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  September 10, 2001

This Year's Crop of Student Fulbright
Awards a Record for UConn

Nine UConn students - a record number - have received offers of Fulbright grants to study abroad or do research overseas this year. Eight of those students have accepted the grants.

"We are very proud of the excellent showing of our students in obtaining so many Fulbright awards this year," says Ross D. MacKinnon, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "This performance attests not only to their academic quality, but their awareness of the advantages of doing research in other countries.

"Whether they are concerned with plants and animals or human culture and society, there is no substitute for first-hand experience in the field. I commend these students and their departments and mentors for their achievements, their ambition, and their sense of adventure."

For Mal Bochner, who recently retired after 20 years as Fulbright Program advisor in the Office of International Affairs, this year's crop of Fulbrights sounded a positive note. "This is the best Fulbright year we've ever had for students," he says.

Bochner is being replaced by Elizabeth Mahan, who also serves as director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

The students are:

Martha Kolinsky Bojko, a Ph.D. student in medical anthropology, will travel to Uzhhorod, Ukraine, where she will assess the sexual mores of young women in the context of the changing political, social and economic realities of Ukrainian society. Bojko was awarded two Fulbrights, in addition to an IREX (International Research and Exchanges Board) grant. She declined a Fulbright-Hays award in favor of a Fulbright award from the Institute of International Education and the IREX award. She says she hopes her work will help in the development of women's social and health policies.

Bojko will be affiliated with the Institute for Public Administration and Regional Development at Uzhhorod State University and the Transcarpathian Regional Center of Social, Economic and Humanitarian Research of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. She plans a career in medical anthropology.

Kira Bulazel, who is working on a Ph.D. in genetics, will leave in January for a one-year stay in Australia to conduct research on wallaby genetics. She will spend the year working with experts in marsupial genetics at Macquarie University in Sydney and the Australian National University in Canberra. The focus of Bulazel's research is the identification of genetic components responsible for chromosomal restructuring in interspecies hybrids. She plans a career as a scientist.

Michael E. Donoghue, a Ph.D. student in history, will go to Panama to study U.S.-Panamanian cultural relations from 1945 to 1978. He will be working with the history department of the University of Panama in Panama City. Donoghue, whose major area of focus is the history of U.S. foreign relations, hopes to pursue an academic career.

Megan Fencil, an honors student who received a bachelor's degree in biology in May, will head to Croatia. There, she will study populations of young fishes in the Adriatic Sea before the area becomes more developed. She will be affiliated with the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split, Croatia. Fencil plans to pursue graduate studies in biological oceanography.

Mike Gavin, a Ph.D. student in ecology and evolutionary biology, will travel to Peru to do research on deforestation. Gavin will analyze how deforestation patterns influence the importance of the remaining forests in Peru. The region he will study - a small community on a tributary of the Amazon - has possibly the highest diversity of tree species in the world. Gavin's future plans include working with international organizations on tropical conservation and development. He will work with the Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana based in Iquitos.

Beth Selig, an honors student who graduated in May, was awarded a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Germany. Selig, who earned bachelors' degrees in German literature and international business management, will teach in a high school in Halle, Germany. There, she hopes to learn more about German culture and the educational system first-hand. Selig plans to pursue graduate studies in German literature.

Susan Solomon, an honors student and University Scholar who graduated in May, will also travel to Germany. There, she will examine the role of mothers in German literature of the First World War. She will study pacifist and national writings, focusing on novels written by or for women in Germany.

Solomon, who majored in German and English and minored in women's studies, will conduct her research at Humboldt University in Berlin. She plans to attend graduate school.

Michael Wall, a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology, will travel to Sydney, Australia, for a year of study at the Australian Museum - the equivalent of that nation's Smithsonian - to examine patterns of extinction in Australian insects. He hopes to develop models that predict the impact of human development on insect communities. Wall plans a career in academia.

Roland de Gouvenain, a Ph.D. student in ecology, declined a Fulbright award but accepted a National Science Foundation grant to do research on rain forest dynamics in Madagascar. He will examine forest dynamics, with an emphasis on how forests regenerate. He will be affiliated with the University of Antananarivo.

De Gouvenain's future plans include working with a U.S.-based or international organization involving forest research and conservation in developing countries, preferably Africa.

Sherry Fisher

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