Natalie Triche ’23 selected for the James C. Gaither Junior Fellows Program

Triche is the first scholar from Elon to be selected for the Gaither Junior Fellows Program and will join the nationally selective cohort of just 16 fellows.

Elon alumna Natalie Triche ’23 has been selected for the James C. Gaither Junior Fellows Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She is the first from Elon selected for this prestigious fellowship, which received 259 applications this year for only 16 spots.

The James C. Gaither Junior Fellows Program, offered through the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, selects exceptional graduating seniors and individuals who have graduated within the past academic year as Junior Fellows to spend one year working as a research assistant to Carnegie’s senior scholars. Fellows are assigned to specific programs and projects, ranging from Technology and International Affairs to Nuclear Policy. Triche was selected for the Middle East program — a natural extension of the work she began at Elon.

Triche majored in religious studies and international & global studies as an undergraduate. A Lumen Scholar, she conducted research that examined secularism in Egypt through an ethnographic lens under the mentorship of Brian Pennington, professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society. Her work with Pennington deepened her interest in and talent for research, and ultimately empowered her to seek out international opportunities like the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Triche was ultimately selected for a competitive Fulbright Research Grant in her senior year, which has supported her independent research in Morocco over the past nine months. “I am conducting research on Morocco’s 2011 Constitution, specifically looking at Article 19’s (which legislates gender equality) role in the women’s empowerment efforts in Morocco,” she says. “I am primarily drawing on ethnographic research methods but am also using survey research to better understand how women in Rabat specifically think about gender equality today.”

In addition to the main Fulbright grant itself, she was awarded a Fulbright Critical Language Enhancement Award, which funded her to arrive in Morocco early to complete intensive Arabic language study, elevating the skills she learned at Elon under the mentorship of Elon Lecturer Shereen Elgamal. Elgamal played a pivotal role in the development of Triche’s interests. “Dr. Elgamal’s Arabic class at Elon is one of the main reasons I am studying the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. She came to Morocco to visit me this year and the immense generosity embodied by her act of visitation energized my research efforts. Getting to share Morocco and my advancements in Arabic with her in a very authentic setting has reminded me of my love of the Arabic language.”

Although her Fulbright year has been transformative, Triche is eager to return to the U.S. as a Gaither Junior Fellow in Washington, D.C. Fulbright and Gaither, though, are only the beginning for her. After her year with Carnegie, Triche plans to attend graduate school to study the intersection of politics and society in North Africa. She encourages all students who are interested in research to pursue opportunities like these.

“I advise anyone who is passionate about learning to seek out opportunities to conduct research post-grad such as Fulbright or Gaither because the time to continue learning after graduation is an incredible gift that can yield clarity of passion. Moreover, my advice to anyone interested is to go for it! I have applied for many opportunities, and while I have been denied many and accepted to some, every time I apply for something I am forced to consider where I am with my thinking about my present and future, and to reflect on my experiences, which is valuable as it re-focuses daily objectives,” she says.

To learn more about the James C. Gaither Junior Fellows Program, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, and other nationally competitive awards, visit the National and International Fellowships Office’s website.