Students choose to apply for Fulbright scholarships because Bates encourages community engagement and service. KATIE AILES ‘14/COURTESY PHOTO

Students choose to apply for Fulbright scholarships because Bates encourages community engagement and service. KATIE AILES ‘14/COURTESY PHOTO

As part of a continuation on last week’s article “Bates ranks 3rd in 2016 Fulbright ‘Top Producers,” the Student decided to catch up with former  Batesies on their adventures abroad, in addition to two recipients from this year’s applicant pool. Decisions will continue to come out in the next few weeks, for more Bates students are expected to hear back regarding their Fulbright decision.

These Bobcat scholars share how their experiences at Bates and  with the Fulbright intertwine.

Katie Ailes ’14 Scotland

Last year, Katie Ailes ’14,  was granted Bates’ first ever UK-US Fulbright Award for graduate studies, where she attended the University of Strathclyde to complete her Masters by Research in England. “Specifically I was doing independent research looking at pro-independence poetry written for the 2014 Scottish independence referendum,” said Ailes, “looking at the narratives of Scottish history and identity which were promoted through this body of work.”

Ailes has remained in Scotland (post-Fulbright) to complete her PhD at the University of Strathclyde in contemporary poetry in a UK context.

Ailes has found home in Scotland after studying abroad there in the fall of 2012. When she returned  there for her Fulbright program, Ailes became more involved in Scotland’s poetry scene. “I started doing open mics then more and more, and now I co-organise, tour, and perform with the Scottish spoken word collective, Loud Poets,” Ailes said. “The scene in Scotland is booming, so it’s tremendously exciting to be involved in it both as an artist and as a scholar.”

Katie Ailes emphasized both the positive impact that the Fulbright opportunity had on her and the program’s importance in the current political environment.

“I think it’s so important that the U.S. government provides this opportunity for citizens to travel around the globe and engage with other cultures,” Ailes told the Student. “Especially in today’s scarily insular and xenophobic climate, it’s more important now than ever that we continue to travel, to make connections, to converse with and understand people from completely different environments who may think differently to us.”

Patrick Tolosky ’15 Spain

Pat Tolosky is currently on the Fulbright Program in Spain where he started this September, and he will remain there until June. A Spanish major and a pre-med student at Bates, Tolosky hopes to enter a career in medicine. He knew he needed to broaden his horizons before taking on this challenge.

“I knew since the beginning of Bates that I wanted to take time to expose myself to other opportunities to learn,” Tolosky said. “I think that it is easy to lose sight of the interconnection between different professional fields that exists. Personally, I do not think I would be as open minded, creative, or adaptive as a physician if I did not try to diversify my perspective before entering medical school.”

Tolosky, as a “fellow” at a bilingual school, is currently teaching students ranging from ages 12 to 15. One of his duties is to hold conversation practice with groups of three to four, and he often comes away with more questions to discuss than he started with. “I learn so much from them,” said Tolosky.

In addition to his studies in Spain through Fulbright, Tolosky is currently helping with a project in rural  Peru to build a health clinic Q’eros. Tolosky will be at Bates alongside Katie Ailes on Monday, March 21, at Noon.

Tara Das ’16 Turkey

Das is one of two current Bates seniors who have been informed of their acceptances to their respective Fulbright programs. Das will serve as an English Teaching Assistant at a to-be-determined Turkish university.

“From what I’ve heard from Fulbright scholars who are currently in Turkey, the teaching assistant position usually entails teaching conversational English, assisting with extra-curricular activities, and attending departmental meetings,” Das told the Student.

Das is drawn to Turkey as the site of some of the “greatest cultural and geographical conflicts and developments of our time.”  For Das, her intellectual curiosity stems from her Bates Professors, who have continued to motivate her throughout her college career.

“Their passion for their research and geographical interests have an incredible ability to inspire students, which has shaped and developed my thirst to never stop learning about the world around me,” said Das. Bates’ investment in community-engaged learning and cultural development showed Das to foster her drive to continue to learn new things about the world around her.

Carly Peruccio ’16 Luxembourg

Like Das, senior Carly Peruccio also received an English Teaching Assistant Grant. She will be teaching in Luxembourg, working with both high school teachers and professors at the University of Luxembourg. A new element in Peruccio’s program is the opportunity to teach French to refugees who recently relocated to the country.

Peruccio has taught English at Lewiston’s Adult Learning Center since her first year. Peruccio told the Student, “Teaching English has allowed me to build meaningful relationships with Lewiston residents whom I otherwise might not have met. We’ve exchanged our ideas and perspectives even though we have different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. I’m looking forward to doing the same in Luxembourg.”

Bates doesn’t just publish “purposeful work” on their website as a way to attract prospective students. Bates wants its students to find purpose in whatever field is dear to them. Professors, staff, community partners, and fellow students help  to develop that interest while at Bates. We leave with the charge of enacting valuable change in the world through dignified careers of service.

For more information about the Fulbright Program for next year or other fellowship opportunities including those for alumni, contact Robert Strong.