Two Santa Clara University seniors and two alumni have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships to study or teach abroad during the 2015-2016 academic year.
“I extend my warmest congratulations to these outstanding Fulbright scholars,” said University President Michael Engh, S.J. “Their accomplishments and intellectual endeavors represent the best of Santa Clara University. They, like Santa Clara, have a special appreciation for the international exchange of ideas and culture as a source for positive global change.”
For Colombia-bound Fulbright Scholar Jeff Moran ’04, Social Justice Began at Home
Later this year, Jeff Moran ’04 will be traveling to Cartagena, an affluent colonial city in the Caribbean Coast region of Colombia and a top destination for tourists. But he won’t be one of them. “What people don’t know is that outside this beautiful city there are tens of thousands of people who live in extreme poverty and who need a lot of help. In particular, hunger and malnutrition are big problems. I am going to see how I can serve and how I can help create something that hopefully lasts even after I leave.”
Jeff is a recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) grant, which will place him in a classroom for ten months to assist local English teachers while serving as a cultural ambassador for the United States. In this dual role, his 40-hour week will be divided equally between teaching and designing or participating in community service programs. “I’d like see if I can help create or work with food banks, urban gardening, or nutritional informational programs.”
To the casual observer, this opportunity seems like the inevitable result of his academic path and professional decisions and experience. A double major in English and Theatre Arts, Jeff went on to work for Kaiser Permanente’s nationally-renowned Educational Theatre Program, which allowed him to reach at-need communities with crucial information on healthy eating, active living, adolescent development, and violence prevention—all conveyed through music, comedy and drama. He then wanted to teach English, so he returned to school to earn a Professional TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Certificate from the UC Berkeley Extension Program, and then his Master’s degree in TESOL from the University of San Francisco. Dig deeper and you’ll find that woven through these undertakings is the thread of social justice, service, and compassion—values that he learned at Santa Clara. “They follow me everywhere I go, and they have deepened in ways that I didn’t necessarily anticipate when I was an undergrad. For instance, I think that one of the biggest injustices in this country is the way in which we treat immigrants. Teaching English to students who leave everything behind in their home countries is so rewarding, and hopefully it is one way I can serve my community. When I am at the store or at the doctor’s office, especially in the Bay Area, and I tell people what I do, it’s so humbling to hear their supportive response because they invariably know someone who had to learn English,” says Jeff.
Jeff’s passion for teaching began at SCU, when he took English Professor Jeff Zorn’s senior seminar, Teaching English as a Vocation. “The class had a huge impact on my life. Little did I know that I’d be on this path ten years later! I also credit Professor Eileen Elrod for capturing my interest in American Literature, which became my emphasis. They were both amazing.” But if English stimulated his mind, Spanish, which he now speaks fluently, found a different niche. “I knew I wanted to travel to Latin America at some point, and I was drawn to Colombia by its history and its literature; Gabriel Garcia Marquez melted my heart.”
Ten years later, Jeff’s connection to his alma mater remains strong, having confidently reached out to theatre Professor and College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Barbara Fraser for a Fulbright letter of recommendation. “Professor Fraser opened my eyes to so many things around me. She’s an amazing, brilliant, social justice and feminist advocate. Along with Professor Aldo Billingslea, who is a force of nature, they both represent the best values that I received from SCU.”
Fulbright Scholar Jenny Kromm ’13 to Study History in Vienna
Genevieve “Jenny” Kromm ’13, a history major with a minor in music, was awarded a 2015 Fulbright scholarship. Jenny's achievement will take her to Vienna, Austria in September, where her research will combine two of her passions: history and music. She will spend the year piecing together evidence, mostly written in German and other languages, to shed light on censorship campaigns in Austria during WWI and their impact on the arts, particularly music. “I will be able to speak with scholars of this period of history and gain access to archives that include rare examples of little-known artists and composers of the era,” said Jenny. She will maximize her experience by working as an English teaching assistant, taking courses at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, and finding ways to play her inseparable trumpet with the University’s orchestra.
“Going to Vienna will take me back full-circle to a city that feels almost like home.” Jenny refers to her previous trips there in 2011 through a University Research Travel Award, and then again in 2013 while visiting during a year-long fellowship in Germany through the prestigious U.S. State Department Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals. These experiences, along with her participation in the six-week, Intensive German Language Summer Program, sponsored by the Geoff & Josie Fox German Studies Fund, at the University of Freiburg in 2012, nourished her love of history, languages, and cultures. She speaks German, French, and Chinese. “I changed majors a bit late in the game, so I give much credit to the flexibility of the SCU Core for allowing me to pursue my interests. I also think that the Modern Languages Department here was a huge factor in getting me to where I am today.”
Indeed, Jenny’s nod for history developed as an extension of her interest in psychology, her original major. “There are so many ways to approach a historical subject while still trying to understand what was going on inside people’s heads. I also realized that research has a scientific approach that I enjoy, and that history has a story-telling aspect that goes well with my passion for writing.”
Jenny credits a history class taught by Professor Matthew Newsom Kerr called War and Democracy in the UK During WWI, which she says “changed my life.” And while she is “grateful for SCU’s rigorous preparation,” she thanks her thesis advisor, Professor Amy Randall, History, and her German teacher, Professor Josef Hellebrandt, for much of her success at SCU.
Fulbright Scholar Keyra Galvan '15: Blazing New Trails
Fulbright scholarship awardee Keyra Galvan, an Economics major (from the College of Arts and Sciences) with a minor in International Business heads to Mexico City this September as the first Santa Clara University winner of the Fulbright Binational Business Program. Unique among Fulbright programs worldwide, it was created in 1996 to promote mutual understanding among the business communities in Mexico and the United States. Keyra will participate in a 10-month internship at a multinational company located in Mexico while taking graduate courses at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, one of Mexico´s most prestigious private universities.
“I always go back to Santa Clara’s way of educating the whole person. I’ve had so many opportunities to become culturally aware. From my participation in the Global Fellowship that took me to Istanbul this past year, to my studies abroad experience in Spain in 2013, and to my service events and immersion trips to D.C., New Orleans, and West Virginia—everything prepared me for this,” said Keyra, whose Spanish fluency meets a crucial requirement of the program.
At 22, she is the eldest of five siblings and the first in her family to attend college, which distinguished her as a LEAD Scholar during her four years at Santa Clara. The Leadership, Excellence, and Academic Development Program provides opportunities to first-generation college students to excel at SCU through individualized academic and advising support, peer mentoring, community engagement, and workshops to explore current and future academic paths. Enrollment in the program is optional, but the 57 LEAD scholars graduating with her seem to find much value in it. “In addition to all the perks of being LEAD scholars, we get the best teachers. There were so many, but for me and all the [LEAD] students in my class, English professor Jill Goodman Gould made a huge difference. We met her at the very beginning, for our first English class. Not only did she ‘get’ our writing style, but she was patient, kind, and always there to listen. She is an amazing person.”
Keyra decided to pursue economics at Santa Clara because “[Lecturer] Adina Ardelean made it so real for me; it all made sense. She was a good mentor.” Having worked at the SCU Bursar’s Office during her four years at Santa Clara, Keyra also pursued summer internships at various companies, but none as meaningful as the one at SPREEIFY, a next-generation ad platform start-up in Mountain View. A four-person company at the time, it has since grown significantly and has moved to Los Angeles. “By setting up a process to get clients on-board and by establishing a structure to train future interns and employees, I helped them establish the foundation for growth. The CEO was so impressed, that he happily agreed to write one of my Fulbright letters of recommendation.”
Upon her return from Mexico in June 2016, Keyra will join a major corporation in downtown San Jose as a financial analyst. The company had extended the job offer before Keyra received news of her Fulbright. “I had decided to forgo the job to pursue my grant, but the company called me, saying that it would be an honor to have a Fulbright in its ranks. They asked if I’d consider taking the position when I come back. I said yes. I like to go through doors when they open up for me,” she says.
Fulbright Scholar Tyler Van Herweg '15 Goes the Extra Mile in Uganda
“Once you commit to something, the world conspires for you.” That is how Fulbright Scholarship awardee Tyler “Ty” Van Herweg describes his experiences at Santa Clara in pursuit of his double degree in Economics and Theatre Arts. This prestigious award enables his single-minded commitment to change lives in Uganda. Starting in September of this year and for the following nine months, Ty will be deploying a phone app that was created at Santa Clara to help in the distribution of goods to rural customers. “This ‘last-mile distribution’ is a huge issue in Uganda. There are many social enterprises trying to distribute affordable products in rural areas, and motorcycle drivers who are capable of administering delivery, yet there is no platform to connect them. [Senior engineering students and colleagues] Michael Brew and Bryant Larsen built an SMS-based [texting technology] app that will do just that. I am very excited; this is what gets me up in the morning.”
During his time at Santa Clara, Ty moved fluidly between two very distinct worlds—one in the Leavey School of Business and the other in the College of Arts and Sciences. “My degree in economics gave me the tools to look at things like poverty, homelessness, lack of access to education, and then ask ‘what can I do to address inefficiencies in order to make life better for others?’ And then, my degree in theatre brought things together for me. For instance, in theatre, you have to be prepared to do everything and deal with any situation; it has a very entrepreneurial aspect. There is a deadline, there is a show, and you cannot be a one-trick pony. I also did lots of play-writing, and my English skills were very important; this led to my minor in that subject. But without theatre, I would not be as well-rounded as I am. I’d say I acquired a life-long coat that will serve me well wherever I go. I thank Professor Aldo Billingslea and his magical presence for inspiring me to become a theatre major.”
Early on, Ty knew that there had to be a way to combine his biggest passions: entrepreneurship and social good. He discovered his path during his sophomore year while working as a project coordinator with the Santa Clara Community Action Program (SCCAP), a campus organization focused on activism and justice to address social issues in and around the community. Aware of Ty’s interests, his Department Coordinator asked him to attend an informational session at the Center for Science, Technology, and Society (now known as the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship). “I had always thought that business and social good were like oil and vinegar. But, in fact, ‘social entrepreneurship’ is what I had been looking for all along—it combined my two passions. That’s when all the dots connected for me, when I decided to pursue the app idea through the Miller Center during my senior year, things just started to fall into place along the way, including my recent Fulbright.”
Asked what he will do upon his return, Ty suspects that this will depend on what happens in Uganda. “Being an entrepreneur is in my blood thanks to my two grandpas, who started and ran over 20 businesses. I am well prepared. I am sure something will come up.”