Nine Alumnae/i Receive Fulbright FellowshipsVassar Named a Fulbright “Top Producer”

Nine recent graduates and other young alumnae/i were awarded prestigious Fulbright Fellowships this year, once again making Vassar College a “top producer” of Fulbright recipients.

Fulbright fellow Jelena Borak ’15 will travel to Taiwan to teach English.

Lisa Kooperman, Director of Fellowships and Pre-Health Advising and Assistant Dean of Studies, says the college is a perennial leader in producing Fulbright Scholars. “Over the last five years, 44 of our alumnae/i have received Fulbright grants,” she says. “Vassar has been among the top bachelor’s institutions in the country in producing Fulbright winners for the past 13 years.”

Elijah Ness ‘17 Ness will study the urbanization of Taipei.

This year’s Fulbright Scholars are Aviva Thal ’18, a Hispanic studies major from Wilson, WY; Sarah Evans ’18, an international studies major from Jackson, WY; Jason Goldman ’18, a sociology and German studies double major from New Rochelle, NY; Yasmine Seghir ’18, a political science major from Winchendon, MA; Elijah Ness ’17, an urban studies and Chinese major from Northampton, MA; Westin Sibley ’17, a psychological science major from Riverside, CT; Jessica Au ’16, a Chinese and international studies major from Fremont, CA; Jelena Borak ’15, an English major from Boise, ID; and Daniela Weiner ’12, a history and Italian major from Carrboro, NC.

Jessica Au ‘16 will teach English in Taiwan.

Ness says the Fulbright grant will give him the opportunity to study the urbanization of Taipei, while improving his Chinese fluency.

“I’m grateful to the Fulbright Program for the chance to work on my academic, creative, and language skills—all at the same time—in a new city and a new country,” he says.

Both Goldman and Weiner will spend the year in Germany, where he will teach and she will conduct research.

The year will provide valuable experience working with immigrant populations in Montabaur at the Anne-Frank-Realschule, Goldman says. Germany is a leader in welcoming immigrants and refugees, so it provides an ideal place to teach English, he says.

“I look forward to learning from the children I’ll be teaching, and exposing them to American culture the way I imagine it—as inclusive, creative, and vibrant,” Goldman says.

Daniela Weiner ’12 will travel to Germany and Italy for her research.

Weiner will travel to the German Federal Archives in Berlin and Koblenz to investigate documents from the East and West German ministries of education, and to Italy to examine additional archival materials. It’s all research for her dissertation, “Teaching a Dark Chapter: Holocaust and Resistance Representations in East German, West German, and Italian History Textbooks, 1943–2000.” 

“I’m incredibly excited about my research year ahead,” Weiner says. “The Fulbright grant will allow me to collaborate with various international scholars on a project that touches a number of different countries.” 

Jason Goldman ’18 will work with immigrant children in Germany.

Other Fulbright recipients are making big plans, too—Thal will teach English in Colombia; Evans will conduct research on agro-economic networks in Argentina; Seghir will study international politics at Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom; and Sibley, Au, and Borak will teach English in Taiwan. 

Fulbright recipients were announced in June, and the following month, Vassar received notification of its status as a “top producer.” The letter sent to Vassar commended the college for its dedication to preparing Americans for the interconnected and dynamic global economy.

“This achievement is a testament to your institution’s deep commitment to international exchange and to cultivating stronger relationships between the United States and the more than 160 countries that take part in the Fulbright Program,” it reads.