Students Awarded Grants for Traveling

The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Fellowship named six seniors as 2010-11 travel fellows on Saturday.

Thomas J. Brennan ’10 of Lowell, Judith E. Fan ’10 of Leverett, Jessica C. Frisina ’10 of Mather, Gerald C. Tiu ’10 of Winthrop, Adam S. Travis ’10 of Mather, and Devon A. Youngblood ’10 of Mather will each receive $18,000 to spend the year after graduation on “purposeful” international travel.

The Rockefeller fellowship encourages independent immersion experiences rather than research or formal study.

“By being in a new culture, we mean really meeting people and having experiences with them day-to-day, without being able to go back and enjoy a hot shower,” said Paul A. Bohlmann, director of fellowships for the Office of Career Services.

Brennan, a government concentrator, will travel to Tanzania next year to study the different perceptions of service to the community among the Maasai and Chagga tribes.


“This is a life-changing moment for me,” Brennan said. “At the end of the experience I’d like to be in a better position to help people and know how the best way to do that is.”

Youngblood plans to compare her own experiences with race and cultural identity in America to the experiences of the artistic community in Egypt.

The independent nature of the fellowship attracted Youngblood, who designed her own special concentration studying the multidisciplinary nature of the visual world.

Travis, also traveling to Africa, will investigate the role of schooling in mediating intertribal and racial violence in Kenya.

Fan will spend her year in Peru exploring how its multi-ethnic culture is represented through food. Fan, who came to her interest in food by throwing dinner parties with her roommates, plans to work at a restaurant in Lima.

Although a neurobiology concentrator, Fan said she hopes to explore other fields during her fellowship.

“For the first time, what I’m doing next year is not for an investment for future payoff,” she said. “But I’m doing it to be happy every day.”

Frisina, a History and Literature concentrator, will explore how education is used to create a sense of community at a Honduran orphanage.

She said her interest in education stems from time spent with the Mission Hill After School Program, and she is considering integrating a focus on education into her future plans to become a lawyer.

Tiu, who is concentrating in Chemical and Physical Biology, plans to spend his year in China studying how socioeconomic and social stigma affect HIV/AIDS patients.

Tiu said he wanted to explore his own Burmese heritage by focusing on the status of Burmese refugees in Southern China.

While Tiu is currently set on pursuing a joint M.D./Ph.D degree, he said that he sees next year as an opportunity to explore his growing interest in public health.