Alumni Awards and Activities

Awards Received by English Majors

Fulbright Student Program


Bridget Kustin '05 won a Fulbright full grant which funded her project to conduct research regarding the role of Islam in the lives of women working in garment factories in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  Bridget is now a graduate student in Anthropology at the Johns Hopkins University, were she studies theologies of money, specifically Islamic banking and finance in Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia.  Within this field, she is interested in Islamic microinvestment, transnational regulation, risk, speculation, social justice, capitalism, and questions of authority, performativity, nationalism and development.  Previously, she served as the South Asia Researcher for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal, bipartisan agency providing foreign policy recommendations to the President, Congress, and Secretary of State.


Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Recipients


Tara Ebrahimi, an Iranian-American, won the Watson J. Fellowship to study the role of women in Islamic Sufi culture. Ebrahimi visited a number of Sufi communities in Europe and Australia and went on to earn her M.F.A. in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh and is currently Corporate Communications Director at the Navigators Group, Inc. and a member of the Association of Iranian American Writers. Her award-winning writing has appeared in CreativeNonfication, The Seattle Times, RIVET Magazine, Elan Magazine, Whitehot Magazine, and "Keep It Real: Everything You Need to Know About Researching and Writing Creative Nonfiction (Norton, 2008), and is forthcoming in Love and Pomegranates: New Voices Celebrating Iran.  She has been in residence at both Hedgebrook and theMillay Colony for the Arts, where she was on the jury in 2008.


Daniel Myers, an English/Music major at Whitman and a graduate of Gonzaga Preparatory School of Spokane, Washington visited the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to study traditional Irish music and to master the uillean pipes.


Kinoka Onnah Ogsbury won a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship ($18,000) for her project on weaving as a form of cross-cultural communication in Guatemala, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, and Bhutan. She majored in English and minored in Spanish, speaks Arapahoe, and has studied French for nine years and Spanish for three.

Amanda Walker won a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship ($18,000) for her project on theatrical combat. She will study with professional fight directors in London and visit museums and castles in England, Scotland, Germany, and Austria to study Medieval and Renaissance weapons and armor. She is a double-major in English and Theatre.


Chris DeBenedetti won a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship ($16,000) for his study of traditional beer brewing techniques in West Africa and Europe.


Beinecke Memorial Scholarship Recipients


Sonya Hess won a Beinecke Memorial Scholarship to pursue graduate study in creative writing.


Jessica Palmer won the Beinecke Memorial Scholarship ($32,000). Jessica, a double major in English and Biology, also won a Goldwater Scholarship ($7,500), an award in science.


Additional Awards

Bridget Kustin '05 earned a Fulbright research grant which allowed her to spend time in Bangladesh interviewing urban and rural Islamic religious leaders and development officials, assessing the efficacy of U.S.-funded initiatives.  She was also awarded a fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies and studied language in Calcutta, India.

Candace Barlow won a Fulbright Fellowship (1994) to study in Germany. Candace was a double major in English and German.

Juniper Ellis won an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities (1992-97), a Fulbright Fellowship (1993) to study in New Zealand, and a Jacob J. Javits Fellowship (1992; declined).

Other Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships in the Humanities have been won by Eric Spencer, Nathan (Nate) Johnson, and Karen Kingsbury.


English Alumni

Matthew Manley '11 is teaching English at Chiang Mai University in Thailand.

Eleanor Gold '11 is pursuing a Ph.D. in English at SUNY, Buffalo.

Mikayla Hunter '11 is pursuing an MA in English Literature at the University of Bristol in England.

Jocelyn Richard '10 is a contributing writer for The Onion.

Rebecca Levy '10 is pursuing a Ph.D. in English at the University of Virginia.

Mia Kaplan '10 is pursuing a Master's degree in Education at UCLA.

Connor Guy '10 spent a year teaching English at Robison Middle School in Las Vegas, NV, through the Teach for America program. He is currently applying to graduate programs in English Literature.

Betsy Nortz '10 attended Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI, training for a position as an officer in the United States Navy.

Jake Kinstler '09 will pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Alabama.

Erin Salvi '08 is an editor at Playscripts, Inc.

Kristen Rue '08 earned her MFA from the University of Washington.  She is the recipient of a Joyce Waddell fellowship, and her work has been nominated for inclusion in the Best New American Voices anthology and for a Pushcart Prize; she was a finalist in the FENCE/Summer Literary Seminars annual contest and maintains a blog entitled A Blog of One's Own.

Geoff Waring '08 earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University.

Baron Haber '08 is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urban.

James Babcock '07 earned his J.D. at the Lewis & Clark School of Law and is now a practicing attorney.

Tania Lown-Hecht '07 is pursuing a Ph.D. in English at the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana.

Sahalie Hashim '07 earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas El Paso.

Mary Elizabeth Hawkins '05 earned her JD from the University of Washington School of Law and practices immigration law in Seattle.

Bonnie J. Rough '00 earned her MFA in Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa.  She is the author of the award-winning memoir Carrier: Untangling the Danger in my DNA (Counterpoint, 2010).

Emily Luthra '99 earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College.

Colleen Colby '97 earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana.

Katie Ford '97 earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa and her D.D. from Harvard Divinity School.  She was the recipient of a 2008 Lannan Literary Fellowship and is the author of Deposition (Graywolf 2001) and Colosseum (Graywolf 2008).

Su Fang Ng '93 earned her MA in English Literature with a certificate in Women's Studies from Emory University and her Ph.D. in English Language and  Literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is Associate Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma and is the author of Literature and the Politics of Family in the Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge University Press, 2007).