Three members of the Class of 2011 – Chris Jarrett, Gabrielle Dean and Brittany Carroll – have each received Fulbright Awards that will allow them to teach and continue their research overseas.
Dean and Carroll received 2011 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships to spend a year in Taiwan teaching English and sharpening their own skills in Mandarin Chinese. Jarrett has been honored with a Fulbright U.S. Student Grant for research in Ecuador.
For his project, Jarrett will live and work among the Amazonian Kichwa people of the Napo province, interviewing community elders and documenting cultural narratives (stories, songs, dream interpretations and life lessons) associated with their guayusa tea ritual. These narratives will be written in Kichwa, translated to Spanish and English, and made into two small books with the goal of preserving cultural knowledge associated with the guayusa ritual. An extension of his research with the Lumen Prize, Elon’s premier award honoring academic and creative achievement, Jarrett’s Fulbright work will blend his research interests in the relationship between culture and politics, with Amazonia, indigenous identity and alternative development strategies.
“This Fulbright Award is an incredible opportunity to gain practical experience conducting anthropological field work in Amazonian Ecuador,” said Jarrett, who has deferred his admission to the graduate program in anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, until he completes the Fulbright. “It will greatly contribute to my linguistic skills in Spanish and Amazonian Kichwa and prepare me well for a career as an anthropologist.”
For Dean, a media arts & entertainment and international studies double major, teaching in Taiwan would help her achieve a career goal to become an international news correspondent. Her research interests are in Asian studies, women’s and gender studies, documentary filmmaking, religion, the effects of globalization and immigration.
“I want to help educate people about the human side of internationalism by promoting greater awareness of foreign culture, human rights issues and the needs of the international community,” she said. “Receiving a Fulbright Award is a huge honor and I’m incredibly excited about it. Living and working in Taiwan for a year will be a fantastic opportunity for me to explore Taiwanese culture in greater depth, make new friends and brush up on my somewhat rusty Mandarin Chinese.”
Carroll, who studied international studies and political science at Elon, plans to pursue a career in international affairs. Her research interests have focused on oil relations between Asian and African nations and on international education for special needs children in Asia and Africa.
“The Fulbright Teaching Assistantship for Taiwan not only will afford me the opportunity to represent my country, but also fulfill my passion for intercultural exchange by improving my foreign language proficiency and really understanding the heart of Taiwanese culture,” Carroll said. “It would be an absolute honor to devote my time and energy in embracing another culture, while shedding a light to others on the rich diversity within America.”
Since 2007, six Elon students, including the university’s most recent recipients, have been awarded Fulbright Awards. The latest selections represent the largest number of students in university history to receive the honor in the same academic year. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered through the Institute of International Education, the Fulbright Award was established in 1946 by Congress to “enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”