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Five Binghamton students named Fulbright scholars

By : Rachel Coker

Fulbright scholars, from left to right, Omar Mohamad, Katherine Arnoldi, Geoffrey McGovern, Julie Vandusky and Stewart Anderson will spend 2008-09 working on a variety of projects in foreign countries.

Five Binghamton students have been named Fulbright scholars for 2008-09, a banner year for the University by any measure.

Stewart Anderson, a doctoral candidate in history, is going to Germany; Katherine Arnoldi, who will receive her doctorate in creative writing this month, is going to Paraguay; Geoffrey McGovern, a doctoral candidate in political science, is going to Finland; senior Omar Mohamad will go to Russia; and Julie Vandusky, a doctoral candidate in political science, is going to Mexico.

“This is a phenomenal year, with phenomenal students,” said Susannah Gal, chair of the University’s Fulbright Evaluation Committee. “Going abroad gives you a better perspective of yourself and your country.”

Arnoldi, author of a book of short stories called All Things Are Labor and a graphic novel called The Amazing True Story of a Teenage Single Mom, plans to work on a novel.

The 56-year-old from Canton, Ohio, is a Mennonite. She will learn more about the Mennonite population in Paraguay, which fled there from Ukraine during the Bolshevik Revolution. While Canadian author Doris Dueck wrote a historic novel about this group, Arnoldi’s interested in its contemporary situation.

Anderson, 28, of Salt Lake City, Utah, will do field work for his dissertation, which will focus on religion, television and the renegotiation of national identity in post-war Germany. He’ll be based at the University of Essen at Duisberg and expects to work there and at archives in Berlin and Frankfurt en Main.

“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “The Fulbright helps with food, travel and research expenses and it’s a prestigious award.”

Anderson began studying German in high school and lived in Germany for two years. He considers idiom, slang and conversation his strengths and is looking forward to watching TV and studying production documents for his project.

McGovern, a graduate of Harvard Law School, is an adjunct professor in the Department of Public Administration at Binghamton.

His dissertation will be an economic analysis of settlement decisions, and he plans to look at how Finland’s legal structure encourages settlements rather than legal disputes.

McGovern, 28, of Buffalo, will be based at the University of Tampere in Tampere, Finland.

Mohamad, 22, of Binghamton, will receive his bachelor’s degree in Arabic and Russian/East European Studies this month. He will work as an English teaching assistant in Russia, where he’ll be associated with a university in Kazan.

Mohamad plans to seek a graduate degree in Central Asian Studies and wanted to improve his language skills.

“I think it will be exciting to discover the connections between central Asian and Russian literature,” he said.

Vandusky, 27, grew up in Pennsylvania.

She plans to do field work in Mexico City about how people protected their property during the colonial era when the Spanish crown was unable or unwilling to do so. She said her interest in the origins of Caudillo politics led her to this topic.

Vandusky will be based at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México.

About the Fulbright Program
The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars and professionals to undertake graduate study, research and teaching worldwide. A parallel program brings international scholars to schools across the United States.
Founded in 1946, the program awarded roughly 6,000 grants in 2007. About 1,200 of those were to American students, young professionals and artists. For more details.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08