Barnard is no stranger to the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, which has recognized the achievements of the College’s students and alumnae for seven decades.
This year, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs highlighted Barnard as a “Fulbright Top Producing Institution for U.S. Students” for the sixth year in a row. The program awarded grants to 14 of the College’s students and alumnae to support their work and professional development in 10 host countries. In addition, five alumnae were chosen as Fulbright alternates.
The College has become a successful producer of Fulbright Scholars thanks to Beyond Barnard, a comprehensive office that supports students and alumnae as they pursue new career paths as well as fellowship opportunities.
“What’s especially exciting to me about the record number of recipients is that it will almost certainly encourage even more students and graduates to apply,” said A-J Aronstein, assistant vice president and senior advisor to the Provost.
This year’s cohort makes history as Barnard’s highest number of recipients ever recorded — surpassing the 11 from last year. Read below to learn how the 2023 Fulbright Fellows intend to spend their time abroad.
Asma Ali ’24 | India
Asma Ali, a biology major with a minor in astronomy, was offered an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in Taiwan. Although she declined the grant because of scheduling conflicts, Ali is hopeful to spend time abroad in the future with groups such as Doctors Without Borders to engage in humanitarian efforts.
Cassandra Bartels ’23 | Germany
Cassandra Bartels graduated this spring with a major in environmental science and minors in chemistry and architecture. As a Fulbright fellow, she will work at the University of Kiel on a project entitled “Constraining the Southern Ocean’s Role in Carbon Cycling during the Last Deglaciation.” The project will use a novel technique — a mini carbon dating system (MICADAS) to make small radiocarbon measurements. Her senior thesis focused on carbon sequestration in the Pacific Ocean, and Bartels’ fellowship project will provide her with an opportunity to continue exploring marine carbon cycles.
“I am incredibly excited to become familiar with the novel MICADAS method, which is a brand-new mass spectrometer that is on the cutting edge of technology,” said Bartels. “I am also very excited to learn new perspectives and approaches from scientists at the University of Kiel while immers[ing] myself in German language and culture.”
Rachel Bernstein ’19 | Taiwan
Rachel Bernstein majored in Asian and Middle East Cultures with a focus on East Asian Studies and a minor in political science. Since graduating in 2019, she has been working at the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) in Washington, D.C., as a senior project manager. While in Taiwan, she will take classes to complete her master's degree in Mandarin, write a thesis, and conduct research on the China-Taiwan-U.S. triangular relationship.
“I am excited to move to Taiwan for two years and look forward to immersing myself into Taiwan’s local life through my studies, along with other opportunities [at] the National Chengchi University (NCCU) campus,” she said.
Arianna Carriel ’23 | Ecuador
Arianna Carriel graduated this spring with a major in education. As a first-generation, low-income student, she worked with Barnard’s Opportunity Programs to uplift students who experience economic and academic disadvantages. Carriel will serve as an ETA in Ecuador — her family’s native country — which will enrich her experience in bilingual education.
“I am excited to explore Ecuadorian culture, connect with my identity, and see the places my family grew up,” said Carriel. “I am looking forward to improving my Spanish communication skills and immersing myself in a new country.”
Elle Ferguson ’23 | Spain
Elle Ferguson, who majored in American studies with a concentration in race and ethnicity, is also on track to become a licensed New York State teacher through Barnard’s urban education minor. In 2020, her gap year, Ferguson worked at a school in Boston that mainly enrolled immigrants and refugees. She hopes to evolve as an educator working with the Spanish community’s immigrant and refugee population during her time as an ETA in Galicia. She looks forward to garnering the skills equipped to teach English language learners.
“I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was in middle school, and I’ve spent all four years of college preparing to get my license. Every teaching experience I’ve had has been really rewarding, and I can’t wait to experience it all abroad,” said Ferguson.
Olympia Francis-Taylor ’23 | Germany
Olypmia Francis-Taylor, a history major who minored in religion, was selected to serve as an ETA at an elementary school in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. However, Francis-Taylor is deciding between a fellowship in Germany or pursuing religion and theological graduate studies at Harvard Divinity School.
“To be able to weigh these two opportunities is a phenomenal privilege, and I am so thankful for the Barnard community’s support,” said Francis-Taylor.
Eden Halpert ’23 | Vietnam
Upcoming graduate Eden Halpert majored in environmental science and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies on the East Asia track. She is interested in geochemistry and its intersection with the environment, public health, and social issues through the lens of agriculture. For her Fulbright assignment, Halpert will work with professor of geotechnical engineering Minh Nguyen and his team at the Hanoi University of Science (HUS) in Hanoi. Halpert will conduct research for her project “Effect of Regional Differences on Arsenic Uptake in Rice.” Her work focuses on tracing the link between arsenic concentration in rice and major public health issues linked to chronic and terminal diseases.
During the 10 months of her fellowship, Halpert will collaborate with scientists and local farmers to grow rice, monitor harvests, and collect samples from rice crops. “I am excited for the opportunity to represent the United States [as I] learn different methodologies and perspectives, exchange ideas, and immerse myself in Vietnamese culture,” said Halpert.
Natalie Harder ’23 | Panama
Natalie Harder will graduate this spring after majoring in American studies and human rights with a concentration in gender and sexuality. As a Fulbright fellow in Panama, Harder will expand her research project “Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Panama.” In affiliation with Coalición Internacional de Mujeres y Familias (CIMUF) and its coalition partners, Harder’s study will include interviews with experts and queer Panamanians.
“As a queer student at Barnard, I have been really grateful to be surrounded by and learn from a robust queer community,” said Harder. “I look forward to continuing to learn and build relationships with queer people outside of Barnard, especially in a country where queerness is not as celebrated — nor a safe identity to hold.”
Khadija Hussain ’21 | Sweden
Khadija Hussain majored in history, with a focus on the 20th century. She is passionate about housing justice and advocates for tenant rights with community organizers through the Right to Counsel New York City Coalition. During her fellowship, Hussain will complete a master’s degree in human geography at Lund University in Sweden. As part of the graduate program, she will conduct research on Sweden’s rent control system and the history of tenant unionism.
“I am excited to explore how the existence of a strong and militant tenant movement enables greater working-class control over their housing and communities,” said Hussain.
Morgan Lawrence ’23 | Brazil
Morgan Lawrence majored in medical anthropology on the pre-med track. Her research project “Harm, Reproduced: Iatrogenesis Before and Beyond Maternity” builds on the theory of obstetric racism, a phrase coined by Dàna-Ain Davis, to explore the relationship between reproductive and medical racism — as well as its effects on patients before, during, and after pregnancy. Lawrence is interested to learn how race, gender, and other socioeconomic factors result in the physical harm of Black Brazilians. The Fulbright grant will support her research, along with living and travel expenses, as she visits various hospitals around the Brazil region.
“I am excited to strengthen my Portuguese, meet new people, and hopefully go to the Rio Carnival,” said Lawrence.
Seyi Olojo ’18 | Germany
Seyi Olojo majored in environmental science with a focus on environmental policy. As a current Ph.D. student in information science at the University of California, Berkeley, her research inspects the ethics and political economy of data-driven recommendations individuals encounter across social media platforms. Olojo’s Fulbright fellowship will support her ethnographic study on the data collection practices of a Berlin-based environmental advocacy group. Outside of her research, she is looking forward to exploring the city’s vibrant art scene.
James Perry ’23 | France
James Perry majored in history with a minor in French, which helped him nurture an interest in both the culture and language of France. As an ETA at the Lycée Colbert in Lyon, Perry will teach English to high school students. He looks forward to seeing an improvement in his French speaking and English teaching skills.
“I’m incredibly excited to savor everything that living abroad has to offer,” said Perry. “I can’t wait to engage in the community that will be around me.”
Joelle Santiago ’20 | France
Joelle Santiago graduated from Barnard with a degree in dance. She is a dance artist, choreographer, and filmmaker. Santiago was awarded the Fulbright Harriet Hale-Woolley Artist Award, which will allow her to create choreographic and film work in France. This fall, Santiago will move to Paris to direct a film with a group of dance artists who have Parkinson’s disease. As a fellow, she is excited to continue to explore the intersections between contemporary art, movement, and disability.
Nami Weatherby ’23 | Taiwan
Recent graduate Nami Weatherby majored in sociology and music with a focus on ethnomusicology. During her time at Barnard, she developed a multimodal sound installation, They Never Told Us These Things, through the Projects for Peace grant. Weatherby’s work investigates how various communities are interconnected by nuclearization.
As a Fulbright ETA, she will teach English to students in Taiwan. “I am excited to explore diverse facets of self-expression with my students and to share my love of language learning,” said Weatherby.
Barnard’s Fulbright alternates:
Annelise Finney ’15 | Colombia
Kelsey Kitzke ’23 | Laos
Jazmin Maço ’21 | Jamaica
Parker Parrella ’23 | Luxembourg
Margaret Tilley ’23 | United Kingdom