Fulbright awarded to three recent Gettysburg grads

For years, Gettysburg students from an array of backgrounds and majors have received grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. This year, two recipients, Kim Longfellow ’16 and Jesse Siegel ’16, will head to Germany—Longfellow to teach English, and Siegel to continue research he started at Gettysburg. The third, Anoush Aghababian ’16, will teach English in Yerevan, Armenia, at the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University.

The purpose of the Fulbright, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, is to facilitate cultural exchange and promote mutual understanding.

“The program is a wonderful opportunity for Gettysburg students,” said Maureen Forrestal, assistant provost. “Through their work and research, Fulbright recipients are able to put a positive face on being a United States citizen to people who may think otherwise and/or who have had little, if any, contact with Americans. The College prepares our students extremely well for this opportunity through coursework, extracurricular activities, undergraduate research, study abroad, and through our fellowship advising program.”

Learn more about this year’s recipients below.

Anoush H. Aghababian ’16 Anoush H. Aghababian ’16

Major: Classics

Minor: Studio Art

Fulbright: English Teaching Assistant Award

Placement: Yerevan, Armenia

The purpose of Aghababian’s program is to support local English language teachers, teach the language, and serve as cultural ambassadors for the U.S.

“I have been assigned to develop and direct a curriculum themed around world arts and cultures,” she said. “I will be teaching university students about various cultures and styles of art from around the world while developing and expanding their English skills.”

Aghababian, who is part Armenian, is looking forward to being immersed in the history and culture.

“My senior thesis focused on its ancient language, Classical Armenian, so I’m excited to learn the language further and explore the parallels between it and modern Armenian,” she said. “I am also excited to teach! As a Peer Learning Associate on campus I’ve taught Latin and Ancient Greek; it will be an exciting challenge to teach a modern, native language.”

Post Fulbright, Aghababian plans to return to graduate school. She was enrolled at the University of Georgia to study Classical Languages when she learned she’d received the award.

“It goes without saying that this would not have been possible without my experiences at Gettysburg. Having lived and studied in Japan when I was younger, I developed an international perspective that I knew I wanted to expand upon as I furthered my education,” she said. “I had the amazing opportunity to accompany Prof. [Carolyn] Snively to Macedonia after my freshman year and I later studied in Rome, Italy and Bali, Indonesia during my sophomore and junior years. The multinational education Gettysburg was able to offer truly has been life changing and has only confirmed that I must experience as much of this world as possible.”

Kim Longfellow ’16

Kim Longfellow ’16

Majors: German Studies and Sociology

Fulbright: English Teaching Assistant Award

Placement: Leverkusen, Germany

Longfellow will teach at a Gymnasium, a type of secondary school in Germany, where, like Aghababian, she will provide students with opportunities to converse in and engage with the English language.

“I first heard about the Fulbright scholarship from my first-year advisor. As I was going through my college career, I enjoyed working as a Peer Learning Assistant in the German Studies department and teaching German grammar—I really liked being able to explain it and help people work through problems and see the logic behind the language,” said Longfellow. “I had such a great experience [studying] in Heidelberg, I wanted to go back to Germany, so this grant is a great opportunity to combine my interest in learning and teaching languages, while also spending more time living in Germany.”

Longfellow first developed an interest in the German language in high school but did not plan to major in it, instead opting to fulfill the minimal requirement needed to graduate. Then, she fell in love with the German Studies department at Gettysburg. (Fun fact: she would also go on to become the valedictorian of her class.)

“I didn’t want to lose the momentum I built in high school," she said, "and I was drawn to the department's close knit community."

Ultimately, Longfellow said she hopes to pursue a career in international education, specifically working with study abroad programs like Gettysburg’s Center for Global Education.  She’s not ruling out pursuing graduate work after completing her Fulbright.

“I’ve received excellent training from Gettysburg, especially from the German Studies department, but also from all of my classes, and feel well prepared for this opportunity,” said Longfellow. “Even during the application process, I received an incredible amount of support from the entire campus community. It was a really supportive environment that pushed me to do my best work, and I know that preparation will carry over into the actual experience itself.”

Jesse Siegel ’16

Jesse Siegel ’16

Majors: German Studies and History

Fulbright: Study/Research grant

Placement: Munich, Germany

Knowing its competitiveness, Siegel applied for the Fulbright research grant with the expectation that he would not receive the award.

“Two advisors told me it’s not an award that’s simply given out,” he said, “so it was exciting to suddenly have all those expectations turned upside down.”

Siegel will use his grant funds to continue research he began as part of his German Studies and History capstone project under the guidance of Prof. Kerry Wallach and Prof. Bill Bowman: investigating the origin of the Sudeten Germans as well as the cultivation of their narrative and how it was used to influence the perception of the German and Czech people in the period between 1929 and 1934.

Like Longfellow, Jesse Siegel ’16 spent his junior year at Gettysburg studying in Heidelberg, Germany, where he conducted most of his research at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Library. In Munich, he will have access to documents previously unavailable to him, which will hopefully shed new light on his area of focus.

“After the end of World War II in 1945, 3 million Germans left Czechoslovakia and moved to what was becoming East Germany,” said Siegel. “A large number of them ended up in Munich, which not only has a research institute about the region, but also multiple public archives with documents from during that period.”

In the future, Siegel hopes to become a professor of Eastern European history and plans to attend graduate school after returning to the U.S. to share the results of his Fulbright research.

Learn more about the competitive Fulbright U.S. Student Program.