Fulbright Scholarship Tradition Continues

Two more Dyson alumnae have joined the ranks of Pace graduates who have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships.

In the last eight years, Pace University has had 29 Fulbright award winners; 17 from Dyson, 8 from Lubin, 2 from Law, one from Education, and one from Lienhard. Twelve have spent their year in Asia, 11 in Europe, two in Africa, two in South America, and two in North America.

This year, three more Pace graduates, including two from Dyson, have joined them. While all three of this year’s scholars are teaching or conducting research in Asia, their projects are as varied as their backgrounds. Amanda Ferrandino, ’09, Grace Jung, ’09, and Maria Litsakis, ’09 share a passion for learning and a social awareness that will help them continue to achieve greatness across the Atlantic.

  Amanda Ferrandino
    Amanda Ferrandino

Trafficking Victims in Bangladesh
Amanda Ferrandino, a Pforzheimer Honors College student who graduated with a double major in Sociology/Anthropology and Women’s and Gender Studies, is working on a project in Bangladesh entitled “The Effects of Grassroots Programs on Women Victims of Trafficking.”

Ferrandino travelled extensively in college, teaching a summer in Peru, spending a Semester at Sea studying sustainability and social change, and studying a semester in Kolkata, India where she worked in a shelter for abused girls.

Her semester in India opened her eyes to the dark world of human trafficking. “From the women I worked with, I created these wonderful sisterhoods,” Ferrandino said. “Once I got back [to the U.S.] I felt like I had to go back and do something else.” Under the guidance of her adviser, Ferrandino applied for a grant to research the agency and independence of women after the traumas of sex trafficking and the roles that NGOs play in Bangladesh. Additionally, she received a language grant that will allow her to depart for Bangladesh two months earlier to study Bengali, the local dialect.

Her Fulbright work builds on her academic interests, her community service work in West Bengal, her HIV advocacy at Pace with Keep a Child Alive and her work as a research assistant at NY Immigration Coalition. 

She is working through the Developmental Studies Department of Dhaka University to interview women in the shelters and to examine the agencies which assist them in order to identify “best practices” for reintegrating such women into society. She is working in a training center for women who want to leave prostitution as well as helping direct a drama with trafficking victims to create awareness in the community about the issues of trafficking.

After four months in Bangladesh, she reports, “Being with my new ‘sisters’ on the ground is the best learning experience I can have as a young women’s rights activist. It’s also the best inspiration to see their faces glow with love as you walk in the door.”

On her return to the United States in 2010, she will look into graduate schools in either social psychology or public health while she spends some time working with a women’s rights organization. If you are interested in learning more, please email Amanda (amanda.ferrandino@gmail.com) or visit her Web site: http://amandasfulbright.blogspot.com.

  Grace  Jung
    Grace Jung

Korean Literature and Culture
Grace Jung, an English major, developed a strong interest in Korea after a series of literature classes where she found herself “reaching into my short but rich memories as a young child in Busan.” Her project is entitled “Cacophony of Voices’: Modern Korean Literature under Japanese Colonization, 1910-45.”

“There are so many Korean-Americans who live in the U.S., and a lot of their family members (as well as some of my own) either experienced symptoms of—or lived through—colonization, and continue to live with traces of pain and bitterness towards Japan in general because of the history,” Jung said. “I chose literature because it’s the field I studied and [it’s] where we look to find the voices of history.”

Jung entered Pace in fall 2006, as a transfer student from Hunter College, and graduated with an English major and a Philosophy minor. She was born in Busan, South Korea in 1987, and immigrated to the U.S. (to Brooklyn) in 1992. Her family relocated twice, first to New Jersey to a Korean neighborhood, and then to Orangeburg, New York, where the culture shock and difficulties were great. She started college at Hunter in 2005 (the same year she became a naturalized citizen), felt aimless there, transferred to Pace for its business major in 2006 but discovered a voice in English writing classes here, particularly in memoir writing with Distinguished Professor Karla Jay, PhD and personal essay writing with Professor Mark Hussey, PhD. She was further encouraged by Poet-in-Residence Charles North, PhD. Her research project will continue the work she has done as an English major--discovering Korea through its literature--by focusing on early 20th Century literature as it was influenced both by modernism and by the Japanese occupation. She will be mentored by Professor John Frankl at Yonsei University, where she will take courses and do research in Yonsei’s significant archival and library materials.

“I firmly believe that identifying oneself to an origin comes with the responsibility of knowing and understanding that place,” said Jung. “This is an opportunity for me to do that through both scholarship and delving into the cultural life for 10 months. I’d like to get to know Korea during this research period and through it, I’d like to get to know me a little bit better, too.”

Empowering Students with Language
Maria Litsakis entered Pace as a graduate student in Education, in the Teach for America program, in Fall 2007, and graduated with an MST. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in Sociology (minors in English, Legal Studies, and History) from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007. She is a first generation Greek American, who grew up in Queens and attending Bronx Science High School. At U Penn, she read Greek comedies and tragedies, but majored in Sociology due to her fascination with the diverse populations of Philadelphia. Specifically, she worked with the Muslim African American community in West Philadelphia, participated in an afterschool program for America Reads, and at the same time led the Penn Hellenic Student Association. She was one of 4 Penn seniors to receive a Penn Keys and Pels Loan forgiveness award for outstanding scholarship, leadership, and service. She returned to NY to give back to the public school system here through Teach for America, and additionally has participated in Drug Alternative to Prison program here. She is going to Taiwan for a year to be an English Teaching Assistant, to bring those students her experience as educator, cultural researcher, and second language learner. She intends, on her return to the US, to focus on promoting social justice through educational opportunities for minority adolescents.

 “As a Teach for America Corps member, I have had the opportunity to teach mathematics at a dual-language middle school composed of primarily Hispanic English language learners,” she said. “Over the past two years, I have become fascinated with the language acquisition process.” Litsakis chose Taiwan because of the government’s “innovative educational vision” and its emphasis on literacy and empowering students with a working knowledge of the English language.

For help applying for a Fulbright Scholarship, contact Fulbright Advisor William Offutt, PhD.