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CC Has a Record Seven Fulbright Semifinalists

Semi-finalists Include Seniors David Andrews ’18, Jared Russell ’18, and Susie Simmons ’18

Colorado College has seven Fulbright semifinalists this year, topping last year’s five semifinalists, which at the time was believed to be a school record. This year Colorado College has five English Teaching Assistant semifinalists, one Study/Research Grant semifinalist, and one National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship semifinalist.

Making it to the semifinalist round is a significant accomplishment in the Fulbright competition, and means that the applications have been forwarded by the Fulbright National Screening Committee to the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in the host country for final review. Finalists will be notified later this spring, with the timing of notifications varying by country.

Colorado College’s 2018 Fulbright semifinalists are:

  • David Andrews ’18, English Teaching Assistant, Uruguay. Andrews is a creative writing major who tutors in CC’s Writing Center and has previously taught English to elementary and middle school students in Chile.  He has received grants to translate works by poet Nicanor Parra as well as write his own poetry. As an ETA in Uruguay Andrews hope to use poetry writing groups and workshops to build community in and outside the school.  He plans to put to use the Spanish language and cross-cultural education skills he gains as an ETA in Uruguay in his future career as an educator in his home state of Colorado, focusing on “an education-based solution to Colorado’s urban-rural divide.”
  • Amanda Cahn ’17, English Teaching Assistant, Indonesia. A two-time Fulbright semifinalist, Cahn currently is in Chile, teaching English to schoolchildren and Spanish to immigrants from Haiti.  Her long-term goal is to work toward reducing inequality and improving international relationships through an organization such as the United Nations Development Program. Should she receive the Fulbright, Cahn hopes to gain “insights into gender roles, cultural traditions, and changing ideas” in Indonesian society, giving her “perspectives that would be relevant to a future career in foreign affairs.”
  • Soren Frykholm ’16, English Teaching Assistant, Brazil. CC men’s soccer team captain and 2016-2017 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Man of the Year, Frykholm has taught English as a GED tutor in the U.S. and as a volunteer instructor in Brazil.  Frykholm also plans to draw on his experiences in learning three languages himself (Portuguese, Spanish, and Latin) to create “a fun, conversation-driven learning environment” that will “instill confidence in my students and a willingness to take risks as they become comfortable communicating in English.” Recipient of two prestigious postgraduate scholarships from the NCAA, which will defer should he receive the Fulbright, Frykholm sees a future for himself in education: “Be it language instructor, soccer coach, or public school teacher, I see this type of role as a means of shaping the future.”
  • Jin Mei McMahon ’17, National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship. McMahon designed a two-country project titled “A Transational Diaspora: Stories of International Adoption,” a project falls under the National Geographic theme of the human journey in considering that “international adoption is a form of migration that constitutes changes in geography, identity, and lifestyle.” McMahon proposes to “take the overarching narrative of an adoptee’s migration and break it down to reveal these aspects: the policies that control adoption, why one adoptee chooses to embrace their heritage and one doesn’t, and the reasons families adopt or give up their children” by sharing, through photo essays and articles, the experiences of South Korean birth parents, Swedish adoptive parents, and adoptees.  At the conclusion of the fellowship, she would work to expand this project to China, Ethiopia, and the United States. This is a highly competitive special program; last year 233 applicants vied for only five awards.
  • Ashley Merscher ’08, English Teaching Assistant, Slovak Republic. Merscher has been teaching English abroad since 2015, first in Hungary and currently in Spain, which she says has changed her life’s trajectory to one focused on education.  As an ETA in the Slovak Republic, Merscher hopes “to offer the tool of language to recovering communities in Central/Eastern Europe,” noting that “English, as a common international language, can facilitate tolerance, connection, empathy, and open up a (literal) world of opportunities.”  Should she receive the Fulbright grant, Merscher plans to lead projects in environmental education, both in the Slovak Republic and once she returns to the United States. 
  • Jared Russell ’18, Anne Wexler Master’s Award in Public Policy, Australia. Russell hopes to use this graduate study award to sit for a Master’s of Public Policy at the University of Melbourne, where he would examine “the relationship between climate change and the current U.N. definition of refugee status” in order “to engage with policy work in the south Pacific region . . . to implement policies to address the emergence of climate change refugees.” This builds on his previous volunteer work in immigration law and victim advocacy, his studies last summer in Denmark as a Humanity in Action Fellow, and his PIFP position researching health care policy for the Colorado Department of Health.  After his Fulbright year, Russell, a current Writing Center tutor and double major in political science and philosophy, plans to attend law school and specialize in international human rights.
  • Susie Simmons ’18, English Teaching Assistant, Panama. Simmons taught reading last summer as part of Generation Teach, where she experienced the positive impact of “meaningful relationships [between teachers and students] that engage, encourage, and excite students to learn.”  As an ETA, Simmons says she would like to couple structured classroom activities with opportunity for joy in order to foster student confidence.  To further engage with the local community in Panama, Simmons hopes to learn applique techniques and needlework from Panamanian mola artists in order to explore their arts’ societal significance and its meaning in their individual lives. These experiences in and out of the ETA classroom would help prepare her to “become a culturally and linguistically competent ESL teacher” after her Fulbright year, she says.

Of CC’s five Fulbright semifinalists last year, two went on to become Fulbright finalists: Teddy Corwin ’17, a mathematics and economics major and German minor, who received a Fulbright to Germany, and Sidharth Tripathi ’17, who received the Erasmus Mundus scholarship award and a Fulbright to the Czech Republic. Also named as 2017 Fulbright semifinalists were Thomas Roberts ’17, Madelene Travis ’17, and Cahn, who is a semifinalist again this year.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.

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