The Future Looks Fulbright
Two Greyhounds win prestigious fellowships for overseas service, research
July 23, 2012
As a child, Emma Cogan read atlases and National Geographic and dreamed about traveling the world. In her senior year at Loyola, she secured an internship at an organization working to promote dialogue between Western and Islamic communities.
Anna Nguyen, whose parents fled Vietnam by boat, was 12 when her father was diagnosed with cancer, which he survived. She spent last summer conducting cancer biology research in a laboratory at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.
Now these two members of the Class of 2012 are blending their backgrounds, interests, and hopes for the future as they prepare to begin their prestigious Fulbright Fellowships abroad. Cogan has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to teach English in schools in Malaysia. Nguyen has received a Fulbright grant to return to the same laboratory in the University of Lausanne’s Institute of Pathology to research cancer stem cells in malignant bone and soft tissue tumors.
As they prepare to go abroad, Cogan and Nguyen are continuing Loyola’s recent Fulbright tradition. They are the fourth and fifth Loyola students to be awarded Fulbright Fellowships in the past four years. It’s a tradition that Arthur Sutherland, Ph.D., director of Loyola’s national fellowships office, hopes will continue.
Five years ago Sutherland started asking why Loyola students weren’t consistently winning Fulbright Fellowships.
“I did research at all the area schools, and what I discovered was that our students were under-applying. And the second thing I found was that they needed to be confident that they could do it,” he said. “My main goal was to show Loyola students that they were competitive.”
It was her father’s successful fight against cancer that sparked Nguyen’s interest in sarcomas, malignant tumors of the bone and soft tissue. “This lab in particular studies sarcomas, which are not too popularly studied around the world,” said Nguyen, who worked with a diverse group of researchers from other European countries last summer. “There’s not much known about their biology and that’s why they’re so difficult to treat.”
Understanding the anxiety and uncertainty of a family with a loved one fighting cancer helped determine Nguyen’s path. “That’s really what led me to pursue medicine,” said Nguyen, of Clifton, Va. “I realized that helping cancer patients is not just by treating them, but finding new ways of completely stopping the cancer.”
CROSSROADS OF CULTURE
Cogan, a history major and philosophy minor from Kensington, Md., will be assigned to a small rural town. “We might be the only Americans these people are going to meet,” said Cogan, who will divide her time between helping English teachers and participating in or leading school-related activities.
“I got interested in Malaysia because it’s so religiously and culturally and ethnically diverse,” said Cogan. “It’s a fascinating crossroads of culture.”
Cogan was also accepted into Teach for America—though she has deferred her acceptance until after she returns from Malaysia. But she isn’t sure what she wants to do next.
“I debate between doing international relations or international law,” she said. “The blessing and the curse of the liberal arts degree is that you can do so many things.”