Six members of the College of the Holy Cross Class of 2016 and one member of the Class of 2014 have been awarded Fulbright grants to teach and conduct research around the world during the 2016-17 academic year. Since 2005, Holy Cross has received a total of 79 Fulbrights, and has consistently been among the nation’s top producers of Fulbright students at the undergraduate level.
This year’s recipients are headed to Vietnam, Kenya, Germany, Taiwan, Spain, Greece, and Croatia.
The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is widely recognized as the most prestigious international exchange program in the world. The highly competitive grants are awarded on the basis of academic merit and professional promise.
Each year approximately 1,900 U.S. college students are awarded grants through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship program in international educational exchange, awards grants to U.S. citizens and nationals of other countries for a variety of educational activities, primarily university lecturing, advanced research, graduate study and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. Since the program’s inception in 1946, more than 360,000 participants — selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential — have had the opportunity to observe each other’s political, economic and cultural institutions. The program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.
This year’s recipients are:
Meghan Taing ’16 – Vietnam
Meghan Taing ’16, of Pelham, N.H., has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Vietnam where she will teach English to gifted high schoolers in Quy Nhon, the capital of the Binh Dinh province. Taing, who will be returning to Vietnam after studying in Saigon in the spring of 2015, is an international studies major with an Asian Studies minor and a peace and conflict studies concentration.
Following her Fulbright, she hopes to work at a developmental NGO to promote equal access to education around the world, a passion that grew during her time in Vietnam. “I’m deeply interested in issues concerning race, gender, and immigration, as well as education, especially for groups with special needs,” says Taing. “My parents are both refugees of the Khmer Rouge Genocide, so social justice issues and humanitarianism resonate deeply with me.”
On campus, Taing served as the director of Social Justice Concerns for the Student Government Association, was a research assistant to Jennie Germann-Molz, associate professor of sociology, and a Multicultural Peer Educator.
Paige Tortorelli ’16 – Kenya
Paige Tortorelli ’16, of New Fairfield, Conn., has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Kenya. In addition to teaching English in Kenya, Tortorelli hopes to work with Kidogo, an organization which focuses on improving early childhood education. She also plans to create a blog through which to report on the country’s ongoing issues, as well as her own personal experiences; it will also support her long-term goal of pursuing a career in international journalism.
“I hope to use my writing to represent the unheard voices in countries like Kenya,” says Tortorelli, an English major. “Since I am passionate about creating better educational opportunities around the world, I hope my experiences in Kenya will provide a foundation that will give me insight into how to best formulate my reports so that they might improve the current systems in place throughout these countries.”
During her undergraduate career, Tortorelli served as the opinions editor for The Crusader, a SPUD program director for Girl’s C.H.O.I.C.E., and a staff writer for The Oxford Student while abroad at Mansfield College, Oxford University. She taught courses for the Holy Cross Passport Program during the summers of 2013–2015, and worked as a Writing Consultant and a Writing Fellow for the Writers Workshop.
Joseph Dudley ’16 – Germany
Joseph Dudley ’16, of Canton, Mass., has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Germany. In addition to teaching English to German high school students, Dudley hopes to start an “American Culture” group for the students where they can experience American music, poetry, movies, etc., in a more casual atmosphere. Dudley, who majored in English and German, will be returning to Germany after studying in Bamberg during the 2014-15 academic year.
After completing his Fulbright, Dudley wants to continue utilizing his German in some capacity and is considering graduate school in international relations or comparative literature.
At Holy Cross, Dudley was a member of the moot court team, a SPUD tutor at North High School, and served as co-president of the German club and vice-president/co-founder of the Holy Cross Union Society.
Lydia Grek ’16 – Taiwan
Lydia Grek ’16, of Auburn, Mass., has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Taiwan where she will be teaching English to middle and high school-aged students in Kaohsiung. After class, Grek plans to offer free music lessons to students who could not otherwise afford them, in order to create a lasting musical community. A Chinese major with an Asian Studies minor and peace and conflicts concentration, Grek will be returning to Asia after spending the 2014-15 academic year studying abroad in China.
After completing her Fulbright, Grek hopes to continue living in either Taiwan or China to attain fluency in Mandarin, attend graduate school, and work towards a better understanding of Sino-American relations by working for an international NGO or foreign services with the U.S. Department of State.
At Holy Cross, Grek served as a co-leader for the Study Abroad Ambassadors and a co-coordinator of the Peer Mentor Program.
Katrina Burns ’14 – Spain
Katrina Burns ’14, of Orlando, Fla., has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Spain where she will be working as an English language assistant in an elementary school in Logroño in the northern region of La Rioja. While in Spain, Burns also hopes to become involved with the Asociación Riojana Para Autismo (Riojan Association for Autism), a nonprofit that creates opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum, in an effort to continue to understand the way in which autism is seen and supported around the world.
Since graduating with a degree in English and Spanish, Burns has served as a Jesuit Volunteer in Cuidad Sandino, Nicaragua, and has worked as the administrator of a nonprofit in Central Florida that creates opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum.
After completing her Fulbright, Burns plans to pursue a graduate degree in the field of international relations, and hopes to eventually work for an international nonprofit or agency that focuses on bringing education to the underprivileged. “I think my main goal is to always be learning, to continue to let different cultures, languages and people crack my world open,” says Burns.
While at Holy Cross, Burns was involved in Alternate College Theatre, Best Buddies, SPUD, Bilingual Theatre, and was a member of the College and English Honors Programs.
Christopher Ryan ’16 – Greece
Christopher Ryan ’16, of Milton, Mass., will be heading to Athens as a Fulbright Teaching Fellow in Greece where he will be teaching English to Greek students at the Hellenic American Educational Foundation (HAEF). A classics major and member of the College Honors Program, Ryan returns to Greece after participating in a semester-long study abroad program in Athens, and looks forward to continuing to learn about the Greek people and culture. After completing his Fulbright, Ryan plans to either pursue a Ph.D. or continue teaching.
At Holy Cross, Ryan served as editor in chief of the Parnassus Classical Journal, was a SPUD ESL teacher at St. Bernard’s Parish in Worcester, an officer of the Manuscripts, Inscriptions, and Documents club, and a member of the Society of Saints Peter and Paul.
Alexander Simrell ’16 – Croatia
Alexander Simrell ’16, of Scranton, Pa., has been awarded a Fulbright Study Research Grant to Croatia. Simrell, a classics major in the Teacher Education Program, will be conducting research at the University of Zagreb where he will be working with a digital collection of Latin manuscripts by Croatian authors. After working on manuscripts through the Manuscripts, Inscriptions, and Documents (MID) club at Holy Cross for the past four years, Simrell will be applying technologies developed from the Holy Cross project to the Croatian neo-Latin corpus he will be studying during his Fulbright.
After completing his Fulbright, Simrell plans to become a Latin teacher through which he hopes to inspire more students to become involved in manuscript research.
On campus, Simrell served as the president of the MID, and was a member of the Society of Saints Peter and Paul, the College Choir, Chamber Singers, and Schola Cantorum.