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A passion for promoting intercultural understanding drove a Gettysburg College graduate to study Arabic, both in America and abroad. Another Gettysburg grad is focusing on microscopic nanoparticles to help make artificial joints safer for patients.

Both are among this year’s recipients of prestigious grants from the U.S. Department of State's Fulbright Program, which supports research, learning, and teaching in more than 155 countries worldwide.

Sokhey• After Navdeep Sokhey ’11 and her family emigrated from Thailand to the United States, she quickly realized that language is “a key to comprehending fully a people’s perception of the world. I experienced this process first by learning English and living in America.” She began studying Arabic at Gettysburg and dove deeper during two study-abroad semesters in Egypt. She earned a Critical Language Scholarship for study in Tunisia last summer, but the political instability of the “Arab Spring” led her to the Middlebury Summer Language Institute in California instead.

The Fulbright grant will permit her to study at the Center for Arabic Studies Abroad (CASA) in Cairo. “It is a priceless chance for dialogue — in Arabic — with Egyptians and other Arabs I will encounter,” thereby “dispelling false stereotypes and misunderstanding by all parties involved.”

Sokhey, who majored in globalization studies at Gettysburg, plans graduate study in Arabic linguistics, focusing on second-language acquisition, at the University of Texas-Austin, which sponsors CASA. After earning a Ph.D., Sokhey plans to help broaden the availability of Arabic instruction in the United States, because the language is “vital to our participation in world affairs as informed global citizens.”

Pellowe• In Norway, biochemistry and molecular biology major Amanda Pellowe will investigate the role of nanoparticles in allergic responses to titanium, a metal used in artificial joints.

“The short term goal is to help develop a more accurate way to test titanium sensitivity, and the long term goal is to develop an understanding of how these allergic reactions occur,” she wrote. While working with researchers at the University of Bergen, she will also take classes.

Pellowe is no stranger to international study, having spent a study-abroad semester in a biomedicine program in Denmark, focusing on medical biotechnology and drug development. She has also volunteered at medical clinics, schools, and orphanages in Guatemala and Peru during service-learning trips.

Pellowe spent eight weeks conducting summer research in the lab of Gettysburg Prof. Donald Jameson, where she focused on the synthesis of organic nanoparticles. “As a biochemistry and molecular biology major at Gettysburg College, I have received an interdisciplinary scientific education including courses in biology, chemistry, and physics” which has “given me the skills and knowledge required to conduct research in interdisciplinary biophysics programs, including the biomaterials lab at the University of Bergen." She plans to pursue a doctoral degree in biophysics.

Her liberal arts experience at Gettysburg also included varsity athletics: she ran cross country and track for all four years and was a team captain in the latter.

Gettysburg College Assistant Provost Maureen Forrestal mentors students throughout their four years on campus as they seek fellowships, scholarships, and grants. Gettysburg's success level is very high as a result of the College's strong emphasis on student-faculty research collaboration.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide.

Posted: Fri, 20 Jul 2012

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