Penn Fulbrighters for 2020-21

The Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) wishes to heartily congratulate Penn students and alums who have been offered Fulbright grants for the 2020-2021 academic year. The awards are announced on a rolling basis, determined by the host country. This list is current as of May 27.  See this story for the 2019-20 Finalists.

 

Fulbright Study/Research Grant

 

 

Christine Olagun-Samuel
COL ‘20
Paramus, NJ (Research - South Africa)
Christine Olagun-Samuel has been awarded a Fulbright Grant to conduct research in South Africa, affiliated with the University of Pretoria. There, she will be investigating approaches to mitigate the impact of former apartheid policies on current health inequities in South Africa.  At Penn, she was a Benjamin Franklin Scholar, majoring in Health and Societies, with a minor in Chemistry.  Her academic interests lie in the intersections of medicine, history and policy, which she hopes to use to understand and improve the state of healthcare provision in underserved communities. On campus, Christine volunteered to serve Refugee patients through Service Link, served as President of the Black Student League, mentored high school students through the Upward Bound’s Dana How Scholars program, and was a reporter for the Daily Pennsylvanian.  As a SUMR scholar at the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, Christine conducted research on pain management disparities among African American cancer patients. She also interned at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she conducted research on the impact of stigma on tuberculosis transmission in homeless populations. Christine plans to pursue a career in medicine and public health. 

 

Stephanie Petrella
COL ‘17
North Andover, MA (Research-Ukraine)

Stephanie Petrella has been awarded a Fulbright Grant to examine the role of the business elite in Ukraine’s economic policymaking. Stephanie will conduct her research at the Kyiv School of Economics, analyzing parliamentary voting records, interviewing key stakeholders, and examining media. Stephanie graduated from Penn with a degree in Russian and political science in 2017. She currently works as a Eurasia program Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and as a research analyst at Greenmantle, a macroeconomic consultancy. Stephanie is the editor-in-chief of BMB Russia and Ukraine, a daily newsletter about Russia and Ukraine’s political economy news.

Adam Sax
GAS
Albany, NY (Research - Belgium)

Adam Sax has been awarded a Fulbright Grant to work with Professor Vivian Liska at the Institute of Jewish Studies in Antwerp, Belgium, on his research into “the elegiac and the abyssal” in the work of the post-Holocaust poet, Paul Celan. Adam is a PhD candidate in the Program for Comparative Literature and Literary Theory. His in-progress dissertation is provisionally titled, “A Continuum of Loss: Productive Melancholia and Aporetic Loss in Twentieth-Century Elegy.” This comparative project focuses on elegy and the formation of the genre in the 20th century through an archive of German-Jewish, Queer, and Yiddish-American poets. In addition to his research, he has served over the past three years as the graduate coordinator for the Meltzer Internship in Jewish Studies, mentoring undergraduate scholars and helping them organize events around their work.

Raka Sen
GAS
Aurora, CO (Research - India)

Raka Sen has been awarded a Fulbright Grant to study how climate change adaptation in the Indian and Bangladeshi Sundarbans is fundamentally reshaping gender roles in the region. She looks at how everyday adjustments in peoples lives are in fact a form of climate change adaptation. Raka Sen is a graduate student in the sociology program at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include the sociology of climate change, social resilience, cities, neighborhoods and disaster sociology. Prior to beginning her graduate study, Raka was a Researcher at Rebuild By Design, a resilience initiative launched after Hurricane Sandy. At Rebuild she worked on a study of managed retreat in the Sandy region and studied how long term infrastructure projects develop over time.

Adithya Sriram
SEAS/COL '20
Columbus, OH (Research - Germany)

Adithya Sriram has been awarded a Fulbright Grant to study in Germany. Adithya Sriram is majoring in physics, biophysics and chemical engineering. Sriram has been an advocate for physics education in the community, having worked with Moelis Access science to teach physics in West Philadelphia classrooms. He has been responsible for reinstating an academically based service course, Physics 137 having co-written and designed the curriculum and lab activities from scratch. This program has brought physics to a school that previously did not have a physics class. A member of the Charlie Johnson group, he has performed research on point-of-care diagnostic devices using graphene field effect transistors. Sriram is a recipient of the Roy and Diana Vagelos Science Challenge Award, the NASA Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium Scholarship and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Upon return to the U.S., he will pursue a Doctor of Philosophy degree in physics and contribute to the advancement of science and education policy.

Samuel Tullman
COL '17
Chicago, IL (Research - Brazil)

Sam Tullman has been awarded a Fulbright Grant to study in Brazil. Sam will spend this time in Northeastern Brazil, studying changes in the nervous systems of people taking the psychedelically-active brew of Amazonian traditions known widely as Ayahuasca. This brew is being considered as an alternative for treatment resistant depression, which characterizes almost 1/3 of the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who report being depressed. Sam graduated in the Class of 2017 with a major in Biological Basis of Behavior and a minor in South Asian Studies. During this time, he was proudly a part of two Ivy League Championship-winning football teams, and founded and led Penn's Chapter of Uplifting Athletes, which raised over $25,000 for rare diseases in the 18 months of its inception. He also developed a close relationship which continues today with his "Little" in his three years with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. His time since graduation has been spent at the intersection of neuroscience and contemplation, including studying the brain activity of people from meditation masters to people currently on death row, and everything in-between. He currently lives as part of a Rinzai Zen community in Seattle. Sam has also accepted an offer to study for a Masters of Public Health at the University of Washington after his Fulbright, with the long-term intention of ushering in a new era of evidence-based, human-informed mental health, using the full spectrum of tools we have available to us now in the 21st century.

 

Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Grant (ETA)

Abby Cacho
COL '17, GSE '20
Harlem, NY (ETA - Malaysia)

Abby Cacho has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Malaysia. She first graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017 from the College of Arts and Sciences where she majored in Africana Studies while minoring in French and English and is graduating in 2020 from the Graduate School of Education's Boarding School Teaching Residency. Through the teaching residency, Abby has spent the last two years teaching Upper School English at a New England boarding school where she also coached freshmen girls in field hockey and basketball and supported students of color in various affinity spaces. Abby looks forward to creating community-based and inclusive environments for all of her students as she continues her career in education.

Faith Cho
COL ‘20
Atlanta, GA
(ETA – South Korea)

Faith Cho has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in South Korea. At Penn, Faith majored in English with a concentration in creative writing and minored in Fine Arts. Passionate about education, she taught ESL at her local church and worked as a writing instructor in Hong Kong at the Elephant Community Press. Wanting to create and develop platforms for spreading narratives, Cho hosted a radio show through Penn's WQHS, served as the content team lead for The Sign.al, a club focused on enhancing the undergraduate experience, as well as worked as a senior editor for The WALK. She is excited to experience living in a new country and continue to pursue her passion in teaching.

 

Serena Hajjar
COL ‘20
Lexington, MA (ETA - Russia)

Serena Hajjar has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Russia, where she plans to hone her Russian language skills, immerse herself in Russian culture, and engage in educational and cultural exchanges with her students. Serena is majoring in International Relations and Russian and Eastern European studies. Hailing from an Armenian upbringing to immigrant parents from Lebanon, Serena elected to pursue a course of study which would expose her to various cultures and ways of thinking. Her yearlong stint at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative between her freshman and sophomore years taught her the processes used by nongovernmental actors to tackle international issues. Her study abroad experience in Moscow (summer of 2018) cemented her passion for all things Russian. Last summer, she worked at creating a Spanish-language version of the Armenian National Institute’s website, the primary resource for information about the Armenian Genocide. After years of competing as a gymnast, Serena found her home in the dance community at Penn, as a member and choreographer for the Quaker Girls dance team as well as the president of the Yalla Middle Eastern dance troupe.

Henry Hoffman
COL ‘20
Philadelphia, PA (ETA - Spain)

Henry Hoffman has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Spain.  On campus, Henry conducts immunological research in the Lennon Lab, sings in the Penn Glee Club, works as a physics and biology tutor, and volunteers in a number of clinical and educational settings around Philadelphia. A Benjamin Franklin Scholar, Henry served as president of the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Advisory Board, where he fostered learning outside of the classroom by organizing several masterclasses, alumni lunches, and excursions around West Philadelphia.  He has a strong interest in working with kids, and volunteers with Camp Kesem, an organization that runs a free summer camp for children whose parents have cancer, where he leads camper recruitment and family outreach as Outreach Coordinator. Henry has cultivated a deep passion for language, and applies his knowledge of Spanish and his interest in healthcare by volunteering at Puentes de Salud, a bilingual healthcare clinic dedicated to serving Philadelphia’s growing Latinx population. Upon his return, Henry plans to begin medical school.

Natalia Lindsey
COL '20
Stoughton, MA (ETA-Spain)

Natalia Lindsey has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Spain. Natalia Lindsey is majoring in Health and Societies with a minor in Hispanic Studies. Natalia is an active member of the Penn community and is involved in Greek life and performing arts. She served as the President of Penn Sirens, an all-female acapella ensemble, and in this role she was devoted to creating a safe and engaging space for women to express themselves through song and dance. Natalia works at the Institute of Contemporary Art, where she supports the development team. She was also on the Dean's List and is a recipient of the Onyx Senior Society Honor Roll and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation Merit Scholarship. As a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in La Rioja, Spain, Natalia will support local classrooms and develop a community project focusing on social exclusion in the region. Upon returning to the United States, Natalia plans to obtain a law degree and pursue a public interest career in Boston.

James Nassur
COL '19
Irwin, PA (ETA - Jordan)

James Nassur has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Jordan. James Nassur is a graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences with a degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. During his time at Penn, James was the president of the Penn Arab Student Society, hypertension coordinator at the United Community Clinic in West Philadelphia, a residential advisor in Harrison College House, secretary & risk management officer of Phi Delta Epsilon, and member of the Oracle Senior Honors Society. Currently, James works as a research technician in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine under Dr. Nancy Spinner at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), using zebrafish as a model to provide functional data for the role of THBS2 as a genetic modifier in the autosomal dominant genetic liver disease Alagille Syndrome. James also serves as a Tutor Coordinator in the Paper Airplanes English Program (a tutoring program for refugees from the Middle East), a volunteer at the Refugee Health Clinic under the Karabots Pediatric Center at CHOP, an Organic Chemistry Instructor for the Princeton Review, and an MCAT tutor under "SeanStudiesMCAT". Upon returning to the U.S., James plans to pursue a medical degree and serve the community as a physician working with underserved and marginalized populations.

Ton Nguyen
COL '20
Atlanta, GA (ETA - Indonesia)

Ton Nguyen has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Indonesia. Growing up in Southside Atlanta, Ton Nguyen has observed class divides and education inequity in almost every stage of her life. She is now a senior at Penn, where she majors in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) with a minor in Consumer Psychology. During her time at Penn, Ton has worked to uplift underrepresented narratives and build meaningful communities — particularly within the first-generation, low-income (FGLI) and Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) student populations. She is also a QuestBridge Scholar, a Horatio Alger Scholar, a Dell Scholar, and a Penn Civic Scholar. In the future, she hopes to be a changemaker and pursue work that dismantles cycles of inequalities.

Mark Perfect
COL '18
Ridgewood, NJ
(ETA - Germany)

Mark Perfect has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Germany. Mark Perfect graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018 with a major in mathematical economics and a minor in statistics. Since graduation, he has worked at IBM as a data scientist. Mark is interested in exploring data-driven ways of educational reform, and is looking to teach in Germany to develop a comparative perspective of educational systems. His senior thesis, which investigated the impact of the Recovery School District, i.e. the first all-charter district in the nation, was awarded the Joseph Warner Yardley Prize for its contribution to the field. Upon completion of the Fulbright fellowship, he plans to pursue a graduate degree in data science.

Aiden Reiter
WH/COL ‘20
New Haven, CT (ETA - Laos)

Aiden Reiter has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Laos. Aiden will graduate from the Huntsman Program, majoring in International Studies and Political Science in the College and concentrating in Business Economics and Public Policy (BEPP) in Wharton, all with a focus on international development. On campus, he is involved in student government and the International Affairs Association, where he has worked to organize Model UN conferences in the US, China, and Vietnam. In Laos, Aiden will teach English to university/secondary school students and hopes to start a Model UN club for students, teach English to business owners, and work with local NGOs.

Arryonna Santos
COL ‘20
San Lorenzo, CA (ETA - Brazil)

Arryonna has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Brazil. At Penn, Arryonna studied International Relations with a minor in Latin American and Latino Studies. She co-founded the Young Portuguese Americans, a cultural organization meant to recruit youth to preserve Portuguese traditions in her hometown. A first-generation student and KIPP alumna, she has mentored and coached students in West Philadelphia by working with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Penn for Youth Debate. In her business fraternity at Penn, Delta Sigma Pi, Arryonna fostered Brotherhood while she served as Fraternal Services Director. During her last year at Penn, Arryonna conducted a senior thesis with the International Relations Department in which she analyzes the impact of Sustainable Development Goals on education politics in Latin America. Upon returning to the U.S., she plans to continue working in education and development.