medical school tuition.
Gross has dedicated much of her undergraduate career to science, working up to 40 hours a week in 2006 Nobel Laureate Dr. Craig Mello’s genetics lab at the UMass Medical School while also immersing herself within academics. She was initially denied the scholarship as an underclassman, but Bane-Robert’s encouragement helped her secure the award as a rising senior. “The saying ‘it takes a village’ is very applicable here, as I could not have achieved any of my goals as an undergraduate, much less this award, without the help and support of my mentors at both UMass and Clark University,” Gross said. In addition to Bane Robert, Gross is grateful for the support of Clark professors Noel Lazo and Donald Spratt, Mello at UMass Medical School, and Dr. Eric Verdin from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, California.
Also receiving prestigious awards this summer are:
“There is value in the process itself — win or lose,” Bane Robert says of applying for awards. “Students inhabit valuable space in their educational journey for self-reflection, and they gain self-awareness through articulating their stories, skills, and aspirations. This emerges as an affirming and uplifting experience for them.”