Students and alumni awarded five Fulbright grants, two Barry scholarships

Melia Wong ’19 and Romi Ferder ’20
Melia Wong '19 (left) and Romi Ferder '20 are the first CMCers to receive the new Barry Scholarship for study at the University of Oxford.
May 28, 2020

Like everyone in higher education this spring, Brian Davidson ’08 has been doing his share of adjusting and re-adjusting with advisees. The good news: CMC has, once again, produced an impressive roll call of selective domestic and overseas fellowship and scholarship winners, including five Fulbrights. The challenges: Some programs have gone virtual, postponed travel, or been cancelled completely given ongoing restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year’s group of fellowship recipients has had to deal with much more than the typical stresses of the spring semester. Through it all though, I’ve been impressed by their confidence, resilience, and adaptability,” said Davidson, director of fellowships advising. “The group is prepared for opportunities as far apart as teaching English and conducting educational outreach in German Gymasien and among refugee populations, studying political and ethnocultural tensions in Kosovo, and conducting cutting-edge research on medical diagnostic devices.”

Four of the five Fulbright winners—Andrew Ciacci ’20 (Kosovo), Gabrielle Clouse ’20 (Finland), Emma Henson ’19 (Germany), and Lucas Radice ’19 (Germany)—will begin their programs no earlier than January 1, 2021. Amanda Kandasamy ’20 was awarded a grant to Indonesia, but due to the program’s cancellation, is now under consideration for placement as an alternate elsewhere in the world.

Three additional CMC students are alternates, all of whom may be awarded grants, Davidson said. The College has been named a Top Producing Institution of Fulbright U.S. Students for nine of the past 11 years.

In a significant first for CMC, Romi Ferder ’20 and Melia Wong ’19 are winners of the new, nomination-based John and Daria Barry Scholarship. The Barry Scholarship is currently the most generous scholarship available for study at the University of Oxford in England, Davidson said, with only 10 students chosen for the inaugural cohort. Both will pursue two-year master’s degrees—Ferder in political theory and Wong in musicology.

Ferder, a dual major in PPE and psychology, plans to examine philosophical approaches to free speech and government intervention at Oxford. It will be a continuation of her senior thesis, which argued that the U.S. Supreme Court has purported to extend speech rights by expanding protections for commercial entities while undermining the rights of citizens.

Wong, who last year was the first CMC senior (and seventh CMCer overall) to earn a Luce Scholarship, has been in Hong Kong working with the West Kowloon Cultural District, the largest in-development arts district in the world. She was a government and music dual major who wrote her thesis on Civil War songs.

Will Cullen ’19, who received both the Elbaz Post-Graduate Fellowship and Critical Language Scholarship last year, was also announced in December as the first CMC graduate to win a Schwarzman Scholarship.

“All of these fellowship recipients have gone through countless drafts and challenging interviews to receive some of the most selective national and international awards. While operational details are still being worked out, I am confident that our students will derive great value from the experiences and the networks that these opportunities open up—even if they are a bit constrained. As soon as the world is ready for them, these CMCers will be more than ready to meet the world,” Davidson said.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.

Fulbright grants

  • Andrew Ciacci ’20, political science research, Kosovo           
  • Gabrielle Clouse ’20, master’s degree in molecular biotechnology and diagnostics, Finland
  • Emma Henson ’19, English teaching assistant, Germany
  • Amanda Kandasamy ’20, English teaching assistant, Indonesia (cancelled)
  • Lucas Radice ’19, English teaching assistant, Germany

John and Daria Barry Scholarship (funded degree at Oxford University in Oxford, England)

  • Romi Ferder ’20, political theory
  • Melia Wong ’19, musicology

Schwarzman Scholarship (funded degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China)

  • William Cullen ’19

Boren Scholarship (undergraduate study abroad with a language focus in national security relevant areas)

  • Andrew Ciacci ’20, Serbia (Serbo-Croatian study)

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Gaither Junior Fellowship (advanced research assistance at the Carnegie Endowment)

  • Tobin Hansen ’20, Geoeconomics and Strategy Program

Critical Language Scholarship (7-10 weeks of intensive language study abroad; cancelled)

  • JaDa Johnson ’21, Arabic
  • Samrath Machra ’22, Punjabi

Davis Projects for Peace ($10,000 grant for a significant community development project; cancelled)

  • Toluwani Roberts ’22, New York

Elbaz Family Post-Graduate Fellowship in Human Rights (human rights opportunities, sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights)

  • Laleh Ahmad ’20, The Enough Project, Washington, D.C.
  • Jennifer Gurev ’20, Alliance for Securing Democracy, Washington, D.C.

JET Program (teaching English in Japan)

  • Jessica Kim ’20
  • Lucas Radice ’19

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (5C fellowship to guide students from diverse backgrounds to research and academic careers)

  • Toluwani Roberts ’22
  • Maria Gutierrez-Vera ’22

Public Policy and International Affairs Program (summer program for rising seniors; virtualized)

  • Elena Castellanos ’21, Carnegie Mellon
  • JaDa Johnson ’21, Princeton University
  • Mohamad Moslimani ’21, Princeton University

Udall Scholarship (funding and networking for sophomores/juniors dedicated to the environment)

  • Harrison Schreiber ’22 (honorable mention)

USTA Austria (teaching English in Austria)

  • Emma Henson ’19

—Thomas Rozwadowski


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