Eight Madison House Volunteers Receive Fulbright Scholarships:

Shree Baphna

“I think of it as a way for me to understand the power and value behind immersion,” Baphna said. “My future career in public health may involve attempting to understand the experience of other people so that I can figure out what is the best way to help them access the resources they need. For that, I need to have knowledge on how to best communicate with them. More so than that, I must learn how to understand the people I am working with so as to respect who they are and where they come from.”

Baphna was a resident adviser for Housing and Residence Life; a facilitator for the Asian Pacific American Leadership Training Institute; a Madison House volunteer and life columnist for the Cavalier Daily, the independent student newspaper.

John Barton

A resident adviser for two years, Barton was a senior associate for the Spanish Translation section of the Cavalier Daily; a core group leader in Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship; a volunteer as an English as a Second Language teacher through Madison House; and a ULink Peer Adviser. […]

“Whether as an anthropologist or a foreign service officer, responsible and respectful cross-cultural engagement will be the crux of my life’s work,” Barton said. “This grant is an opportunity for me to continue the engagement which I have already begun with Latin communities in a more long-term way. Rather than spending only a few weeks or months immersed in another culture, this Fulbright will allow me to spend at least a year living alongside Argentines, learning from them through personal relationships, professional development and individual interests.”

Carmen Garcia

“A Fulbright fellowship perfectly ties together my interest in Latin American culture and desire to teach English abroad,” Garcia said. “In an era of division and animosity, enhanced communication is more crucial than ever. As an English Teacher Assistant, I will not only be functioning to improve the lives of the individuals in my classroom, but to increase compassion and mutual understanding worldwide. I also look forward to serving the community of Santa Marta, a Caribbean town where many Venezuelan immigrants have taken refuge from the political turmoil in their own country.”

Garcia is a member of Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society; participated in Medlife, the Peru service trip; was an intern at the International Studies Office; a peer mentor for Hispanic/Latinx students; a Madison House volunteer at the International School of Charlottesville….

Madison Hecht

“Autistic people are particularly at risk for sexual victimization, and my project examines a possible protective factor in the sexual health of autistic people — effective sexual health education,” Hecht said. “While working with several autistic self-advocates to ensure my study reflects the needs and values of the autistic community as closely as possible, I will interview parents, teachers and autistic adolescents to better understand the challenges experienced by autistic adolescents regarding sexual health. I will then assess the effectiveness of the national Australian health curriculum in supporting those needs.”

An Echols Scholar, Hecht was program director of medical services at Madison House; a Harrison Undergraduate Research Award recipient; president of Contemplation at UVA, a student group that supports healthy living and resilience through contemplative practices like yoga and meditation; senior writer for the Cavalier Daily Health and Science Section; an Ingrassia Family Research Grant Recipient. 

Claire Hungar

An Echols Scholar, Claire Hungar is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Raven Society, and the Phi Eta Sigma honor society. She was a support officer and outreach coordinator on the Honor Committee; [and] a volunteer with Rise Together for Madison House….

“I have always wanted to fully immerse myself in another culture and take myself out of my comfort zone,” Hungar said. “Fulbright is the perfect opportunity to do this, to expand as an individual and to learn about myself and others. I have always wanted to return to Romania after a brief visit in high school, as I was incredibly touched by the people I met there.”

Aditya Narayan

[Aditya Narayan] was the Madison House Program Director for Medical Services and co-founder of the Creative Learning After School and Summer program […].

“I want to work in the academic medicine space to conduct research as well as innovate in medical education to better prepare the next generation of physicians to address the changing landscape of medical design, public health and health care delivery,” he said.

The Fulbright gives Narayan an opportunity to pursue things he cares about.

“It will grant me the skills and understanding to better understand a broader audience while granting me access to spaces that may otherwise be inaccessible for me,” he said. “I believe I will have the chance to confront challenges which will force me to develop as a scholar, educator and human-centered designer by having to maintain composure and navigate a foreign environment.”

Elin Woolf

Woolf was a resident adviser for Housing and Residence Life; a research assistant in Charles Holt’s experimental economics lab; a Morven Summer Institute Fellow; a Morven Kitchen Garden summer intern; and a Cavs in the Classroom volunteer through Madison House.

“It became clear that my passion for education has always been influencing me, and this realization made me feel more confident in my decision to apply for a Fulbright grant and my plan to later pursue a professorship,” Woolf said.

Ryan Wolfe

Wolfe has received a Harrison Undergraduate Research Award and a Thomas Hammond Award for Excellence in Russian Studies. He is a member of the International Relations Organization; the Washington Literary Society and Debating Union; a Madison House high school tutor; and a Club Ultimate Frisbee player. A graduate of Manchester High School, he plans to work for a think tank, government agency or consulting firm before pursuing a graduate degree.

Wolfe sees his Fulbright experience as a way to expand his horizons.

“As I sharpen my research skills for future employment, I will have the opportunity to meet new people, visit new places and enjoy new experiences that I never would have had otherwise,” Wolfe said. “While the Fulbright program certainly makes it easier to network and connect, I’m mainly looking forward to the new skills and experiences that I will gain during my stay in Lviv.”

Read the rest of this UVA Today article here