Recent Grad Wins Fulbright

DSC_3040Almost from the day she first set foot on the Trinity campus, Stephanie Clemente ’14, aspired to be a Fulbright Scholar. Just a few years later, in March of this year, the Posse Scholar from Elmhurst, New York, learned that she would be going to Indonesia on a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship.

The Fulbright Student Program is the flagship international education program sponsored by the U.S. government. In recent years, Indonesia has been a popular destination for Trinity students, and Clemente, who minored in Arabic, was thrilled to be headed there.

First, however, the double major in international studies and anthropology planned to go to Jordan, having won a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Arabic. The fully funded summer language institute for American college students is sponsored by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She was set to return to the States in August, long enough to do her laundry, repack, and depart for Indonesia.

That Clemente was a double winner, so to speak, was not surprising to Joseph Barber, director of community service and civic engagement at Trinity. “Stephanie’s dedication, passion, enthusiasm, work ethic, competence, and good nature made working with her on a regular basis an absolute pleasure,” said Barber in a letter he wrote on her behalf. He dealt with Clemente mostly through their association with Trinity’s chapter of Amnesty International, for which Barber is the adviser and Clemente twice served as president.

Clemente, whose parents emigrated from the Philippines, said she has long been interested in the plight of refugees, having studied in 2012-13 in Jordan and Denmark, two countries with relatively large refugee populations. Indeed, her interest in refugees was apparent in her first year when she enrolled in the “Global Migration” class taught by Janet Bauer, associate professor of international studies.

Clemente also was a research team leader on Bauer’s Global Hartford Immigrant Entrepreneurship Research Project this spring and conducted research among the Iraqi refugee communities in New Haven and Hartford for her senior thesis, “Fragmented Communities: Addressing War and Injury-Related Trauma through Community Building among Iraqi Refugees in Hartford, Connecticut.”

“The Iraqis that Stephanie interacted with were impressed with her skills in the Arabic language and in her kindness and generosity,” said Bauer last spring. “She will bring a great sensitivity to and respect for the culture and life ways of others to her teaching Fulbright in Indonesia.”