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Nov. 14, 2005

Fulbright fellowships: 29 U-M students awarded

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Twenty-nine University of Michigan students have been awarded Fulbright fellowships in 2005-2006, more than any other university in the nation.

"What sets us apart is that we have great departments in a wide variety of fields," said Amy Kehoe, who coordinates student Fulbright applications at U-M's International Institute." Michigan is strong and diverse, and our commitment from faculty to international studies is a key factor in our students' success."

Fulbright Fellows undertake self-designed programs in disciplines ranging from social sciences, business, communication and performing arts, to physical sciences, engineering and education. More than 1,500 applicants applied nationwide including 100 from U-M.

Erika Hoffman and Jesse Johnston are among the U-M Fulbright Fellows preparing to start their programs in January 2006. Hoffman will travel to Nepal to examine bias and caste issues surrounding the development of Nepali Sign Language, which is "premised on shared language and culture." In contrast, Johnston will explore "Moravian regional self-representation through musical performance in the modern-day Czech Republic."

"International Institute centers devoted to area and international studies foster interest in all world regions and provide numerous opportunities for students to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for a competitive Fulbright application," said Mark Tessler, International Institute director and vice provost for international affairs. "Through their interdisciplinary courses, fellowships for language study, MA programs and other activities, II centers make a major contribution to the consistent success of Michigan students in obtaining Fulbright awards."

Harvard University had 24 winners while Yale University had 23. Rounding out the top 10 were Columbia University, the University of California-Berkley, Stanford University, the University of Wisconsin, Johns Hopkins University, Brown University and Duke University.

Here is a complete list of 2005-2006 U-M awardees and their projects:

• Nadiya Ahmed, Social Work, Singapore. Between East and West: Singapore's Islamic Financial Market. She is from Rochester Hills.

• Emann Allebban, Philosophy and Liberal Studies, Syria. Islamic Civilization Award: Arabic, Philosophy, and Cultural Immersion in Syria. Allebban is from Dearborn.

• Tucker Berckmann, Computer Engineering/German, Germany. Thesis work on the FORBIAS project. He is from Grand Haven.

• Renee Brown, Political Science, Croatia. Refugee Return in Croatia. She is from Copley, Ohio.

• Casey Ehrlich, Spanish/Global Media Studies, Argentina. Teaching Assistantship. Ehrlich is from Grosse Pointe and East Lansing.

• Saadia Eisenberg, History, Israel. The 1240 Debate: Heterodoxy and Institutional Control. Eisenberg is from Brooklyn, N.Y. and Oak Park.

• Tashfeen Ekram, Medicine/Neuroscience and Psychology, Jordan. Mental Health in Displaced Populations and is from Danville, Calif.

• Jennifer Epley, Political Science, Indonesia. Religion and Political Participation in Indonesia. She is from Ypsilanti.

• Thomas Flores, Political Science, Colombia. The Roots of Colombian Military Spending. He is from Brownsville, Texas.

• Jonathan Glasser, Near Eastern Studies, Morocco. The Granadan Tradition of Maghrebi-Andalusi Performance. He is from Columbia, Conn.

• Irene Hahn, Creative Writing, South Korea. 100 Views of Mount Fuji: A Novel. She is from Woodbridge, Conn.

• Stephen Higgs, Natural Resources and Environment/Environmental Law, New Zealand. Lessons from Environmental Mediation in New Zealand. He is from Harbor Springs.

• Erika Hoffman, Linguistic Anthropology, Nepal. Standardization and Syncretism in Nepali Sign Language. She is from Ann Arbor.

• Summy Jafri, Near Eastern Studies, Morocco. Islamic Languages and Literature. Jafri is from Taylor.

• Gaurav Jashnani, Political Science, Argentina. Direct Democracy in Argentina's Autonomous Movements. Jashnani is from Columbia, Missouri.

• Andrea Jenkins, American Culture/Anthropology/Linguistics, Canada. A Comparative Study of Post-Secondary Indigenous Education. She is from Midland.

• Jesse Johnston, Ethnomusicology, Czech Republic. The Contemporary Moravian Cimbalom Tradition: Performing Modern History. Johnston is from Calumet, Mich.

• Cynthia Marasigan, History, Philippines. Ambivalent Belligerents: African Americans, Filipinos, and War.

• Marisa Martin, Environmental Law, Switzerland. Climate Change Efforts: A Model for Developed Countries? She is from Lander, Wyoming.

• Laura (Kate) McClellan, Anthropology, Syria. Remarketing Damascus: Tourism, Merchants, and Materiality in a Syrian Marketplace. She is from Arlington, Texas.

• Michelle Miller, French Literature and Culture/Medieval and Early Modern Studies, France. Noble Sentiments: Political Affect in Renaissance France. She is from Springfield, Missouri.

• Lauren Mitchell, Linguistics/German, Germany. Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

• Saif Omar, Near Eastern Studies, Syria. Poetry: The Buried Treasure of the Arabs. He is from Ann Arbor.

• Babak Orandi, Medicine, Nicaragua. Public Health Delivery Systems in Nicaragua. He is from Ann Arbor.

• Bethany Percha, Physics/Biochemistry/Mathematics, Netherlands. The Physics of Complex Biological Systems. She is from the Walled Lake, MI.

• Stephanie Pilat, History of Architecture/History, Italy. Architecture after Fascism: The Postwar Housing of Giuseppe Vaccaro. She is from Ann Arbor.

• Charles Sabatos, Comparative Literature, Slovakia (Slovak Republic). Images of Turks/Muslims in Slovak Literature. He is from Gibsonia, Pa.

• Bethany Van Hooser, Social Anthropology/German, Germany. Teaching Assistantship. She is from East Aurora, N.Y.

• Matthew Wittmann, American Culture, New Zealand. American Culture and the South Seas in the Nineteenth Century. His hometown is Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The U.S. Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946, immediately after World War II, to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges. Senator J. William Fulbright, sponsor of the legislation, saw it as a step toward building an alternative to armed conflict. Fulbright Grants are available for study, research, teaching, and work in the creative and performing arts.

The Fulbright competition is administered at the University of Michigan through the U-M International Institute. For more information, on U-M's Fulbright program, visit:


International Institute


Contact: Joe Serwach
Phone: (734) 647-1844