Three UMass Boston alumni will be representing the university abroad this summer as Fulbright recipients.
Tim Brady '17, who received an undergraduate degree in classics last month, has received a research/study fellowship in England. Theresa Dietrich '17, who graduated last month with a master's degree in English, will teach a writing workshop in Norway. Abrar Ahmed ’16, who has been teaching English at a Fulbright-associated university in Turkey since graduating last May, will be teaching English in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
UMass Boston Today spoke with each of the winners.
Tim Brady, an Atlanta native, will start his Fulbright research/study fellowship this fall at Durham University in England, the only institution that offers a fully integrated program of the classics and the Near East. He will enter a master’s program in Greece, Rome, and the Near East. Brady says he’s always loved language, but working in Iraq—first as part of a documentary filmmaking crew, then in business, and later as a music teacher—made him particularly interested in Akkadian, the native language of Mesopotamian nations such as Assyria and Babylonia. Through his studies, Brady will be able to learn this extinct language, so he can understand source documents, created on cuneiform tablets.
“Much of the extant material from the Epic of Gilgamesh and other important Near Eastern literary works is in Akkadian. I am particularly interested in researching cultural fragments left by ancient communities of Greek and Near Eastern refugees who were strewn across the Mediterranean following the collapse of the Late Bronze Age,” Brady said. “Amidst the chaos and upheaval, there was a profound creative process taking place in the shadowy recesses of caves and mountain refuges between the peoples of the Near East and Greeks from which the Odyssey and the Iliad were born.”
Eve Sorum, associate professor of English and the interim fellowships advisor, says what Brady has earned is impressive; out of 872 applicants, there were only 44 Fulbright research/study awards for the U.K.
“The whole Fellowships Committee on campus was convinced about the importance of Tim’s research and impressed by its implications for the direction classics could take. American universities will benefit by having scholars like Tim return to study and teach in this combined field,” Sorum said.
Recent graduate Theresa Dietrich, from New Tripoli, Pennsylvania, will use her English master’s degree and licensure to teach a writing workshop in the American Studies Department at the University of Bergen in Bergen, Norway. She’ll also be teaching lessons on American history and culture at a high school. She’d like to volunteer with Røde Kors, the Norwegian Red Cross, as well.
“I am beyond thrilled. I really didn’t see [the Fulbright] coming. My professors in the English Department were tremendously encouraging; I may not have even applied without their prompting. It is one of those awards that felt very out of reach, but apparently it wasn’t,” Dietrich said.
Originally planning to be a writer, Dietrich decided she wanted to be a teacher only after teaching a class to UMass Boston undergraduates to fulfill a graduate program requirement. She’d like to teach in an urban public high school once she returns to the U.S.
Abrar Ahmed ’16, second from right in the photo above, has been teaching English at a Fulbright-associated university in Turkey since graduating last May from UMass Boston’s Honors College with a degree in biology. Now the Quincy native is going to be teaching English in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“I hope to explore their way of life, learn the Bosnian language, and experience first-hand their traditional foods and renowned hospitality. I will hopefully work with my students and encourage them to embark on various community outreach programs. I also hope to travel the country and explore the beautiful and historical cities found throughout Bosnia,” Ahmed said.
Once she is done with her overseas travels, Ahmed hopes to pursue a career in dentistry and academia.
“Fulbrights are incredibly competitive, and the success of Abrar, Theresa, and Tim reflects their stellar records as students and leaders,” Sorum said. “Not only is this exciting news for the three fellowship winners, it is also great news for UMass Boston. I am so glad that Tim, Abrar, and Theresa will be ambassadors not only for our country, but also for our university, bringing further recognition to our amazing students, both past and present, and to the world-class work that is done here.”
Students interested in applying for Fulbrights should contact Fellowships Advisor Louise Penner as soon as possible. It is especially important for Fulbright applicants to begin work in the late spring and summer, because the on-campus application deadline is the first week of September and the national deadline is October 6, 2017.
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