Just before last week's commencement, three Johns Hopkins students and a lecturer learned that they had received grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the 2003-2004 academic year. The recipients of a Fulbright, one of the most prestigious awards in academia, are Niall Keleher, Anthony Pirnot, Suman Sureshbabu and Manh Davar.
The program awards approximately 1,000 grants annually and currently operates in over 140 countries worldwide. Successful U.S. applicants utilize their grants to undertake self-designed programs in disciplines ranging from social sciences, business, communication and performing arts to physical sciences, engineering and education.
Niall Keleher, who last week received his bachelor's degree in economics and international studies, will travel to Ecuador to study the instability of its shrimping industry as an example of economic structural management. Keleher spent summer 2002 in Ecuador, collecting data and formulating a report on the current status of the economy using funding and academic guidance provided by a Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship grant from Johns Hopkins. He also has studied in Guatemala, South Africa, Tunisia and Italy, where he spent a year at SAIS' Bologna Center.
Anthony Pirnot, a lecturer in the Writing Seminars, will travel to Poland to conduct research for a novel based on conceptions of place in American and British expatriate literature and in contemporary Polish literature, specifically examining Poland as a lost place from foreign and Polish perspectives. He will study Polish literature at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, where he expects to meet with many of the city's famous writers. Pirnot served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Poland in 1999-2000 and taught English at Jagiellonian University the following year. He received his master's degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins in 2002 and then won an Elliott Coleman Fellowship to teach and write in 2002-2003. Pirnot also has a bachelor's degree in physics from Drexel University and a master's degree in English from the University of Virginia.
Suman Sureshbabu, who received her bachelor's degree in political science on Thursday, will travel to Ghana to study how women's voices are included in regional policy-making. Her topic was inspired by her previous work in Ghana during summer 2002, when she studied the lives of rural women as the subject of her Provost's Undergraduate Research Award from Johns Hopkins. Sureshbabu was co-director of the undergraduate Foreign Affairs Symposium and spent summer 2001 in Bangalore, India, conducting an economic feasibility study for AWAKE.
Mahnu Davar, who received his bachelor's degree in philosophy on Thursday, will travel to India to create in English a series of illustrated children's books based on Hindu folk tales. His host institution will be Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, a network of theology and Sanskrit language schools or ashrams based in the southern cities of Rishikesh and Coimbatore. In 1999 Davar published a similar book called Manda Baba and the Flood under the auspices of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam Institute for Vedanta in Saylorsburg, Pa. An accomplished cartoonist and mixed media artist, Davar provided political cartoons for The News-Letter, the student newspaper on the Homewood campus. He is also managing editor of The Subcontinental, a journal of South Asian American political identity.
For more than 56 years, the U.S. government-sponsored Fulbright Student Program has prepared the next generation of diplomats, businesspeople, scientists, artists and academics in the United States and abroad for leadership in a global environment. Designed to give recent graduates, postgraduate candidates, and developing professionals and artists opportunities for international experience, cultural immersion and personal enrichment, the Fulbright Program encourages grantees to open pathways of international communication and cooperation with the citizens of their host countries.
The program provides funding for one academic year of career-launching study or research abroad. Applicants undergo a rigorous merit-based selection process based on their academic or professional record, language preparation, the feasibility of the proposed study project and personal qualifications.
The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Financial support is provided by an annual appropriation from Congress to the State Department and by participating governments and host institutions in the United States and abroad.