As travel restrictions continue to ease, three Case Western Reserve University students will soon travel abroad to teach or conduct research and immerse themselves in other cultures.
Each received a scholarship from the Fulbright US Student Program, the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the US government. Fulbright grants give scholars the opportunity to conduct research, teach, and study in approximately 140 countries.
This year’s Fulbright recipients from Case Western Reserve are:
- Emily Belina, fourth-year student in biology and art history, who obtained an open study/research grant in Germany;
- Veronica Madell, fourth-year English and Education student, who won an English Teaching Assistant Award in Thailand; and
- Yasaswini Iyer, a fourth-year integrated graduate student in chemical biology and public health, who obtained an open study/research scholarship in India.
Recent alum Kyle Barclay (CWR ’21) was also selected, winning a Taiwan English Teaching Assistant award.
Learn more about the undergraduate scholarship winners who will represent the university abroad.
Emily Belina has a long-standing interest in biology, having been involved in research since the start of her high school career. She chose to pursue her passion at Case Western Reserve through the Pre-Professional Scholars Program, which she says allowed her to explore a range of academic interests and contextualize her science education in the humanities.
Now a Fulbright award winner, Belina is heading to Germany, where she will work at the University of Mainz to conduct research in ophthalmology and the role of cilia function in the retinal pigment epithelium. This work will build on his two years of research experience at the Cleveland Clinic’s Perkins Laboratory, studying retinal degeneration and regeneration.
“CWRU’s access to cutting-edge research, the encouragement of incredible mentors and professors is what has allowed me to build a [Fulbright] candidacy – and gave me confidence to carry out independent research abroad,” she said.
Belina pursued the scholarship due to her strong desire to study abroad before medical school. She had planned to study in Singapore or Paris, but the COVID-19 pandemic limited travel and made such a trip impossible.
“I knew I had to pursue the opportunity to receive funding for a project I’m passionate about as part of a network of global scholars,” Belina said.
The Massachusetts native hopes to improve her critical thinking, experimental design and wet lab skills while abroad. She also hopes to learn a lot from the scientists Germany has to offer and make connections that will last a lifetime.
“I hope to one day major in ophthalmology after medical school, but even if I go into another field of medicine, the cultural immersion and rigorous research experience of Fulbright will be invaluable,” said- she declared.
Veronica Madell began her college experience as a biology major. Over time, however, she realized there was a difference between being proficient at something and enjoying it.
“Although I was good at science, I was always in love with English,” Madell said. “I love the language and the stories it can tell.”
Madell transitioned to a double major in English and Education with a minor in Leadership, with aspirations of teaching high school English. She is now in her fourth year at Case Western Reserve; as she studies a subject she loves, she said she felt like something was missing from her college experience.
“Due to COVID, I never had the chance to study abroad,” Madell said. “Instead, during my freshman year, I took a program called ‘A Place Beyond’ which allowed me to take classes online from a summer camp in Colorado with other students. scholars across the country.
Working with students from diverse backgrounds only fueled her interest in studying abroad. Then she heard about Fulbright and managed to get a scholarship.
Madell, who is from Wisconsin, will be an English teaching assistant in Thailand. While abroad, she hopes to immerse herself in Thai language and culture, while getting closer to her dream career.
“I can’t wait for this next challenge and I can’t wait for the adventure and the learning to come,” she said. “CWRU has helped me reach this point in my life by providing phenomenal teachers who taught me everything I needed to be a teacher myself. I believe learning about another culture and another language will help to make me a better educator for the rest of my life.
Yasawini Iyer’s first interaction with global environments was through her South Asian immigrant parents, who periodically traveled to India throughout her childhood to perform at an annual music and dance festival. dance. She often joined their travels and eventually noticed a stark difference between India and the United States.
“Practice a three-hour class [dance] repertoire in my suburban neighborhood outside of Washington, DC, was much easier than in the India environment,” she explained. “When I returned to the United States, I reflected on the difference in endurance and discovered that air pollution was a major contributor.”
Further investigation led Iyer to learn more about the pollution and eventually led her to further investigate the phenomenon as part of Case Western Reserve’s Integrated Graduate Program, where she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in chemical biology and his master’s degree in public health.
Her work in this program won her the Fulbright-Nehru Open Study/Research Award in India, where she will conduct public health research to assess public perceptions and knowledge of air pollution as a risk factor. cardiovascular.
“Fulbright presents a unique opportunity to interact with a foreign healthcare system and learn from them,” Iyer said. “It would be impactful to apply the positive aspects of health care abroad with practices in America.”
Iyer hopes to attend medical school after the program and one day medically guide others around the world, regardless of background.
“As a physician, I hope to transcend traditional boundaries and emphasize the importance of being sensitive to socioeconomic and environmental factors of health,” Iyer noted.