Three students have been awarded Fulbright fellowships to do research around the world, and two alumnae have been awarded Fulbright awards to teach, one in Brazil and another in New Zealand.
Alyssa Kullberg ’18, an environmental science and Spanish double major from Lexington, Mass., won a Fulbright Open Study/Research Award, which will fund work in Ecuador for 10 months. Kullberg will be studying a group of rare magnolia species in the eastern cloud forests of the Andes. These magnolias, she said, were all discovered within the past decade and live in some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. As such, their habitat may indicate especially high biodiversity forest patches and can inform land conservation organizations in prioritizing land purchases.
Kullberg will be conducting most of her work in the magnolia-rich forest reserves of the EcoMinga Foundation, an Ecuadorian nonprofit organization that seeks to protect and research cloud forests, which are at a high risk of being converted to farmland.
“I’ll be researching the magnolias from both an ecological and a biological standpoint in exploration of biogeographical questions about these species and cloud forests in general,” she wrote in an email. “What are the distributions, population sizes, and population structures of these magnolia species? Do they effectively maintain speciation in sympatry? And how do they maintain speciation in sympatry? Are these magnolia species migrating uphill with climate change?”
In her first ecology course at Colby, professor Bill McDowell and laboratory instructor Abby Pearson inspired her to think about plants in the context of biogeography and land use history, Kullberg said. She followed that with Professor Russell Johnson’s Jan Plan course on plants of the tropics in Costa Rica, then combined those interests on a study-abroad program in Ecuador, working with magnolia trees during a month-long independent study project at the end of the semester.
Her future goal is to be a tropical plant ecologist. “I am incredibly grateful for my Colby education and for the opportunities Colby has given me to set me on this path toward living my wildest dreams,” Kullberg said.
Clare Murray ’18, an economics and Latin American studies double major from Peaks Island, Maine, will travel to Spain to learning how the introduction of private funding is affecting and changing the face of Spain’s art museums.
Murray, who has been extensively involved with the Colby College Museum of Art, said that since their inception Spain’s art museums have been government funded, government owned, and government run. “After the recent economic crisis, Spain’s art museums have begun to adopt more autonomy both in terms of leadership and funding,” Murray reported. While meeting with staff from museums across the country, she will be interested to hear and observe the effects of private funding on museum visitorship and programming.
The research builds upon the research Murray did as part of her senior honors thesis at Colby, which looks at the impact of restricted giving on museum education departments. “Bringing my interests in museum funding and impact abroad will be especially important as I develop an even deeper understanding of how art museums can continue to survive, thrive, and make meaningful impressions on us all.”
Nellie LaValle ’18, a government major and East Asian Studies minor from Bar Harbor, Maine, won a scholarly fellowship to pursue a project researching the social networks that rural-urban migrant women working in the domestic labor industry construct amongst themselves. “I’m looking to understand how these women rely on each other in the absence of formal state support,” she said. LaValle’s research will take place in Shanghai.
The project is an extension of her senior honors thesis in government, which looked at how states structure care labor markets. She plans to eventually go into domestic policy analysis, working for a think tank. LaValle expects the fellowship work to improve both her language abilities and her general research abilities.
Abby Arndt ’15, a Spanish major from Fort Collins, Colo., has been awarded a Fulbright fellowship to work as an English teaching assistant at a university in Brazil.
Arndt said working as an ETA in Brazil will give her the opportunity to develop her teaching skills and improve her Portuguese language skills while living in a new region of the world. “I have experience in language education with elementary school students and high schoolers, so I look forward to the challenge of working in a classroom of university students,” she wrote in an email. “As a Spanish major at Colby I was encouraged to develop my critical thinking skills while maintaining a firm grasp on the importance of linguistics in foreign language acquisition. I am sure that both of these skills will be useful to me as an ETA.”
Susannah Remillard ’87 of Harwich, Mass., received a Fulbright award to travel to New Zealand as part of the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program. An English major at Colby who did extensive work in anthropology, she is embarking on a project titled, “National Mythology, Standardization, and the Teaching of Native Histories in New Zealand’s Schools.”