Fulbright grants awarded to 21 from Johns Hopkins

Awards from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program support students as they study, conduct research, and teach in foreign countries

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Fulbright grants have been awarded to 21 students and alumni of Johns Hopkins University.

Named for U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright, who sponsored legislation creating the prestigious scholarship, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the country's largest educational exchange program, offering opportunities for students and young professionals to meet, work, live with, and learn from the people of the host country. The program awards approximately 2,000 grants annually and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.

More information about the Fulbright application process can be found on the website of the National Fellowships Program.

Fulbright Open Study/Research Award

Winners of the Fulbright Open Study/Research Award design their own research or academic course of study in a specific country. The program aims to facilitate cultural exchange and promote mutual understanding by supporting study or research abroad.

This year's winners from Johns Hopkins are:

Karissa Avignon, a 2019 graduate in public health. Avignon was awarded a grant to complete a master's degree in health policy and equity at York University in Toronto, Canada. She is especially interested in the potential of trauma-informed care to improve outcomes for immigrant women in Canada and the United States. She plans to devote her free time to assisting women in poverty with career preparation through Dress for Success; volunteering with the new Toronto chapter of her service sorority, Delta Sigma Theta; and volunteering at a local nursing home.

Kristin Brig. A PhD student in the history of medicine, Brig won a grant to travel to South Africa for her dissertation research. She plans to work in local archives in Durban and East London to investigate colonial infrastructure and policies for water management in the 19th century, when these two South African port cities were hubs for immigration. When not carrying out her dissertation research, she intends to start a medical humanities club at her host university, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and volunteer with Duzi-Umngeni, a conservation organization.

Kiana Boroumand. A December 2019 graduate in sociology and English with a minor in Latin American studies, Boroumand received a grant to earn a master's degree in socio-legal studies at the University of Bristol in England. She plans to focus on housing and gender. Outside her studies, she looks forward to volunteering with the campus chapter of Lawyers Without Borders, helping tenants at the Bristol Law Center, and engaging the local arts scene through the Trinity Arts Community.

Emily Friedman, a PhD student in art history. Friedman won a grant to travel to France to carry out dissertation research on how the interactions of artists with scientists in the French town Lyon during the Renaissance prompted those artists to develop a distinctive and pragmatic theory of art-making. Her plans for community engagement in Lyon include volunteering at a museum, taking cooking classes, and joining a running club.

Eillen Martinez, a 2020 graduate in medicine, science, and the humanities. Martinez was awarded an arts grant to produce short stories in Spanish and English about immigrants from Venezuela arriving in Pamplona, a Colombian border town, and the mostly welcoming responses they have received from Colombians. Beyond her writing project, her plans to build relationships in Pamplona include helping run a writing workshop at her host university, the University of Pamplona; volunteering with the local Red Cross; and teaching swimming.

Mackenzie Mills, a 2020 graduate in Earth and planetary sciences. Mills received a grant to study the surface regeneration of icy satellites in the outer solar system as an affiliate of the Institute of Planetary Research of the German Aerospace Center in Berlin. Her intentions for her free time include language study and geology coursework at Freie Universität Berlin and adding traditional German styles to her dance repertoire.

Kenneth Valles, an MPH candidate at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and an MD/PhD student at the Mayo Clinic. Valles won a grant to mine uniquely valuable health and migrant registry data in Sweden to explore the increased prevalence of viral hepatitis in Europe and the United States with changing immigration patterns. While living in Örebro, Sweden, he looks forward to teaching English to migrants, joining the Swedish Alpine Club, and taking classes in Swedish language and culture.

Ronald Wang, a 2020 graduate in neuroscience. Wang received a grant to work at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, on developing a cell model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, an inherited neuromuscular disorder. He is excited to participate in Fulbright-sponsored seminars and plans to devote his free time to volunteering at the Children Friend's Society and, at the university, joining the Slowianski Song and Dance Ensemble and participating in the neuroscience forum.

Anna Weerasinghe, a PhD candidate in the history of medicine. Weerasinghe won a grant to pursue research in diverse, underutilized archives in Goa, India on the healing labor of Indian and mestiça women in the early modern Portuguese colonial era, as part of her dissertation on how these women served as cultural intermediaries and medical knowledge-brokers. During her year in the Indian city of Panaji, she looks forward to participating in interdisciplinary seminars at the University of Goa, getting to know fellow distance runners in the Sossegado Runners club, and learning more Marathi and Konkani.

Courtney Whilden, a 2020 graduate in neuroscience. Whilden received a grant to study what genes individual neurons express in the development of the vestibulospinal system, which governs balance, at the University of Oslo in Norway. Her plans for making the most of her time in Oslo include joining the university's running club and "Coffeereads" book club, and learning more about the progressivism for which Norway is renowned by volunteering with Queer Youth Oslo.

Fulbright-Fogarty Award in Public Health

The Fulbright-Fogarty Awards in Public Health promote the expansion of public health and clinical research in resource-limited settings. Offered through a partnership between the Fulbright Program and the Fogarty International Center of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the award carries the same benefits as the traditional Fulbright Study/Research grants and is designed for candidates who are currently enrolled in medical school or in a graduate-level program and who are interested in global health.

The Fulbright-Fogarty Award winner from Johns Hopkins is Holly Nishimura, a PhD student at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Nishimura will carry out research in Rakai District, Uganda, examining men's roles in transactional sex partnerships and the association with higher rates of HIV transmission, thereby contributing to HIV prevention efforts. She will work in partnership with the Rakai Health Sciences Program, an affiliate of the Bloomberg School and the NIH. She looks forward to bonding with community members through attending church services in Kalisizo and organizing language exchanges to help those who wish to refine their English speaking skills.

English Teaching Assistantship Awards

The English Teaching Assistantship Awards program places Fulbright winners in classrooms around the world to provide assistance to the local English teachers and to serve as cultural ambassadors for the United States.

The winners of English Teaching Assistantship Awards from Johns Hopkins are:

Julia Dickson. After receiving her BA in international studies, Dickson will travel to Kyrgyzstan with the hopes of leading outreach through dance and outdoor activities alongside of teaching.

Jinzhao (Grace) Jiang. After completing her MEd in secondary education at the JHU School of Education, Georgetown alum Jiang will teach in the Netherlands, where she also hopes to share her passion for yoga and continue to pursue her love of the outdoors.

Emily Lee. A 2019 graduate with a BA in public health studies, Lee will bring her nursing love of healthcare and cooking with her to Malaysia, where she hopes to host potlucks and shadow the nurse at the school where she will be working as an English Teaching Assistant.

Emily Luo. After receiving her BA in cognitive science, Luo will travel to Taiwan, where, in addition to teaching, she hopes to engage with her community through calligraphy and music clubs.

Frances (Frannie) Rooney. A 2018 grad with a BA from the Writing Seminars, Rooney plans to share her love of film with her university students outside of the classroom in Spain, as well foster exchange between her communities in Spain and the United States.

Sumeet Sidhu. Upon completion of his MEd in educational studies and secondary education at the JHU School of Education, Sidhu will spend a year teaching and researching EMS systems in Poland, where he also hopes to connect with his host community through golf and cross country.

Shawn Singh. Upon certification from the JHU School of Education, Singh plans to create a musical exchange program with his students in Uzbekistan during his Fulbright year.

Julia Wargo. With both an MA and BA from Hopkins in hand, Wargo will teach secondary school in South Korea with the desire to connect with her host community through violin lessons and jewelry-making workshops.

Nathan Wertheimer. After receiving his BA in philosophy and earth and planetary sciences, Wertheimer will bring his outdoor teaching experience to Malaysia, where he hopes to lead educational hikes and coach sports teams outside of the classroom.

Bethany York, a 2019 alum with a BA in neuroscience. York will travel to Lithuania with the hopes of participating in a book club alongside of teaching, as well as shadowing physicians as part of a research project on Lithuanian health care.

Five additional students from Johns Hopkins were named alternates for Fulbright grants this year: senior Cole Cooper, a public health studies major; Sarah Jaklitsch, a 2019 MA graduate of the School of Education; Jacob Jameson, who is completing his teaching certification from the School of Education; Sonal Sharda, who possesses both an MA from the School of Public Health from 2019 and a BA in neuroscience from 2017 from Hopkins; and senior Katherine Wick, an international studies and history major.