By Joanna Klimaski
Top left: Leah Jerome, winner of a James Madison Memorial Fellowship.
Top right: Stephen Erdman, winner of an NYC Urban Fellowship.
Bottom left: Nicholas Espinoza, winner of a Critical Language Scholarship to India.
Bottom right: Anjanae Wilson, winner of a Fulbright Fellowship to Brazil.
Fordham students as of May 13 have earned 136 national and international academic, cultural, and service-oriented awards this scholarship season that include eight Fulbright awards and an NSF Fellowship. According to the Office of Prestigious Fellowships, more awards are likely to come.
Leah Jerome, FCRH ’07, GSE ’09, is the recipient of a James Madison Memorial Fellowship. The fellowship allows current teachers to obtain graduate degrees geared toward teaching American history, American government, the U.S. Constitution, and/or social studies on the secondary education level.
The first Fordham student to win the fellowship in more than a decade, Jerome plans to attend Drew University to study early American history and the constitution.
“As a teacher, I feel I’m always learning through teaching, and teaching through learning,” said Jerome, who teaches social studies at Pascack Valley High School in New Jersey. “Going back to school is valuable to me, and also valuable to my students, because I become more of an expert in my field.”
As a fellow, Jerome will attend a four-week Summer Institute on the constitution taught by constitutional scholars at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Like Jerome, outgoing President of the United Student Government Stephen Erdman, FCRH ’13, will put his award to use on a local level. Erdman has been accepted into the NYC Urban Fellows Program, a nine-month fellowship designed to expose participants to urban issues and public policy work in city agencies.
“Studying in the Bronx and New York City has taught me that good urban planning can promote the development of vibrant, sustainable communities,” said Erdman, who is graduating with a double major in urban studies and visual arts. “I hope to enter the planning field so I can help positively shape struggling communities.”
Other award recipients are meanwhile preparing to venture abroad. Nicholas Espinoza, FCLC ’13, won a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship. The scholarship, which offers intensive summer language institutes in 13 critical foreign languages, will fund Espinoza’s study of Urdu in Lucknow, India and his research on cyber security.
Espinoza hopes to apply his linguistic and cultural immersion experience toward government work with a focus on U.S.-South Asia relations.
“I believe the U.S.-Pakistan-India relationship could benefit from more efficient and precise intergovernmental communication,” said the Pasadena, Calif., native. “The Critical Language Scholarship can help me learn the lingua franca of India and Pakistan to work toward a greater understanding between these states.”
Anjanae Wilson, GSS ’13, is one of eight Fordham students who won Fulbright Fellowships. She will travel to Brazil for her English Teaching Assistantship, offering English as a Foreign Language instruction at a public university.
“I learned Portuguese as an undergraduate and volunteered in Brazil for a summer,” said Wilson, who plans to have a career in international social work. “It was a unique experience for me as an African-American to be able to share my experience with Afro-Brazilians and engage in cultural exchange. I fell in love with the country, its culture and people, and I was determined to go back and to make a difference.”
Other prestigious scholarships won this year include:
• a Boren Scholarship to Ian Grotton, FCRH ’15, to China;
• a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship to Navena Chaitoo, FCRH ’13, who will begin a master’s of science in public policy and management at Carnegie-Mellon University in the fall;
• eight Fulbrights as of May 10, awarded to Asmaa Awad-Farid, GSE ’13, to Israel; Anne Buckel, FCRH ’13, to Vietnam; Lucy Barnhouse, GSAS ’16, to Germany; Matthew Briel, GSAS ’15, to Austria; Sara Lynch, FRCH ’11, to Colombia; Kelly O’Brien, FCRH ’13, to Canada; AnnaMaria Shaker, FCRH ’13, to Morocco; and Anjanae Wilson, GSS ’13, to Brazil;
• Sean Cox, GSAS ’13, and Andrew Palomo, GSS ’16, have advanced to the placement stage for Fulbright Public Policy Fellowships to Guatemala and will be awarded their fellowships pending official placements by the Guatemalan government;
• an English teaching assistantship to Austria through the Fulbright program and the Austrian-American Educational Commission to Kathleen Glatthaar,
FCRH ’12, GSE ’13;
• three Catholic Relief Services (CRS) International Development Fellowships to Oliver Hughes, GSAS ’11, to Burkina Faso; Erin Lewis, GSAS ’13, to Burundi; and Michelle Virgin, GSAS ’13, to Haiti; and
• our Critical Language Scholarships to Nicholas Espinoza, FCLC ’13, to study Urdu in India; Asmaa Awad-Farid, GSE ’13, to study Arabic in Morocco; Dorothy Goehring, FCLC ’13, for Turkish language study in Turkey; and Devon Ressner, FCLC ’16, to study Arabic in Morocco.
John Ryle Kezel, Ph.D., director of prestigious fellowships, noted an uptick in prestigious awards won by graduate students.
“While our primary source of scholarship applicants still come from the undergraduate schools, we have all been gratified to see increasing numbers of graduate and professional students seeking our services,” Kezel said. “This healthy situation is leading to greater recognition of Fordham students as serious contenders in fellowship competitions nationally and internationally.”
Fordham also had several prestigious award finalists, including Erik Angamarca, FCRH ’14, and Sama Habib, GSB ’14, who were named as alternates for the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship. Three students were named as Fulbright alternates, including Jayson Browder, PCS ’13, to Turkey; Nusrat Jahan, FCLC ’13, to Bangladesh; and Evangelos Razis, FCLC ’13, to Singapore.
Two of last year’s recipients of CRS International Development Fellowships have been offered regular assignments with Catholic Relief Services. Emily MacGruder, GSAS ’12, who won a fellowship last year to Senegal, accepted a regular assignment to the Sudan; and Erin Atwell, GSAS ’12, who is completing her fellowship in Burundi, will continue with CRS in Egypt.