Five Whittier College Students Recommended for Fulbright Awards

February 18, 2016

Fulbright logoWhittier College has set a new record this year with five applicants for the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program Award being recommended by the U.S. National Screening Committee for the next stage of the competition. These five Whittier College students have demonstrated their academic scholarship, capacity for independent study,  research or teaching and commitment to community engagement. The candidates will find out in late spring if their Fulbright Award proposal has been accepted.

Every year, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program - an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government - awards about 2,000 grants to students, operating in more than 155 countries.

Under this program students are able to propose an individually designed a research project or an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) during an academic year period. This fellowship will also give students the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Poet Fulbright semi-finalists include:

Kellen Aguilar '16, who if awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Spain, hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in English literature with an emphasis on American fiction. He will design a film series with guided discussion prompts to assist students with learning English through cross-cultural exchange.

“I intend to continue my research on Ernest Hemingway and race, to expand my research focus to include other locales, including Cuba and Spain, and to publish my work,” Aguilar said. “ I believe that the pedagogical and cultural experiences I would acquire from teaching English in Spain will help me to realize these career goals.”

With four years of editorial work at the Quaker Campus student newspaper and English honor society member, Derek Blankenship '16 hopes to apply his academic research grant in the United Kingdom towards furthering his career in the gaming industry. He has already been accepted to a master’s program in Computer Game Engineering at Newcastle University in England where he will conduct his research focusing on the ethical and social significance of video games. “The knowledge, experience, and connections I develop during this program will help me pursue my goal of making video games that encourage thoughtfulness through play,” Blankenship said.

Aurora Ilog '16, Whittier Fellow in Arts Management and active choir member for four years, will expand on her Whittier Scholars Program major in music business by conducting a scholarly study of the historical and cultural significance of the University of Philippines-Diliman, College of Music as a major driving force in preserving Philippine music. 

Student intern at the College's Center for Engagement with Communities Aimme Real Arrayga '16, has deepened her policy-based and grassroots understanding of immigration issues through both her internship at in immigration office in Arizona and her three year experience in teaching citizenship classes.

Her proposed independent study project will study effects of Law 25.871 on immigrant women in Argentina where she will study the history of migration and immigrant rights in Argentina, thereby extending her senior seminar project research on the feminization of migration.

“I will be conducting interviews with immigrant women and reaching out to various governmental and nongovernmental institutions to understand the legal rights of these women under the law and remaining issues they face,” Arrayga said. “I will be working with the non-profit AMUMRA to create a storytelling event as a culmination of my project where the stories of the immigrant women interviewed would be highlighted.”

Women’s lacrosse team member and outstanding student in Whittier Scholars Program Tiffany Reyes '15 will apply her experiences as a teaching assistant in calculus classes at Whittier College to her English Teaching Assistantship experience in Barcelona, Spain. Though her independent teaching experience she will take on the role as classroom teacher of English to elementary-school age children while studying abroad in Spain.

If awarded a Fulbright ETA, she plans to implement a student-run e-newsletter as one way to foster student communication in English about significant events in sports, music, or politics. “I plan to help my students create an online newsletter that will cover topics of their own personal interest, Reyes said.  “As members of their community, the newsletter can cover relevant subjects to not only their lives, but the community that they are a part of as well.”

Fulbrighters and finalists will be recognized at Honors Convocation in late April.