Six Notre Dame graduate students win Fulbright Awards in 2011 competition

Author: Gretchen Busl

Fulbright International Education Exchange Program

A record number of six students in the Graduate School have earned coveted grants in the 2011 Fulbright U.S. Student Program competition. The Fulbright Program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide and provides nearly 1,500 U.S. students the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research abroad for one year.

Twelve University of Notre Dame graduate students completed an application for the Fulbright full grant, a fellowship for graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study abroad for one academic year. Four of these students were selected as winners in highly competitive countries such as Austria, Spain, and Russia.

Four master’s students from the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) and Creative Writing programs applied to the English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) Program. The ETA places U.S. students as English teaching assistants in schools or universities overseas, thus improving foreign students’ English language abilities and knowledge of the United States while enhancing the U.S. student’s own language skills and knowledge of the host country. Two Notre Dame students were selected for programs in the East Asian region.

Students who apply to the Fulbright program are first evaluated on campus, and then reviewed by U.S. Fulbright committees. Finalist applications are forwarded to supervising agencies abroad, to the U.S. State Department, and to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for further review.

The University’s internal campus deadline for the 2012 competition is September 12, 2011. Graduate students interested applying to the Fulbright competition should contact Gretchen Busl, the Graduate School’s associate program director for grants and fellowships.

The 2011 winners are:

Ph.D. in History student Max Deardorff is an historian of colonial Latin America, with a secondary interest in global history. His dissertation will interrogate the ways in which church and state cooperated to make a universal educational program in 16th century Spain and its American colonies.

On his Fulbright grant, Deardorff will be reading manuscripts at the National Library in Madrid to ascertain how elite functionaries envisioned the ideal realization of this project of acculturation. He will also look at routine bureaucratic documentation in the National Historical Archive in Madrid and the Archive of the Indies in Seville to determine what quotidian practices fed into this historical process, and whether the real, daily process of acculturation ever looked anything like the ideals mapped out in formal meetings.

Nathan Gerth’s work in the History Ph.D. program grapples with issues such as corruption and development of new bureaucracies in provincial Russian society during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His dissertation builds on his earlier projects by addressing two questions: how did local bureaucracies lay the groundwork for a powerful modern state in Russia, and how did its evolution contribute to the profound social changes that took place in Russia during the nineteenth century? He plans to examine these issues by reconstructing the lives of local bureaucrats in the provincial Russian city of Tver’.

With his Fulbright grant, Gerth will live and work for ten months in Tver’, examining documents in local archives related to public safety, health-care, and education. In addition, he will also study records held in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Albertus Horsting came to the Ph.D. in Theology program from a background in classics. He is currently preparing the first modern edition of a poetical work written by Prosper of Aquitaine, a contemporary of Augustine, who wrote a book of poems on themes in Augustine’s writings that sought to synthesize and encapsulate his thought. Not only did Prosper’s synthesis guide the interpretation of the Augustinian corpus through the early-modern period, but his poems became an essential part of the school curriculum from the days of Charlemagne to those of Louis XIV, serving as the first and most universal interpretative scheme for Augustine’s theology for generations of students.

Horsting’s Fulbright grant detailed a plan to travel to Vienna to edit the work in collaboration with the Austrian Academy of Science’s Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum. He recently declined the Fulbright award and deferred his plan to visit Austria in order to accept the Rome Prize, a prestigious residential fellowship from the American Academy in Rome.

A graduate of New York University and Fordham University, John Moscatiello is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History. His dissertation focuses on the everyday interactions among Muslims, Christians, and Jews in medieval Spain. Specifically, his research analyzes the ways that domesticity and private life provided a context for interactions among these different religious groups during the tumultuous years of the Spanish Reconquest in the Middle Ages.

Through the Fulbright program, Moscatiello will work as a research specialist at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) in Madrid.

Beth Palkovic graduated this year from Notre Dame, where she received a Master of Education degree through the ACE program, a two-year service-through-teaching program. Beth taught fifth grade at an under-resourced school in urban Denver, Colorado, where she had the opportunity to serve students of immigrant families and students who were learning English as a second language.

Palkovic will continue teaching English in Indonesia through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, and expand her language skills to include Bahasa Indonesia.

Laura Wilczek also graduated with a Master of Education degree from the ACE program, working as a middle school teacher in an under-resourced middle school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She earned her B.A. in English at Notre Dame in 2009, and studied the Korean language during her senior year.

Wilczek will take on an English teaching assistantship in South Korea, where she hopes to pursue service work among North Korean refugee teenagers or among Korean orphans during her fellowship year. Upon her return, her ambition is to teach at a new Korean school in Minneapolis.