Three women earn prestigious international awards
Hobart and William Smith Colleges are proud to announce that Stephanie Eggen ’08, Cristina Bain ’08 and Chloe Hall ’06 have earned Fulbright honors to teach and research across the globe.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges have been home to numerous faculty and student Fulbright Scholars. Fulbright recipients are selected based on academic and professional achievements as well as their demonstrated leadership potential.
Eggen has been selected to receive the competitive English Teaching Assistantship in Malaysia, where she will teach conversational English to high school and university students for 10 months.
As an America Reads and history tutor, Eggen’s interest in teaching has remained steadfast throughout her college career. She was most significantly influenced by her experience as a Writing Colleague for economically and academically disadvantaged students during the Summer Academic Orientation Program.
"In our increasingly globalized world, secular politics and relations between cultures are profoundly important," says Eggen. "By teaching English, I feel I can be a model representative of the necessity of not only nonviolence, but diversity."
When not teaching English, Eggen will spend her time interning for Women's Aid Organisation, a group that promotes a society free of violence against women. Eggen’s desire to focus on women’s issues originated during her semester abroad in Ireland, where she discovered that the progression of women’s rights is a recent development throughout many places in the world.
“I believe violence is unacceptable in all situations and I am willing to be the voice for women who cannot speak out for fear of retribution. I know I cannot necessarily prevent violence against Malaysian women, but I have the distinct opportunity to act as a healer to those who are victims,” says Eggen.
Bain was awarded a Fulbright Full Grant in Vietnam, where she will conduct research examining the issues surrounding historical and contemporary gender equality.
Her research will focus on understanding methods most successful in changing gender identity constructions. “Through interviews with Vietnamese women, I plan to facilitate an education in possibilities,” she says. “Issues of development and its interplay with gender identity are global issues, and while each culture is unique, the opportunity to utilize the success of others is an incredible one.”
In the fall of 2006, Bain spent a semester in Vietnam and formed a profound bond with the country, propelling her desire for further investigation. After receiving a Student International Initiatives Fund Grant, Bain engaged in an independent study, which developed into an honors project, examining the gender identity constructions of women who fought in the Vietnamese military during the American war.
Through a self-instructed language program, Bain continued studying Vietnamese on campus, and during the summer of 2007, she attended the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute, completing further intensive language courses in Vietnamese.
“My appetite for research has only been whetted, my love of Vietnam just beginning, and my interest in development studies and gender identity only starting,” she says.
Alumna Hall has received a highly competitive Fulbright grant, which will allow her to study women and their role in economic development through microfinance in Mongolia.
A long-time traveler, Hall has lived, studied and worked abroad in Italy, Russia, Vietnam and China. “Through my college education and experiences abroad, I have become an active and more responsible world citizen, with a broader understanding of life and with the goal of facilitating better lives for my fellow human beings,” says Hall.
Prompted by her studies and numerous excursions to economically developing areas, Hall became interested in the role of women’s entrepreneurial efforts to alleviate poverty. While in Mongolia, she'll be affiliated with the Enterprise Mongolia Project, which provides access to entrepreneurial and micro-financial services to those interested in establishing or expanding small businesses.
“I will be able to connect with female micro-entrepreneurs and help implement capacity development programs, as well as open access to financial services for them, in essence helping them bring their families out of poverty,” explains Hall. “I know that my quest to understand life beyond nation-state, language and cultural borders will be life long and that I will make every effort to create positive change for my world community."