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Delayed Not Deterred

Amid travel restrictions and COVID-19, 2020-2021 Fulbright fellows made an impact around the globe.

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Fall 2021



On Jan. 6, Sayeed Sanchez Johnson ’20 arrived in Madrid, where he worked remotely as an English teaching assistant at Spain’s international IE University. He co-taught workshops on the mechanics of writing and rhetoric and also ran a workshop for staff on the racialization of language, dialects and accents. Next year, Johnson will continue as an English teaching assistant and mentor for incoming Fulbrighters in Madrid. “In the meantime, I’m continuing to enjoy Madrid’s robust public infrastructure (health care and public transit), numerous parks and a culture that encourages relaxation,” he says.




Lois Biggs ’20 was one of a handful of Fulbrighters who were able to start their fellowships on time despite the pandemic. She arrived in Leeds, England, in September 2020 and enrolled in a master’s program on the social and political dimensions of art history at the University of Leeds. Biggs is working on a dissertation project that will rethink practices of Native and Indigenous art criticism through an examination of Saulteaux First Nation artist Robert Houle’s installation Paris/Ojibwa.




After his plans to teach English in Indonesia fell through due to the pandemic, Giovanni Gamalong ’20 relocated his Fulbright to Bulgaria. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will cultivate my future career as a physician and global health leader,” he says of the experience. Gamalong planned to arrive in Sofia, Bulgaria, in August. In the meantime, he stayed in touch with his Fulbright cohort through a Bulgarian book club and took a Bulgarian language and culture class to help him prepare. 



In January, Lillian Guo ’20 arrived in Taiwan, which had been relatively unaffected by the pandemic. “It was the greatest breath of fresh air of my life,” she says. Guo worked at Bo Tsun Primary School as an English teaching assistant and met with students and staff in person. In the final weeks of Guo’s grant period, however, Taiwan experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases, sending the country into lockdown. Still, Guo planned to return in August for a second-year English teaching grant. “I believe in the resiliency of Taiwan,” she says.




After deferring his Fulbright research award by a year, Christopher LaMountain ’20 planned to travel to India to study the devotional music of the Lotus Temple in New Delhi, focusing on how local religious traditions have influenced its music in a unique way, compared with the music of other faith spaces. “It will be important to capture this moment in time through such a project, especially considering the musical and religious vibrancy of Delhi,” LaMountain says. The Lotus Temple is one of seven major Bahá’í houses of worship in the world, a counterpart to the Bahá’í Temple in Wilmette, Ill.

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