BUFFALO, N.Y. — Seven University at Buffalo students have won Fulbright awards, the prestigious national scholarship competition for grants to study, research and teach abroad in 2019-20.
Five of UB’s winners received English Teaching Assistantships; the other two won research grants, the traditional award opportunity where recipients design their own projects and work with advisers at foreign universities or other institutions of higher education.
“I’m thrilled that UB had such a successful year,” says Patrick McDevitt, Fulbright program adviser, associate professor in the Department of History and a 1993 Fulbright grantee to New Zealand. “The Fulbright is a life-changing program for the grantees.”
Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, Fulbrights are awarded to nearly 8,000 students and scholars each year. The scholarship covers airfare to the country one is studying in and a stipend to cover housing expenses. It was proposed by Sen. J. William Fulbright in 1945 to promote peace and friendship among all the nations of the world.
The students who won English Teaching Awards are:
- Paige Melin, a 2013 graduate of UB and a member of Phi Beta Kappa who also holds a master’s degree from the University of Maine. Melin applied for the Fulbright award through UB's Fulbright program. She works as the education coordinator for Explore Buffalo and as a teaching artist for the Queen City Home School Collective and Young Audiences of Western New York. Melin will travel to Senegal, where she hopes to use her background in poetry and translation to connect with her students.
- Haleigh Morgan, a senior English major at UB, will travel to Malaysia. Morgan has worked as a camp counselor for the Saranac Lake Youth Program, a tutor at the Gloria J. Parks Community Center in Buffalo and a writing tutor at UB. Morgan’s ultimate career goal is to teach English at the secondary level. She looks forward to spending the year learning Malay and building lasting connections with her host community.
- Hanna Santanam, a senior anthropology and English double major with minors in global gender studies and Asian studies. She will spend her Fulbright year in India. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Santanam previously studied in India in the summer of 2017, thanks to a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State.
- Jenny Simon, a senior who is studying linguistics, education and English. She will spend her Fulbright year in Mongolia. Simon speaks Mandarin and has traveled extensively in China. She received a Critical Language Scholarship to China in 2018.
- Matthew Straub, a senior studying architecture and earth systems science. Straub has been awarded an English Teaching Assistantship in Germany. He is a UB Presidential Scholar and active community volunteer, who has worked at the Tool Library in North Buffalo and Grassroots Gardens of Western New York. In addition to teaching English, Straub hopes to form a Design Club at his host institution to help students engage with their built environments.
The two students who received research grants are:
- Ashley Cercone, a doctoral student in anthropology. She will travel to Turkey to analyze early Bronze Age ceramics from archaeological sites along the caravan route that linked Mesopotamia to the Aegean world. Her project will be among the first to employ cutting-edge analytical technologies, namely laser ablation inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry and portable X-ray fluorescence, on Bronze Age ceramics in Turkey. She earned a bachelor’s degree in classics and anthropology from UB in 2016.
- Stanzi Vaubel, a doctoral candidate in media study. She holds an MFA from UB and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. She will travel to Montreal to work with Canadian researchers creating large-scale collaborative performances that unite a wide variety of communities into a week-long festival. Vaubel is founder, director and co-producer of the Indeterminacy Festival (2016-present). She has been a cellist with Juilliard Pre-College, and has collaborated with the Watermill Center, the Long House and Carnegie Hall. She also has earned commissions with the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Burchfield Penney Arts Center, KANEKO, Chicago Public Radio, New York Public Radio, Third Coast Audio Fest, Free City Fest and Public Space 1.
Additionally, two students were named alternates: Mariangela Perrella is an alternate for a research grant to the United Kingdom and Madeline Elminowski is an alternate for an English Teaching Assistantship to Colombia.