When Sarah Tynen spent a year abroad in Nanjing, China, she was disturbed to learn the government was demolishing villages to pave the way for new buildings and businesses.
Urban redevelopment, as she called it, has displaced citizens and destroyed ancient cultures across the country.
This year, Tynen is one of 16 recent graduates to receive a Fulbright Scholar grant. The Elliott School of International Affairs graduate will spend 10 months studying how “urban renewal” will shape the area’s cultural identity.
“The topic is extremely politically sensitive,” Tynen said, adding that getting clearance from the Chinese government to conduct her project was very difficult.
“I made it sound like I was working on an anthropology project,” Tynen said. “The Chinese don’t want Americans poking around in their business.”
Emma Morse will also travel to a familiar spot for her scholarship. While attending GW, Morse went to Tanzania to visit her mother studying oncology at a medical center.
Morse’s fellowship focusing on breast cancer awareness in Tanzania will begin this fall. The 2011 graduate plans to work with a women’s medical group and a local university to educate women about cancer and to find cost-effective prevention methods.
“I want to get a better idea of what awareness is out there, and how much women know about breast cancer,” Morse said. “Information isn’t circulated.”
Morse’s struggles to prepare for her project have been “more cumbersome” than the Fulbright application. She is still searching for an apartment in Tanzania.
Last year, GW was ranked No. 25 among Fulbright Scholar-producing universities. In 2010, 13 students received Fulbright student scholarships, down from 23 awarded in 2009.
Julie Bailey, Rupita Chakraborty, Leslie Jessen and Victoria Roman will travel to Asia, headed to India, Indonesia, Georgia and Tajikistan respectively. Betsy Myers will go to Jordan.
Five students chose Europe for their projects. Carolyn Kerchof and Daoyen Lei will study in Germany, Cascade Tuholske in Bulgaria, Kristen Van Nest in Luxembourg and doctoral student Patrick Funiciello in Spain.
Sarah Conner, Amanda Eller, Caitlin Loehr, and Harry Wodehouse will study in the African nations of Egypt, Benin, Senegal and Mauritius, respectively.