Forty-nine Georgetown students this year received the Fulbright Scholarship, a prestigious award given to college seniors and alumni of all fields. The Hoya interviewed four of Georgetown’s recent Fulbright recipients trained in science or currently engaged in science-related projects, who told us how Georgetown opened them to global science diplomacy and engagement.
The Fulbright program provides a funded opportunity for students to study, teach and conduct research internationally before returning to the United States, in addition to advancing intellectual exchange.
While the majority of awards are for degree-seeking scholars or English Teaching Assistants, Fulbright holds many open research awards in advocates for proposals within scientific research and science oriented fields. Specific countries have tailored science-oriented research and study awards to recruiting American scholars to uphold global collaboration.
One of the recipients, Victoria Boatwright (COL ’22), a biological physics major, is using her Fulbright research opportunity to work with Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, a research institution based in Geesthacht, Germany, researching offshore wind farms in German Bight’s North Sea. Boatwright’s project studies how offshore wind turbines affect ecosystem function and the consequences that arise from additional nutrients. Boatwright is currently on a research ship in the South Atlantic to study ocean energy cascades.
Meanwhile, Natalie Kim (SFS ‘21), a science, technology, and international affairs graduate concentrating in biotechnology and global affairs, has recently wrapped up her Fulbright experience teaching English at Chungnam Science High School in Gongju, South Korea. Kim used her Fulbright experience to abridge language division and initiate trust building between communities.
Kim said to the Hoya that she wanted to use her award to work with diverse populations and study the impacts of sociopolitical factors on health. Kim said her experience with the Council of Korean American Public Service internship program during her time at Georgetown was a pivotal moment in helping her realize the importance of working with individuals.
“While structural change is important, I wanted to work on a more individual level, and it also gave me a deeper understanding of how health intersects with all aspects of life including politics, economics, and history,” Kim wrote to The Hoya.
Emily Ren (NHS ’21), a health care management and policy graduate with a minor in mathematics, is currently teaching English in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan. Ren also volunteers at the local American STEM resource centers, American Corner and Makerspace, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy.
“Their varied perspectives and the realized parallels within my own background inspired a desire to effect social good on a global scale,” Ren wrote to The Hoya.
Ren wrote that English language literacy in Kazakhstan is considered a vital initiative in their “2050 Strategy” reform, which she hopes her position aids. “It has been fascinating to witness how national initiatives translate into local programs—especially at this point in history,” Ren wrote.
Lavinia Taumoepeau-Latu (SCS ‘23) is a current emergency & crisis management master’s student working with the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) in Tonga. Taumoepeau-Latu’s Fulbright proposal at Tonga’s NEMO, which collaborated with local governments, allowed her to serve in soft diplomacy and directly engage with the community.
Taumoepeau-Latu’s desire to work in disaster management started long ago, where in 2018, she had taken on a post to become Tonga’s first national safety and protection cluster coordinator. In addition to the valuable professional development Fulbright provides, the international experience also contributes to personal growth and worldview expansion, according to Taumoepeau-Latu.
For prospective Fulbright applicants, Boatwright recommended finding an advisor who is excited about your project.
“You’ll find in science that your advisor becomes integral to your research,” Boatwright said to The Hoya. “In my opinion, I think you should always prioritize the quality of the person you work with over the topic you work on.”
“Make sure that you can connect your reasons for wanting to go on your grant of choice to your broader career goals because ultimately, the program is an investment in you!” Kim said.
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