News Release

Fifteen students and alumni offered Fulbright Awards to teach and conduct research abroad

U of M sign

Fifteen students and recent graduates of the University of Minnesota have been offered grants to study and teach abroad during the 2020-21 academic year by the Fulbright U. S. Student Program and another has been designated as an alternate. The Fulbright Program was created and funded by Congress in 1946 to promote international good will through the exchange of students and scholars in all areas of education, culture, and science.  The program awards approximately 1900 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.

Here are this year's recipients:

Clara Bartnik

Clara Bartnik, a ’20 graduate in Economics from Eden Prairie with minors in Spanish and Teaching English as a Second Language, will spend the coming year as an English Teaching Assistant at a university in Turkey. In high school, she developed an interest in the Middle East, especially the economic history of Turkey and Central Asia.  On campus, she continued her studies in Spanish and became the Community Advisor for La Casa de Español, but she wanted to add a language that fit her geographical interests. In her second year, she applied for a Critical Language Scholarship and spent last summer studying Turkish in Baku, Azerbaijan. She returned to campus and wrote her senior research project on customs agreements between Turkey and the EU, and after her Fulbright year she plans to do further studies in economic development and international relations in the region.

Molly Bergum

Molly Bergum of South Range, Wisconsin, graduated this year with majors in Plant Biology and Biology, Society & Environment. She has been offered a Fulbright to conduct research and complete a graduate degree at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. She will work with Dr. Matthew Moscou at the Sainsbury Laboratory, one of the world’s leading centers of crop research, on genetic disease resistance in wild barley, a plant with potential to address food security challenges in the face of climate change. Molly has completed research at the University of Minnesota with Professors Brian Steffenson and James Luby in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and she was the recipient of an Ernest Hollings Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In the future, she would like to conduct research on crop genetics with the Department of Agriculture.

Sofia Cerkvenik

Sofia Cerkvenik of St. Paul has been awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct research in Peru. A ’18 graduate with a B.A. in History and ’19 graduate with a M.Ed. in Social Studies, Sofia will study the impact of soccer programs for girls and women on other areas of their lives, particularly academic opportunity and performance. She hopes that her research will help to identify and overcome obstacles to equitable education and inform her own future teaching practice. Sofia received two Critical Language Scholarships to study Chinese and spent a semester studying abroad in Peru. On campus, she was a History Day mentor and the Founder and President of the Latinx International Student Association.

T.J. Davies

T.J. Davies, a ’20 graduate from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will teach English in South Korea. Her interest in the Korean language began with a childhood neighbor whose mother spoke no English but provided delicious Korean snacks. T.J. was determined to overcome the language barrier and has been very involved in Korean language and cultural activities ever since, including leading KTALK, a Korean language student group on campus.  In 2018, she spent a summer studying abroad in Seoul, and she looks forward to a longer and more immersive stay in the country. On campus, she has also worked in the Minnesota English Language Project as a tutor for international students, and she plans to complete a graduate degree in education after her Fulbright year.

Jacob Dixon

Jacob Dixon, a ’20 graduate in Spanish and Portuguese from Waconia, will spend next year in Mozambique studying the development of Marrabenta music since the end of the civil war. A trumpet player who has performed with various ensembles on and off campus, he plans to engage in his investigation as both a musician and scholar. Working with Professor Eléusio dos Prazeres Viegas Filipe at the University of Eduardo Modlane, he will conduct archival research in Maputo as well as interviews with musicians active in the 1990s. At the University of Minnesota, Jacob has studied with professors Ana Paula Ferreira and Sophia Beal and was awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies scholarship to study Portuguese in Mozambique during the summer of 2018. After his Fulbright experience, he plans to continue graduate studies in Spanish and Portuguese.

Caroline Fidan Tyler Doenmez

Caroline Fidan Tyler Doenmez is a Ph.D. candidate in sociocultural Anthropology with a graduate minor in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. Doenmez is of Zaza Kurdish and European descent and was raised in Dublin, New Hampshire. She has been offered a Fulbright grant to Canada to study the reclamation of birth by Indigenous doulas in Winnipeg. Through the concept of Indigenous women as "water carriers," her project looks to the Red River to explore the link between doula care and addressing violence against Indigenous women. She is especially interested in documenting how understanding birth as embedded in a wider set of relationships works to revitalize Indigenous ontologies that emphasize the protection of both women and water as givers and sustainers of life. Doenmez received a B.A. from Smith College in 2009 and an M.A. from Columbia University in 2015.

Alexandra Glasford

Alexandra Glasford of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, will be an English Teaching Assistant in Italy. A Global Studies and Italian major who graduated in May, Ally spent her junior year studying abroad in Bologna, where she also served as a teaching assistant in a Middle School.  At the University of Minnesota, she was a mentor in the international buddy program, a member of the swing dance club, and a group leader with St. Paul’s Outreach. She also worked as a camp counselor with the Concordia Language Villages and was awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies Scholarship to support coursework in Italian. After her time in Italy, she plans to attend law school.

Matthew Her

Matthew Her of North St. Paul, a ’19 graduate with majors in Linguistics and Asian Languages and Literatures and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language, will be a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Thailand. Currently an AmeriCorps fellow in Milwaukee, Matthew has worked as a language tutor, camp counsellor, and study skills coach with various organizations in the Twin Cities. With the support of a Freeman-Asia scholarship, he spent a semester abroad in South Korea, and as a Gilman Scholar, he spent a summer in China. In Thailand, he will retrace the journey of his own parents, who passed through that country as Hmong refugees from Laos. After his Fulbright year, Matthew plans to complete a Master’s degree in Youth Development Leadership and work in education and youth support services.

Austin Kraft

Austin Kraft, a ’20 graduate with majors in Mathematics and Linguistics will travel to Indonesia to conduct a comparative study of grammatical binding in three Indonesian languages. The widespread presence of binding in human language has been considered evidence for a universal human grammar, but this may be challenged by differences between these related languages. Working with Professor Yanti at Universitas Katolik Indonesia Atma Jaya, Austin will conduct fieldwork at three different locations to elicit and document native speakers' binding patterns. He has previously studied Indonesian with a Critical Language Scholarship in the summer of 2018 and has completed research with Professor Hooi Ling Soh at the University of Minnesota. After his Fulbright year, he plans to complete a PhD in Computational Linguistics.

Zetta Mason

Zetta Mason, a ’20 graduate with a B.A. in Anthropology and a B.S. in Sociology, will travel to Albania to study how the justice system and the larger community understand and combat domestic violence. She will be affiliated with the Partnerë për Fëmijët, an NGO that works to promote children’s rights and gender equality. At the University of Minnesota, she has completed related research in both of her degree programs, investigating the issues of jurisdiction and sexual violence against Indigenous women and gender-based violence against young men and boys in Darfur. A native of Boulder, Colorado, Zetta also interned with the U.S. District Attorney in Denver, where she contributed to policy recommendations to combat recidivism in domestic violence. As a member of the University’s track and cross-country teams, she is a three-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and a co-creator of a training program for sexual violence intervention. After her Fulbright experience, she plans to attend law school.

Emily McCarthy

Emily McCarthy graduated in May with a major in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies and a minor in Arabic. A graduate of Osseo High School, she spent a year studying to become a pastry chef before beginning her studies at the University of Minnesota. At the same time she began teaching at the Adult Basic Education Center in Columbia Heights, where she helped a largely immigrant population complete high school education, complete citizenship exams, and gain admissions to colleges and universities. In Bahrain, she will serve as an English Teaching Assistant and plans to participate in local arts and literature while developing her Arabic skills. In the future, she plans to complete a Ph.D. in Arabic.

Nabila Mohamed

Nabila Mohamed graduated in 2017 with a degree in Physiology and has been working as a research associate and coordinator with the Family Matters study of child obesity at the Medical School. Next year, she will travel to the United Arab Emirates and participate in the Healthy Future study with Dr. Raghib Ali, Director of the Public Health Research Center at NYU Abu Dhabi. She will use data from the study to investigate the social determinants of metabolic and cardiovascular health in a region that has seen revolutionary changes in wealth and diet over the last fifty years. The daughter of Somali refugees who was born in Kenya, Nabila graduated from St. Paul Central High School.

Jamie Mosel

Jamie Mosel, a PhD candidate in Natural Resources Science and Management, studies the responses of forests to climate change, and ways to adapt forest management to cope with climate change. She will spend the year in Japan where she will research forest health, tree physiology, and forest management practices related to climate change in Hokkaido. Her research in Japan builds on her PhD work on adaptive management and climate change responses of tree species in northern Minnesota. Jamie also hopes to contextualize this work by highlighting the importance of Indigenous rights and sovereignty in forest management practices. A graduate of St. Olaf College with majors in History and Biology, Jamie’s goal is to contribute to our understanding of global forest health and help foster mutual relationships towards supporting healthy future forests locally and internationally.

Corrie Nyquist

Corrie Nyquist is a PhD student in the CFANS Department of Entomology. Her graduate research in Minnesota focuses on the winter activity and community structure of a group of aquatic flies known as midges within the family Chironomidae. Her cold weather interest has also taken her to Iceland where for the past two summers she has conducted research on the impacts of warming air temperatures on Palearctic midge species emerging from hot and cold springs. Corrie was recently awarded a Fulbright-NSF Arctic Research Grant for research pertaining to arctic systems. Through this grant, she will conduct some of the first formal investigations of winter active midges in Iceland, investigating their species diversity, life history and responses to climate change.

Ka Z. Vang

Ka Z. Vang, a 2016 graduate with a degree in Elementary Education and current graduate student in  Youth Development Leadership, was offered a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Thailand but decided to turn it down.




Senior Devon Severson (Political Science and Global Studies) and graduate students Meta Nagel (MEd, Second Language Education), Marie Schaedel (PhD, Plant Science), and Vanessa Voller (PhD, Comparative/International Development Education) have all been named as alternates for Fulbright awards.

213 students and alumni of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities have been awarded Fulbrights in the last 20 years.  Current undergraduates and recent graduates who are interested in applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program should contact Timothy Jones in the Office of National and International Scholarships, [email protected] or 612-624-5522.  Graduate students should contact Toni Abts in the Graduate Fellowships Office, [email protected] or 612-625-7579.

Media Contacts

Main Line

University Public Relations

Timothy Jones

Honors Program, Twin Cities