Students, Alumni to Impact the World as Fulbright Scholars

Scholars will study, teach, and conduct research in eight different countries.

Medical School (May 29, 2013) — Nine University of Miami students and alumni have been selected to receive Fulbright awards to study, teach, and conduct research in eight different countries for the 2013-2014 academic year, continuing UM’s upward trend in student Fulbright grant recipients.

Of the nine awardees, eight have accepted the grant: Gary Bonnewell, Natalie Cain, Wendy Castillo, Shersil Prentice, Megan Roy, Juan Pablo Ruiz, and Cheryl Walker are among the approximately 1,700 U.S. citizens who will travel overseas as part of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Marie Hanewinckel will spend this summer in Wales as a Fulbright Summer Institute participant.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Gary “David” Bonnewell (B.S. ’13, Applied Physics and German) has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) grant to instruct students in Germany in English language and U.S. culture. Bonnewell has several years of experience as a tutor, mentor, and camp counselor and has developed a strong love of the German language and culture as a German Studies major at UM. He is considering a career as an educator after his Fulbright teaching experience.

Natalie Cain (B.A. ’13, International Studies) has been awarded a Fulbright Study Grant to research the occurrence of the Triatomine insect, which causes Chagas disease, as it correlates to seasonal changes in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Founder and president of the UM Chapter of United Against Infectious Diseases, Cain has participated in health-related volunteering and study programs throughout Latin America and is fluent in Spanish. She plans to enroll in a dual degree M.D./M.P.H. program upon returning to the U.S.

Wendy Castillo (M.S.Ed. ’13, Education and Social Change) plans to use the skills she has gained as a Teach for America corps member to teach English language and U.S. culture to Mexican students on a Fulbright ETA grant. She will enrich her classroom in Mexico by sharing dance moves from her hip-hop dancing background and incorporating dance into her pedagogy. Castillo plans to enroll in a doctoral program in education policy after the Fulbright grant year.

Marie Hanewinckel (B.A. Candidate 2015, International Studies and Political Science) will travel to the United Kingdom to participate in the 2013 Fulbright Summer Institute in Wales. Foote Fellow and head delegate of the UM Model United Nations Team, Hanewinckel is the first UM recipient of this unique undergraduate US-UK Fulbright award, which provides a six-week cultural and academic program held at three internationally renowned Welsh universities—Cardiff University, Bangor University, and Aberystwyth University—and focuses on the theme of “Contemporary Wales: Industry, Politics, Culture and Change.”

Shersil Prentice (B.A. ’13, Political Science) will teach English language and lead other school-related activities on a Fulbright ETA grant in Malaysia. A 2011 Benjamin A. Gilman Scholar, she has served as a tutor for all types of students—from kindergartners to undergraduates—and holds minors in education and business administration. Upon returning to the U.S., Prentice plans to teach at the elementary or secondary level for a few years before pursuing a Ph.D. in Education Policy with a Master of Public Policy.

Megan Roy (B.M. ’13, Music Education) will teach English language and U.S. Culture to university students on a Fulbright ETA grant in Poland. A member of the Iron Arrow Society and an accomplished trombonist and jazz vocalist in her own right, Roy plans to incorporate in the classroom her love for jazz and helping others express themselves. After her Fulbright year, Roy will attend William Paterson University to pursue a Master’s of Music in Jazz Studies and Performance.

Juan Pablo Ruiz (B.S. ’13, Biomedical Engineering and English) has been awarded a Fulbright Study Grant to conduct research at the Tsetse and Trypanosome Research Institute in Tanzania on species diversity of trypanosomes in wildlife populations in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and their role in African Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness). A 2012 Goldwater Scholar, Ruiz has published journal articles related to his research on stem cells. He spent a summer in Tanzania repairing medical equipment at a government hospital as part of the Engineering World Health program. Upon returning from Tanzania, he will study biomedical sciences at Oxford University with the support of a Gilliam Fellowship and NIH/Oxford-Cambridge Scholarship.
Cheryl Walker (B.A. ’12, Music) has been awarded a Fulbright ETA grant to teach English language and U.S. culture to students in Germany. She will draw on her love of teaching and German culture to create a meaningful educational experience for her students, as well as conduct research for a family biography she plans to write. Her professional goal is to teach literature of modern German authors in U.S. high schools.

Monika Freiser, a third-year medical student in the Honors Program in Medicine, has been selected as an alternate for a Fulbright grant to Sweden.
The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide. Many Fulbright alumni go on to earn the top honors in their fields, including the Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize.

The UM campus deadline for 2014-2015 U.S. student Fulbright applicants is August 12. Click here for details.

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