Five Recent Holy Cross Graduates Receive Fulbright Grants

Alumni to work in Turkey, Ukraine, Argentina, Bulgaria, Vietnam

WORCESTER, Mass. – Five recent graduates from the College of the Holy Cross have been awarded Fulbright grants to work and teach abroad.

“Having five winners continues a decade of success. Since 2002, Holy Cross has won 34 Fulbrights,” explains Anthony Cashman, director of Distinguished Fellowships and Graduate Studies at the College. “Holy Cross has become a destination for students who want to study the traditionally taught languages such as Spanish, French, Italian, and German, as well as some of the critical languages, namely Russian, Chinese, and Arabic.”

Each year approximately 1,000 college students are awarded grants through the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship program in international educational exchange. Fulbright grants are made to U.S. citizens and nationals of other countries for a variety of educational activities, primarily university lecturing, advanced research, graduate study and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. Since the program’s inception in 1946, more than 250,000 participants — chosen for their leadership potential — have had the opportunity to observe each other’s political, economic and cultural institutions.

This year’s recipients are:

Connor Hayden ’10, of Bradford, Mass., has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Turkey, where he says his interests and goals will lead him to the next step for his professional and personal development. A classics major in the College Honors Program, Hayden will teach English from August to June of next year. He leaves for Turkey next month to attend a language and culture program in Istanbul.  Hayden’s interest in culture and travel started during his study abroad experience at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome during the spring semester of 2009. He applied for the Fulbright because he has a desire to teach, travel, learn a new language and serve. As a guitarist for 14 years, eight of which have been semi-professional, he hopes to transmit the language and culture of American music, as well as learning as much as possible of Turkish language, culture, and music.

Kaitlyn Mearn ’07, of Milton, Mass., has been awarded a Fulbright grant to research and study in an intensive Ukrainian language program at the Ivan Franko National University of L’viv in Ukraine.  Mearn will explore the sociolinguistic and political effects that Soviet policies of “Russification” and other foreign influences (Polish, English) have had on the Ukrainian language. In order to obtain a diverse sample, she will visit main cities in different regions of the country, such as Kyiv and Polava in central Ukraine, Odesa in the south, and Donetsk in the east.  At the end of the study, she anticipates writing up the findings of her interviews in a report or publication so the data can be added to the growing literature on language politics in Ukraine. She is currently enrolled in the International Chinese Language Program at the National Taiwan University.

Stacy Nazzaro ’10, of Falmouth, Mass., has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Argentina, where she plans to merge several of her passions (Spanish, music, teaching, and international relations) in three projects.  A Spanish and economics double major, Nazzaro will teach English at a Teachers Training College in an Argentine province during the March to November 2011 school year. She will also work on a supplementary cultural project titled “Promoting Multiculturalism through Song,” which includes forming a singing group to teach the English language and North American culture through song. She also plans to join an Argentine choir in the community to immerse herself in the language and culture and form a deeper relationship with the people of Argentina.

Olivia Pruszko ’10, of Monroe, Conn., has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Bulgaria. She will stay in Dobrich, located in northeastern Bulgaria 18 miles west of the Black Sea. Pruszko will teach English at Dobrich’s English Language High School. A Spanish major, language has long been an interest to Pruszko. Because her parents emigrated from Poland, the first language she learned was Polish. Pruszko also has a deep interest in education. She has completed 60 hours observing, tutoring, and helping a middle-school Spanish teacher and high school Spanish and ESL teacher with homework, assignments, lesson plans, and activities for their classes. She plans on studying education and Spanish in graduate school, and hopes to work in education administration or become the superintendant of a school district.

John Vo ’09, of Worcester, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to paint and study contemporary and traditional Vietnamese art in his parents’ birthplace of Vietnam. Vo’s parents immigrated to America in 1987. For the past several years, Vo, who double majored in philosophy and studio art, has been creating narrative paintings that focus on his parents’ experiences and stories.  While he is in Vietnam, Vo will learn the Vietnamese art forms of silk painting and woodblock printing. Vietnamese woodblock printing is an admired art form because of its significance in Tet (Lunar New Year) decorations. He will study at Ho Chi Minh City’s San-Art, a non-profit organization which provides exhibition space, residency programs for young artists, lecture series and an exchange program that invites international artists and curators to organize or collaborate on exhibitions. Over the last year, Vo has been creating artwork and putting on shows in Boston.