Five Trinity Students, Alumni Win Fulbrights for Research or Teaching

Destinations include Three Countries in Europe and Two in Asia

HARTFORD, CT, May 17, 2013 – Trinity reaped a bounty of Fulbright awards for the 2013-14 academic year, with two graduating seniors and three alumni being awarded fellowships to conduct research or teach. In addition, three others -- two members of the Class of 2013 and an alumna -- were chosen as alternates and could still receive the prestigious grant, and one graduating senior was a finalist. The Fulbright Student Program is the flagship international education program sponsored by the U.S. government.

The five recipients include Elizabeth DeWolf ’10, who will be conducting research in the United Kingdom; Lisa Esposito ’09, who will be teaching in Italy; Caitlin Gura ’13, who will be doing research and teaching in Austria; Jahn Jaramillo ’12, who will be teaching in Thailand; and Peter Van Oot, Jr. ’13, who will be teaching in Indonesia.

Among the alternates are Jaclyn Arencibia ’13, a Questbridge Scholar who is seeking to conduct research in Spain; Griha Singla ’09, who wants to do research for the European Union; and Allison Windham ’13, who applied to teach in Turkey. Gabrielle LaFavre ’13, was a finalist for a teaching assistantship in South Africa. LaFavre, a George M. Ferris Scholar, will have an opportunity to reapply.

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

DeWolf, who was living and teaching English in Istanbul, Turkey, until December, is bound for the London School of Economics, where she will partner with the Fulbright program and enroll in a one-year master’s degree program in City Design and Social Science.

“I went to Istanbul because I studied sociology [at Trinity] with a focus on urban sociology,” said DeWolf. “Istanbul came up a lot during my coursework. So I got a teaching certificate and went there on my own. While I was there, I realized how interested I was in urban development.”

So why the United Kingdom? “It has a really progressive urban policy and London is one of the most dynamic environments in the world,” said DeWolf, who is originally from the Boston area. “It’s an ideal place for me to study.” She also expects that it will allow her to blend the theoretical concepts that she learned as an undergraduate with the practical skills that she will learn in graduate school, both of which will help her in her quest to be an urban planner.

DeWolf’s program begins in October, although she will be heading for London a month earlier. She has also studied in Paris, spending the fall 2008 semester in the City of Lights. She credits Trinity’s sociology department for encouraging her, and singled out Xiangming Chen, dean of the Center for Urban and Global Studies; Johnny Williams, associate professor of sociology; and Stephen Valocchi, professor of sociology, for their assistance with the Fulbright application.

Caitlin Gura ’13
 A resident of Plantsville, CT, Gura is a French major with a double minor in German studies and studio art. During her time at Trinity, she has been an R.C. Knox Scholar and a Connecticut Scholar. She’s leaving in September for Vienna, Austria, where she will conduct research and teach English at a Viennese high school.

Gura studied in Vienna in the spring of 2012, adding that she “fell in love with the city. I loved the Austrian culture and the way of life. I knew that I wanted to live and work there and continue to develop the research skills that I built here at Trinity and apply them in an academic and working environment.”

Gura’s research will focus on the Austrian National Museum in the post-World War II era. “Basically, I want to see how Austria used the museum to reconfigure its national identity [and] how it redefined itself and separated itself completely from Germany.”

Noting that it was “really cool” to land a position in a museum, Gura said that her Fulbright is unusual in that it combines both research and teaching.

“I’m just super excited and so grateful,” she said. Gura noted that Sara Kippur, assistant professor of language and culture studies; Julia Goesser Assaiante, visiting lecturer in language and culture studies; and Erik Vogt, Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor of Philosophy, were especially helpful in getting her to believe in herself.

​Jahn Jaramillo '12
A Posse Scholar and Tortora Sillcox Family Scholar who grew up in New York City, Jahn Jaramillo was born in Colombia and is well traveled. He spent the fall semester of his junior year in Cape Town, South Africa, and the spring semester in Buenos Aries, Argentina. He returned to Cape Town for the first semester of his senior year before finishing at Trinity, where he majored in human rights and minored in Hispanic studies.

“I saw that I really enjoyed my time abroad and I loved working with children,” said Jaramillo. “I’ve had a lot of experience tutoring children and working with underprivileged children.”

For the past year, Jaramillo has been living in New York City working as a case manager for an organization that assists patients with HIV/AIDS.

Jaramillo applied for a Fulbright to teach in Venezuela and lost out. Undaunted, he reapplied in October and set his sights on Thailand. “I really wanted to have the opportunity to go abroad and become a cultural ambassador while doing something that I enjoy, which is teaching,” he said.

Emphasizing his passion for human rights, Jaramillo said he’s intentionally chosen to study in countries “with histories of a lot of conflict but are now developing human rights standards. Thailand was the next step in my journey in learning more about human rights.” He’ll be leaving in September and teaching in a middle or high school for one year.

Jaramillo said Sonia Cardenas, Charles A. Dana Research Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Human Rights Program; Anne Lambright, associate professor of language and culture studies; and Donna-Dale Marcano, associate professor of philosophy, in particular inspired and encouraged him.

​Peter Van Oot, Jr. '13
 A resident of Brattleboro, VT, Van Oot has long been interested in teaching, having helped start the Trinity Episcopal Day School, a middle school in Hartford, and taught in a first-year writing studio. Two of the students were from Vietnam and North Korea, which helped pique his interest in teaching abroad.

Van Oot, who majored in economics, spent spring 2012 at the University of Cambridge in England, describing it “as a wonderful experience.”

But he said he was interested in applying for a Fulbright to teach in Southeast Asia because it’s “culturally and ethnically different from what I’ve experienced at Trinity and in England.” Indonesia, in particular, intrigued Van Oot because of its biodiversity.

Shortly after his August departure, he will attend a two-week orientation in Jakarta before heading to Kendari, a city of approximately 300,000 residents in the province of South East Sulawesi, where he will teach high school students. Although Van Oot described the location as “fairly remote,” he noted that the region is known for its “world-class beaches and scuba diving.”

Van Oot said Trinity President James F. Jones, Jr., and Cynthia Butos, principal lecturer in the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric, were instrumental in his decision to apply for a Fulbright.

The Fulbright Program 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.” The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education.

The Fulbright Program receives its primary source of funding through an annual appropriation from Congress to the Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions in foreign countries, and in the United States, also contribute financially through cost-sharing and indirect support, e.g., through salary supplements, tuition waivers, and university housing.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. 

More details about the Fulbright Program can be obtained by visiting the Web site:​​