News and Events
Five Seaver College Students Earn Fulbright Awards
Last year Seaver College saw a record number of Fulbright winners, with five receiving the coveted scholarship. Pepperdine hit the mark again this year with another five students earning passage into the Fulbright program. From studying tree sap in Germany to teaching English in Taiwan, Pepperdine's 2009-10 Fulbright winners will be busy this summer fulfilling the program's mission to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries."
"We continue to be pleased with the success of our students in receiving the prestigious Fulbright awards," says Seaver College dean Rick Marrs. "Seaver College is working hard to increase our student success in all nationally competitive fellowships, and the repeated successes of our students in winning these Fulbright awards is a testimony both to their academic accomplishments and co-curricular service, as well as to the faculty who willingly give of their time and expertise to mentor these students."
This year's winners are all women, and 2009 graduates seniors of Seaver College. Four will be completing English Teaching Assistantships in various countries: liberal arts and education major Julie Presant will be teaching in South Korea; English literature major Lillian Kwok will be in Taiwan; and both Spanish and German major Leslie Reed and English writing and rhetoric major Lindsey Banister will teach in Germany
Presant chose South Korea for her English teaching assistantship so she could work with elementary school students. "I hope to learn from the teachers I work with and use that knowledge to amplify my own performance as a teacher in America," she explains.
Kwok's mother was born and raised in Taiwan, and she says she looks forward to learning more about her native land. "It's very important to me to spend time in Taiwan learning more about the culture and the language, and at the same time reciprocating by sharing about the American culture."
Reed will be putting her third language, German, to good use in her teaching assistantship. "Language learning has always been fascinating to me, and I have found it most rewarding," she says.
Although her primary function will be to teach English language, American Studies, and British Studies to German high school students, she also plans to develop an after-school bilingual reading program for interested students and community members. "I hope to facilitate language learning and foster a love for literature," she says.
Banister will be examining how the type of reading material used affects a student's ability to learn. "Outside of the classroom I will be working with the students and forming a 'reading club.' The work we cover will include the traditional stories and books we use to teach students English, but it will also include higher level stories that have structurally and grammatically been broken down to a reading level that they can understand. I will then discuss with them which they prefer."
Senior Anjel Helms, a dual major in biology and biochemistry and a minor in German, will be conducting a research project titled, "Effect of Plant Water Stress on Resin Terpene Composition in Norway Spruce (Picea abies)" at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jaka, Germany.
"I'm going to be looking at the effect of water stress on terpene production in conifer plants," Helms explains. "Pine trees produce sap and that's their major defense mechanism against bugs and infections. In the face of climate change, one thing that we're seeing a lot of is forest die back. Entire strains of trees are dying."
The Fulbright program, America's flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The program operates in over 150 countries worldwide.
Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.
For more information on graduate fellowships, visit the Seaver College Graduate Fellowships Web site.