Six Puget Sound students were awarded highly competitive grants, fellowships, and exchanges in recognition of their contributions in the fields of mental health research, social justice, art history, international relations, and language instruction. This spring, the awards announced include two Fulbright grantees, a Frederick Douglass fellow, a Watson Fellow, a CBYX young professional, a CIEE English teaching assistant, and a Fulbright Taiwan English teaching fellow.
Analyzing Mental Health Care Systems
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Samantha Lilly ’19 spent time in Argentina studying the country’s mental health system as one of Puget Sound’s Watson Fellows. When the research trip was cut short, Lilly applied to the Fulbright U.S. Student program and was awarded a grant to return to Buenos Aires. Lilly will conduct qualitative research on the effectiveness of Argentina’s landmark 2010 mental health care law, which is designed to help destigmatize mental illness.
“I chose Argentina because I developed a profound love and appreciation for Porteño culture,” Lilly said. “I suppose, in the same way I was certain the Watson was right for me, I knew a Fulbright was what I was meant to do next. Not to mention, I felt I had unfinished business in Buenos Aires, and I knew that I was meant to return from the moment I left.”
Lilly graduated in 2019 with a degree in philosophy and an emphasis on bioethics. Since 1946, the Fulbight U.S. Student program has provided grants to recent college graduates to perform research or serve as English teaching assistants in 140 countries around the world.
Advancing Social Justice
In March, Jaylen Antoine ’22 was selected as one of 14 recipients of the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship. The fellowship sends diverse student leaders to attend a summer study abroad program focused on leadership, intercultural communication, and social justice. Antoine was selected out of more than 300 applicants to travel to Dublin, Ireland for four weeks to participate in this year’s program.
Antoine was encouraged to apply by Assistant Professor of African American Studies LaToya Brackett, who also wrote a recommendation for his application. In addition to his academic work in African American studies and economics, Antoine is an active member of the Black Student Union and plays on the Logger football team.
“I hope that this inspires Puget Sound students to see that they're just as good as Ivy League students,” Antoine said. “Not only does this award go to myself, it's an extension of everyone who has supported me—this award really goes out to the people who try to make this campus community a better place for everyone.”
The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship was established in 2017 by the Council on International Education Exchange. This year, Ireland’s Department of Global Affairs is co-sponsoring the program to honor the 175th anniversary of abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ meeting with Irish reformer Daniel O’Connell in Dublin. Previous fellows have traveled to London, England and Cape Town, South Africa.
Retracing the Silk Road
As a recipient of a 2021 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, Kyra Zapf ’21 plans to retrace the route of the original Silk Road through China, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Israel, Italy, and France to learn about the historic practice of silk weaving and dying, as well as how modern museums are helping to preserve traditional techniques.
“My intention for the project is to combine my love of textiles with my love of history and gain a better understanding of how museums can interact with textile artists working to preserve and profit from styles of weaving that are hundreds of years old,” Zapf said.
Zapf is a humanities major and also works in the theatre arts department’s costume shop, putting her appreciation of textile arts to use supporting student productions. The Watson Fellowship provides graduating seniors with a one-year stipend to pursue independent research outside of the United States. It was established by the family of Thomas J. and Jeannette Watson to honor the IBM founder’s interest in education and world affairs.
Building International Ties
After her study abroad semester in Freiburg, Germany, came to an early end due to the pandemic, Emily Weight ’21 is returning as part of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) Young Professionals Program. The highly selective, 10-month program, jointly funded by the U.S. State Department and the German government, consists of two months of language immersion, a semester of university courses, and a three-month internship.
“In addition to my love for living abroad, my hope to pursue international business in my career—specifically in the tourism industry—makes this program the perfect opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a foreign country while gaining a better cultural understanding of Germany,” Weight said. “I look forward to the opportunity to be an American ambassador in Germany, and carry with me the University of Puget Sound education I have gained these past four years.”
Weight is an international business and German studies double major. CBYX was founded in 1983 and provides Germans and Americans an immersive international experience by living, working, and studying in each others' countries. Each year, 75 candidates from each country are accepted into the young professionals program.
Taking Language Instruction to the Great Outdoors
When James Kelloway ’18 returned home to Minneapolis following a year as a Fulbright English teaching assistant in Taitung, Taiwan, he immediately started thinking of going back. He began working as a bilingual academic assistant at a Chinese-language immersion school, where he learned about curriculum development, research-based teaching practices, and school administration. Soon, he was learning to cook Taiwanese dishes, dreaming about visiting friends in Taitung, and planning his return.
Kelloway received help from the staff at Puget Sound’s Center for Writing, Learning, and Teaching to apply for a research grant from Fulbright Taiwan. His proposed research would have focused on how bilingual education programs could combine English-language learning and environmental education, putting to use his dual degrees in geology and Chinese language and culture. While he didn’t receive the Fulbright grant, through the process, he learned about a new English Teaching Fellowship program. After a nudge from Asian studies instructor Lo Sun Perry, Kelloway applied and was accepted into the pilot program.
“I’m excited to be working at a completely new site, Penghu, a chain of islands roughly 20 miles west of Taiwan, where I hope to establish a science outdoor education program or club,” Kelloway said. “Geologically speaking, Penghu is home to unique igneous rocks known as columnar basalts, which particularly piqued my interest. Teaching in a place with this existing geological beauty is a perfect opportunity for me.”
The English Teaching Fellowship program is awarded by the Taiwan Ministry of Education and Fulbright Taiwan. The program aims to help students in elementary, middle, and secondary schools become proficient in English. Fellows work closely with Taiwanese teachers in the classroom to implement teaching plans and improve their cultural competency.
Fostering Cross-Cultural Understanding
Early in her academic career, Carly Cashen struggled with school. Through the efforts of dedicated teachers, she was able to overcome her obstacles and succeed. Now, she wants to give back. In addition to being named a semi-finalist for the Fulbright U.S. Student program, she is now heading to Spain to serve as an English teaching assistant through the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) Teach Abroad program.
“I am excited to start my next step as a multi-lingual educator, having accepted an opportunity with CIEE Teach Abroad, Spain, to work as an Auxiliares de Conversacion through the North American Language and Culture Assistants Program. Enriched with the skills and knowledge I’ve gained as a German major at Puget Sound, I will bring my compassion and flexibility to the classroom in Madrid to support students through cross-cultural engagement,” Cashen said. “In this experience, I hope to enrich students’ English-learning experience and ensure they have the resources to learn and grow, just as I have been so fortunate to experience.”
CIEE was founded in 1947. The organization seeks to help people gain understanding, acquire knowledge, and develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world through international exchange programs.
Beyond Puget Sound
Puget Sound students consistently win or are shortlisted for competitive grants, fellowships, and postgraduate programs. Loggers go on to apply what they’ve learned in and out of the classroom as researchers, teachers, and community leaders, showcasing Puget Sound’s global impact. As Fulbright scholars, Frederick Douglass Global Fellows, Watson Fellows, Peace Corps volunteers, and more, Loggers are making a difference in the lives of others locally and around the world.