The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Lafayette’s 2023 Fulbright, international scholars

Maria Bossert ’23 and Mackenzi Berner ’23 will be going to Nepal and Spain, respectively, following graduation. (Photos courtesy of Maria Bossert ’23 and Mackenzi Berner ’23)

In February, Lafayette was named a top producer of Fulbright scholars for the seventh time. This year, two more students have received the award, along with one alternate recipient and another scholarship to study internationally after graduation.

Awardee: Maria Bossert ‘23

When Maria Bossert ‘23 studied abroad in Nepal last spring, she felt an overwhelming sense of peace. Now, she has earned a Fulbright award to return to the country for a 10-month research project.

“I would be going there and basically living in the community, doing interviews with people, and just asking how the national park impacts people,” Bossert said.

Bossert’s project focuses on the effects of national parks on Nepal’s indigenous population by conducting research on the indigenous communities living at the border of the parks and distanced from them.

She is looking forward to spending more time in the community that welcomed her warmly during her previous research.

“I just really enjoyed my time in that community,” she said. “I was well-received because not many researchers come to this area. I felt like people were just happy to see someone interested in what was going on in their lives … and I felt really encouraged by that and wanted to keep doing something like that.”

To Bossert, immersing herself in Nepali culture is vital to her project.

“[Anthropology] is very dependent on putting yourself in sometimes uncomfortable situations or new places with people you’re maybe not used to in order to gain a level of trust with the people you’re interested in learning about.”

Awardee: Mackenzi Berner ‘23

Ever since acting as a translator on a family trip to the Dominican Republic in high school, Mackenzi Brenner knew she needed to be immersed in Spanish language and culture. Her Fulbright grant will allow her to do just that as an English teaching assistant in Spain during the next academic year.

“Fulbright just kind of fit perfectly, especially the teaching assistantship,” Berner said. “I also taught sixth-grade history for six months when we got sent home [due to COVID] my sophomore fall, so I just had a lot of teaching experience combined with a passion for multiculturalism and international development.”

Berner’s love for Spanish was further shaped by her involvement with Refugee Action, a club that provides support to local refugee resettlement agencies. She began to tutor people learning English as a second language (ESL) and found a love for teaching.

The grant will take her to La Rioja, Spain, where she could be teaching in any area from early education to vocational programs.

Alternate: Maya Nylund ‘23

Maya Nylund ‘23 hopes to put her English degree to use by teaching the language in South Korea.

“I had already had experience at Lafayette as a conversation partner and I was an EAP [English for Academic Purposes] tutor and I really enjoyed being able to use my English degree and my interest in writing and literacy in general with Lafayette students and in a pedagogical way, so that’s why I decided to pursue Fulbright in the first place,” Nylund said.

The South Korean program appealed to her because it requires a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) certification, which she believes will better prepare her to teach students.

Nylund was named as an alternate recipient of the grant, which means she will receive funding if current awardees cannot pursue the opportunity as planned and more funding becomes available.

“For me, [Fulbright] provides one path that I could go down with my English degree, and as a senior now, I’m of the opinion that sometimes the path of least resistance is the one that’s meant for you, so it would be an honor to [receive funding],” Nylund said.

DAAD Award Recipient: Nathan Kornfeind ‘23

Nathan Kornfeind ‘23 received the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Award, also known as the German Academic Exchange Service scholarship, to earn a master’s degree in Germany.

The scholarship will cover two years of housing, books and travel costs while Kornfeind pursues a degree in political science in Erlangen, Germany, a city just north of Nuremberg.

This isn’t Kornfeind’s first time in the area – he first conducted research in and around Nuremberg for his thesis last summer.

“My thesis is looking at Germany, Bavaria in particular, and Hungary, taking a look at how churches have helped migrants and how the government has either made their work easier or complicated it,” Kornfeind said.

While in Germany, Kornfeind conducted interviews with people working in church organizations that aid asylum seekers and further investigated how church organizations have partnered with the state. He decided to try to return to earn his graduate degree.

According to Kornfeind, pursuing his degree in Germany could lead to him returning to the United States for further education or remaining in Germany. “We’ll see how it goes,” Kornfeind said. “There might be opportunities that open up and I can pursue those because I didn’t really plan on going to Germany when I got to Lafayette, so maybe if I go over there, some opportunities will open up for something new.”

Editor-in-Chief Nathan Kornfeind ’23 did not contribute writing or reporting.

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