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UofL announces 2009 Fulbright scholars

April 20th, 2009

Six University of Louisville seniors and one recent alumnus will teach and conduct research as 2009 Fulbright scholars.

Since 2003, UofL students and alumni have won 34 Fulbright awards, more than any other Kentucky university. The federally sponsored program each year has about 7,000 applicants and makes 1,500 grants available to scholars in 155 nations based on academic merit and leadership potential.

“It’s wonderful to see so many here,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “It showcases our success in fostering an environment where our students can achieve the highest levels of international scholarship and academic excellence.”

This year’s recipients are:

Selene Black, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship


Selene Black

Senior Selene Black, a Spanish major with a minor in Latin American studies, will teach English in Argentina in 2010.

Black has studied Spanish on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean: at the University of Viña del Mar in Chile in spring 2007 and the University of Salamanca in Spain in spring 2008. In addition to taking classes in Chile, Black also worked as an elementary school English teacher’s aide.

She became interested in Argentina when she visited the country during a break from her studies in Chile.

As a Fulbright scholar in Argentina, Black will be a teaching assistant at an English teacher training college in the provinces. She also will volunteer with a community health organization.

“Receiving the Fulbright is a tremendous honor and an exceptional opportunity to not only experience Argentinean culture outside of Buenos Aires but also to explore my career interests,” wrote Black via e-mail from the Dominican Republic where she is volunteering at a center for the blind.

“Through volunteering at a local public health organization and also completing my English Teaching Assistantship, I hope to decide whether or not I wish to pursue a career in public health or ESL teaching. Regardless of the path I choose, the honing of my pedagogical skills and intercultural knowhow while abroad will prove invaluable in serving the Spanish-speaking community of the United States upon my return.”

At UofL Black was a student worker in the university’s International Center; she taught English as a second language classes at the Arcadia Community Center in Louisville.

Black is a native of Custer, Ky., and was the Breckinridge County High School valedictorian in 2005.

Brian Hoffman, Fulbright Research Grant


Brian Hoffman

Alumnus Brian Hoffman, a 2008 summa cum laude graduate with a double major in political science and economics, will go in late summer to Malaysia where he will be affiliated with the Malaysian Institute for Diplomacy and Foreign Relations. The institute, part of the Malaysia Foreign Ministry, trains that country’s diplomats and those from other Southeast Asian countries.

Hoffman will participate in the training program, teach and conduct independent research to examine the impact that confidence building measures have had on producing lasting results in the Spratly Islands territorial dispute.

“I was thrilled” to receive the award, Hoffman wrote via e-mail from Hong Kong where he is studying international and public affairs on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship.

“Just to be associated with the long prestigious line of Fulbright scholars is an honor,” he said. “I feel like this particular Fulbright was made for me — it combines diplomacy and research in a vibrant city that sits at the heart of the most rapidly evolving place in the world.”

Hoffman’s career goals are in public service and particularly in foreign service, he said.

“This experience will provide me with training and experiences directly related to my area of interest,” he explained.

When he completes his Fulbright, Hoffman said, he will enroll in Stanford Law School and study international dispute resolution.

While at UofL, Hoffman participated in international study programs in Belize, Costa Rica and Panama. He served as the Student Government Association president and, as such, had a seat on the university’s Board of Trustees. He also was active in the Sigma Chi fraternity and was a leader in other campus organizations, including Rotaract. He received the Woodrow M. Strickler Leadership Award, among others, from the College of Business.

Hoffman is from Edgewood, Ky., and is a graduate of Scott High School.

Wojciech Kapalczynski, Fulbright Research Grant


Wojciech Kapalczynski

Wojciech Kapalczynski, a second-year medical student and former UofL Honors student, will study allergic reaction and sensitization to allergens among people in urban and rural Poland at the Medical University of Warsaw.

“Receiving this Fulbright means conducting research in my field of interest, becoming a better scientist, analytical thinker and future doctor,” said Kapalczynski, who was born in Poland. “It means investigating a problem that has tangible translational potential into clinical practice. It also means expanding my future career horizons and paving the way for future medical school students to do as I did and apply for the Fulbright. I must also say that, no matter how challenging my work will be, having a year off of medical school to do something different will be a welcome change.”

At UofL, Kapalczynski was a Trustees’ scholar who graduated summa cum laude with a biology degree in 2003. He received the H.W. and Adele Stodgehill Scholarship and the Kosciuszko Foundation Graduate Scholarship for Polish Americans upon entering medical school.

Going to Poland on a Fulbright holds personal significance for Kapalczynski, whose parents left that country when he was an infant.

“My family is there and I love being in Poland,” he said. “It is my home away from home. I have spent enough time in Warsaw to know where things are, get around easily, have my favorite bars and restaurants and generally make the most of my time there.

“While I don’t remember the People’s Republic of Poland I left as a baby, I know the Republic of Poland very well. I taught English with UNESCO there, met my wife there, and Poland generally remains a huge part of my life and who I am.”

In his first two years of medical school, Kapalczynski has performed research at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, worked as a pediatric intern at the Children and Youth Project Clinic and volunteered in the Baptist Hospital East emergency room. In the summer of 2008, he volunteered as a medical intern at a hospital in El Progreso, Honduras, where more than one-third of his patients suffered from severe asthma and allergies.

When his Fulbright year is over, Kapalczynski will begin the clinical portion of his medical studies at UofL. He then plans to seek a residency in internal medicine and conduct immunological research.

“I imagine that this grant will make it easier for me to apply and receive further research grants, especially those with an international component,” he said. “As my credentials continue to strengthen, I will be able to pick and choose my projects more and conduct research that specifically interests me.”

Kapalczynski grew up in Louisville. He is a 2003 graduate of Louisville Collegiate School.

Ashley Kim, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship


Ashley Kim

Ashley Kim, a senior political science major with a minor in Spanish, will begin her assistantship July 5 in South Korea. She will teach English.

“This award holds both personal and academic significance for me,” said Kim, whose father is from South Korea.

“I didn’t really grow up with strong ties to my Korean heritage,” the Louisville native continued. “It was through a high school teacher who had received a Fulbright to Korea that I became interested in learning about and embracing my Korean roots.”

That was eight years ago. Now, she said, “here I am with the chance to experience Korea via the same channel that was responsible for my initial intrigue. I’ve dreamed of having this experience since I was a freshman in high school.”

Kim credits the Honors Program office and Associate Director Pat Condon with being instrumental in making what she considered to be a “far-fetched dream” reality. The office works closely with students who are interested in applying for Fulbrights and other prestigious scholarships.

This is not Kim’s first international study experience. She went to Mexico with the Kentucky Institute for International Study in 2007.

Her university honors include being the first recipient of the Esselburn Award for a distinguished undergraduate in the political science department. Outside of UofL, she was named a Kentucky Colonel for her service to State Rep. Tom Burch as a legislative intern for the Kentucky General Assembly.

After her Fulbright ends, Kim said her tentative plans are to travel the world and teach English.

“My experience in Korea will be a great segue to that.”

She wants to learn as many languages as she can and work in either international business or in the foreign service, she said.

Kim is from Louisville and is a graduate of Seneca High School.

Monica Marks, Fulbright Research Grant


Monica Marks

Monica Marks, a senior with combined majors in political science, women’s and gender studies and philosophy, and minors in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies and Pan-African studies, will to go Turkey in June.

While at Bogazici University in Istanbul, she will study Turkish constitutional law and political thought while continuing her study of the Turkish language.

Marks has advanced language skills in Arabic and Swahili and intermediate knowledge of Turkish.

She spent the 2006-2007 academic year taking courses in intermediate Kiswahili and African Studies at the University of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania with the support of a National Security Education Program David L. Boren Scholarship. In 2007 she received a Critical Language Scholarship from the State Department for a summer immersion program in beginning Arabic at the Centre d’études Maghrebines, Tunisia. Last summer she was enrolled in an intensive Arabic course at the prestigious Qasid Institute for Classical and Modern Standard Arabic in Jordan.

“This Fulbright grant represents the culmination of years of study and prior research into Middle Eastern politics and languages,” she said.

Marks said she will spend her year in Turkey researching secularization of Turkish civil law in the Early Republic Period, 1923-1930. From there she will complete a one-year master of arts degree program in Islamic Law at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies. A $35,000 Mary Churchill Humphrey Scholarship from the UofL College of Arts and Sciences will fund her studies. She plans to attend law school in the United States after that.

“My ultimate goal is to practice international human rights law for the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser, specializing in Middle Eastern legal systems and comparative Islamic jurisprudence,” she said.

At UofL, Marks is active as a tutor for the REACH program and is the founder, coach and captain of the UofL Intercollegiate Quiz Bowl team.

Marks is from Rush, Ky. She graduated from Russell Independent High School in 2004.

Colin Ogilvie, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship


Colin Olgivie

Colin Ogilvie, a senior majoring in liberal studies with an environmental studies focus, will teach English in Brazil beginning in March 2010, coinciding with the start of the Brazilian academic. He is proficient in both Portuguese and French.

Ogilvie’s placement could be in Brasilia, Recife, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro or Rio das Flores.

“It is an honor and privilege to receive the Fulbright,” Ogilvie said. “I look forward to being an ambassador of the United States while in Brazil. The experience provides the opportunity of a lifetime for personal growth and enrichment and will help guide my future academic and career plans.

“Beyond the obvious chance to polish my Portuguese language skills, the grant will allow me to further study Brazilian music and how Brazilians relate to and conceptualize the environment, as well as help me grow comfortable working internationally,” he said. “All of these opportunities (with the exception of musical study) will assist me in the future, as I hope to work internationally in either environmental policy or sustainable development.”

As an undergraduate, Ogilvie traveled abroad through several UofL programs. He went to Senegal and Morocco with the Ali Scholars Seminar; to France with the Montpellier Work Exchange; to Portugal with the anthropology department’s Portuguese program; and to the Universidade Estadual Paulista with the Brazilian studies program.

Ogilvie is both a Provost’s Hallmark Scholar and an Ali Scholar. He works as a research assistant in the biology department and has a strong history of volunteer work as a member of both Rotaract and the Bonner Leaders Program. His activities have ranged from being a reading tutor to repairing flood damage in West Virginia.

Ogilvie is from Liberty, Mo. He is a 2005 graduate of Nathan Hale-Ray High School in Moodus, Conn.

Carl Williams, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship


Carl Williams

Carl Williams, a senior political science major with a minor in Chinese studies, will start his Fulbright assistantship Aug. 1 in Taiwan.

A student of the Mandarin Chinese language, Williams studied last summer at Beijing Foreign Studies University with UofL’s summer language immersion program.

“The Fulbright will help me tremendously’ in future endeavors, Williams said. “The award will allow me to continue my study of Chinese in a native-speaking environment and learn about Taiwanese culture. It will also help me in my future career as an international trade attorney by gaining cross-cultural negotiation skills during my time in Taiwan.”

Williams said he plans to practice international business law in East Asia.

“Receiving the Fulbright is a great honor,” he said. “It is validation that working hard in school and being committed to academic success can pay off. I see the Fulbright award as a life-changing experience that I will always cherish. I am very thankful towards UofL, Dr. Pat Condon and others who prepare students to apply and be successful in obtaining national scholarships like the Fulbright.”

Williams is a UofL Porter Scholar and recipient of the Kesselman Award for a distinguished junior in the political science department.

Williams is from Lexington, Ky., and graduated in 2005 from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.

Related Link
President James Ramsey talks about the Fulbrights

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