Four Kenyon seniors win Fulbright Fellowships for study and teaching abroad

With the exhilaration of Commencement behind them, four members of the Class of 2003, Kristina Cushing, Sharon Lipovsky, Sarah McGavran, and Natalie Roote, will embark on a new adventure as they take up Fulbright Fellowships for the 2003-04 academic year.

Cushing, a native of Holliston, Massachusetts, will be spending her Fulbright year in Austria working as a language assistant in a secondary school. A history and German double major, she has been studying German language and culture since her first year at Kenyon. For her senior history exercise at Kenyon, Cushing researched the role of cultural imperialism in fostering democracy in Austria, securing its place on the safe side of the Iron Curtain from 1945-55. While in Austria, she would like to examine the Soviet counterparts to the Western documents she examined while writing her thesis.

Lipovsky, whose family currently lives in Metairie, Louisiana, will be teaching in a German school during her Fulbright year. Lipovsky majored in English and German, beginning her study of German as a first-year student. She spent her junior year in Berlin, Germany. "I did a two-month internship in a sixth-grade class for disabled and emotionally disturbed boys," she says. "I figure if I could handle that experience, this upcoming teaching experience should be a breeze."

Lipovsky is interested in autobiography, especially how people construct themselves within that genre in contrast to how they construct themselves socially. "It is about self versus identity," she says. "We expect a kind of truth when we read autobiography, but that truth is altered by what is included or what is deliberately left out or the way in which events are remembered."

Like Lipovsky, McGavran will be assigned to a school somewhere in Germany. An art history major, she has been studying German since she was in high school. "Both my grandmother and mother are native speakers so I've had a lot of great help," she notes. McGavran hopes to be assigned to a large city so that she can pursue her interest in contemporary German art and modern German history. McGavran is considering graduate programs to train for museum education when she returns from her experience abroad.

Roote is Kenyon's only winner of a Fulbright Research Fellowship this year. An art-history major with a concentration in Asian studies, she developed an interest in digital imaging and video art in a class taught by Professor of Art Claudia Esslinger. Roote began studying Chinese language and culture that same year and attended the ACC summer program in Beijing, China, for intensive language study.

Studying at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Roote plans to focus on the work of video artists Song Dong and Qui Zhijie, with whom she has communicated with the help of Associate Professor of Chinese Jianhua Bai and teaching assistant Haiyan Cui. Roote is interested in establishing a forum to discuss Chinese video art in the United States when she returns.

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 at the end of World War II to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of people, knowledge, and skills. Grants are made for university teaching, advanced research, graduate study, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools.

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