Emory Report
April 16, 2007
Volume 59, Number 27

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April 16, 2007
Emory Fulbright Scholars represent many disciplines

by Beverly Clark

Seven Emory students so far have been selected to receive Fulbright Scholarships for study and work abroad: Nathan Meeks, a business and Spanish major; Charles Harrison, a comparative literature and Spanish major; Whitney Hostetter, an international studies and German major; Stephanie Malak, a Spanish and international studies major; Ryan Plocher, an English and German studies major; Michael DeJonge, a graduate student in religion; and Josh Plotnik, a graduate student in psychology.

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide.

Established in 1946 by the U.S. Congress, nearly 6,000 Fulbright grants were awarded in 2006 to U.S. students, teachers, professionals and scholars to study, teach, lecture and conduct research in more than 150 countries, and to their foreign counterparts to engage in similar activities in the United States.

Meeks has been awarded a bi-national business grant to Mexico, a program which allows fellows to gain work experience in a Mexican corporation and simultaneously complete a master’s program. Meeks, a senior from Houston, Texas, is the second Emory student to receive this special Fulbright grant, and will defer a job with Goldman Sachs to accept this fellowship.

Harrison received a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Spain. He has tutored Emory students in Spanish, and also helped Spanish-speakers learn English. He has studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain, and Brazil, and is fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese. Harrison, who is from Aiken, S.C., plans to introduce English-language extracurricular activities for students in the school where he teaches.

Hostetter was awarded a Fulbright Teaching Assistant Fellowship to Germany for 2008–09. She has studied abroad in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and volunteered as an English tutor to local refugee families. After her Fulbright year, Hostetter, who is from Decatur, Ga., plans to participate in the Peace Corps, then seek a graduate degree in international studies, with an emphasis on the study of human rights.

Malak also has been awarded a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Spain. Malak, of Racine, Wisc., has had experience tutoring Emory students in Spanish and Spanish-speakers in English. She studied abroad in Spain and in Switzerland and eventually hopes to study as a graduate student in Spain and teach in a Spanish university.

Plocher, from Duluth, Ga., was selected to be an English teaching assistant in Germany, where he will combine his talents in English and German. While in Germany, Plocher hopes to continue his study of literature, focusing on German authors such as Alfred Döblin and Hermann Hesse. During his time at Emory, he has served as writing and English tutor, and worked at the Emory Wheel as a writer and editor.
Plotnik is a third-year graduate student in the Neuroscience and Animal Behavior Program in psychology. His master’s thesis showed that elephants can recognize themselves in the mirror. This self-recognition ability had never before been demonstrated in non-primates, and his research recently gained worldwide news coverage. Plotnik received a Fulbright grant to conduct dissertation research on Asian elephant behavior and cognition in Thailand.

DeJonge holds a Master’s of Divinity from the Western Theological Seminary and is a fourth-year graduate student in religion. He received a Fulbright grant to study the early work of the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer at the Freie Universtat in Berlin. Bonhoeffer was an influential Protestant theologian who emphasized the importance of living religious commitments, and was executed for his role in an attempt to assassinate Hitler. DeJonge’s project seeks to understand the intellectual and cultural context within which Bonhoeffer’s theology developed.