Two Knox College graduating seniors, Leslie Kang and Joanna Stack, and recent Knox graduate Brent Newman ’10 have been chosen as recipients of Fulbright Fellowships for international research and teaching.
Kang, an educational studies major from Northbrook, Illinois, will teach English in South Korea. Stack, an anthropology and sociology major from Chicago, Illinois, will go to India to teach English. Newman, a Dallas, Texas, native who majored in environmental studies, will travel to Jamaica to study the Jamaican yellow boa, a snake that has been listed as a vulnerable species according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Knox College has a long history with the prestigious Fulbright Fellowships. Three graduating Knox seniors received a Fulbright Fellowship in 2010, and 21 Knox students have been selected for the honor since 1999.
Kang, who also intends to volunteer at a South Korean orphanage, is interested in researching the role of education in Asian society so she can apply that knowledge when she returns to teach in the United States.
“I feel that oftentimes the Asian-American students are overlooked because they get good grades, but psychologically or emotionally, there is a lot of stress on them that is not often brought to light,” she said.
A dance minor, Kang hopes to use that background to develop classroom activities that will mesh with students’ varied learning styles. “Not everyone is a read-and-learn person,” she said.
Stack, whose minor is Chinese studies, studied for nine months at Peking University in Beijing, China. She also spent six weeks teaching English to middle school and high school students in Taiwan during summer 2010, discovering a “passion for teaching” that helped her decide to apply for the Fulbright program.
Going to India “is going to be completely new for me,” she said. “I’m excited. I think it will definitely be a challenge, and I’m looking forward to it.”
“I think it’s important to stay in one place for a significant amount of time to really understand it,” said Stack, who also plans to volunteer with a nonprofit group in India. “In the future, I want to work for an international nonprofit organization.”
Newman, who had minors in biology and Spanish at Knox, will be based at the Windsor Research Centre in Cockpit Country, Jamaica. He will research the Jamaican yellow boa and promote efforts to protect the species, which is threatened by loss of habitat, the invasive Indian Mongoose, and people who kill it out of a mistaken belief that it is poisonous.
“The goal of my project is to help with the conservation of the Jamaican boa,” said Newman. “I will be monitoring their movements throughout the island, using GIS (geographic information system) software. We’re going to get a really good understanding of boa ecology.”
One of the reasons he applied for a Fulbright, he said, is the program’s emphasis on international relationships. While a student at Knox, Newman — a running back on the Prairie Fire football team — studied for two terms in Barcelona, Spain. “That completely changed my life,” he said. “I realized how much you can learn from other cultures.”
The United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs developed the Fulbright Program to increase mutual understanding between people from the United States and people from other parts of the world. About 1,500 Fulbright Fellowships are awarded each year to students in the United States.
Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 48 states and 46 countries. Knox’s “Old Main” is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.