Awardee Database

Awardees

Leah Balter

Leah Balter will use this award to support her case study on Norway’s overlapping Covid-19 pandemic and
Ukrainian refugee crisis responses. Leah earned her BA in Biology from Sanford University. After completing her Fulbright, she plans to attend medical school and envisions a career as a physician-activist specializing in refugee health.

Jen Shaneberger

Jen Shaneberger is conducting research for her PhD in International Relations/Comparative Politics with the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. This award will support her research on how political rhetoric impacts migrants’ ability to find and maintain employment in association with Linköping University. She plans to defend her dissertation in November 2024 and submit a chapter for publication in the Journal of International Migration and Integration. Her ultimate career goal is to become a Foreign Service Officer.

Cassandra Alvariño

Cassandra Alvariño will use this award to support her research on Sweden’s bid to join NATO in association with the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg as part of her dual Master’s degree in European Studies and Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She plans to pursue a career in diplomacy as a Foreign Service Officer.

Viviana Prado-Núñez

Viviana Prado-Núñez, a graduate of Columbia University, won the 2023 Morocco Project Support Award for her audio series “How to Kill Tigers”, aiming to explore Latino-Moroccan cultural connections and musician migration to Morocco. The Project Support Award will enhance the podcast by funding Spanish translation, marketing, distribution, the creation and recording of Latino-Moroccan-fused theme music.

After Fulbright, she plans to pursue several projects, including the publication of a docufiction bilingual novel about Vieques, Puerto Rico, and the production of her play about Hurricane Maria. She is also considering a graduate degree in theater or Puerto Rican studies. Her ultimate goal is to return to Puerto Rico to live as an artist and perhaps teach at the university level one day.

Sassan Tabatabai

Sassan Tabatabai won the 2023 Persian Translation Prize for his translation of Sadeq Hedayat’s Blind Owl. Tabatabai holds a prominent position as the head of the Persian program at Boston University, where he regularly teaches all levels of Persian language and literature. His multifaceted expertise extends beyond academia, encompassing roles as a poet, translator, editor, and scholar specializing in medieval Persian literature. His work has appeared in a number of publications including Essays in Criticism, The Christian Science Monitor, Literary Imagination, The Republic of Letters, Senecca Review, Leviathan Quarterly and Harvard Review Online. He is the author of Father of Persian Verse: Rudaki and his Poetry (Leiden University Press, 2010), Uzunburun: Poems (Pen and Anvil, 2011) and Sufi Haiku (Nemi Books, 2021).

Jody Enders

Jody Enders, Distinguished Professor of French and Theater at the University of California, Santa Barbara, received the 2022 MLA-Roth Award for her translation of Immaculate Deception and Further Ribaldries: Yet Another Dozen Medieval French Farces in Modern English. In this collection of twelve French farces, Enders invites the readers to explore the controversial topics of French culture during the time through a blend of hilarity and satire. Published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, Enders’s translation has received glowing remarks from the MLA Committee, hailing Enders for her “technical translation prowess, scholarly rigor, and guffaw-inducing creative humor.” Enders not only challenges the modern-day perception of the Middle Ages as a grim period but also harnesses the comedic essence of these stories to encourage readers to reconsider contemporary issues through the lens of historical satire.

Marjorie Perloff

Marjorie Perloff received an honorable mention for the 2022 MLA-Roth Translation Award for her translation of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Private Notebooks, 1914–1916. Perloff introduces to the English-speaking world, and even to the German-speaking sphere where these notebooks aren’t widely accessible in their original form, documents that are indispensable for gaining a clearer understanding of both Wittgenstein’s life story and the genesis of his book, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, during the war years. Through her meticulous translation, readers are invited to not only engage with Wittgenstein’s philosophical insights but also to contemplate the sociocultural contexts that influenced his thoughts.

Petra Reid & Jim Dingley

Petra Reid and Jim Dingley received the second honorable mention of the MLA-Roth Translation Award for their translation of Alhierd Bacharevič’s Alindarka’s Children. Originally published in Belarusian, Russian, and a hybrid of the two languages, this darkly satirical fantasy weaves together elements of childhood, forests, family dynamics, and the complexities of language. The translation of this work into English by Petra Reid and Jim Dingley expertly captures the essence of the original text, maintaining its dissonant and multi-layered nature.

Sasha Dugdale

Sasha Dugdale won the MLA- Roth award for her translation of Maria Stepanova’s In Memory of Memory: A Romance. Maria Stepanova’s In Memory of Memory: A Romance is a bold exploration of personal identity and Jewish life during the last years of Soviet Union. The result is a deep reflection on personal memory and the Russian past, revealing the story of how an ordinary Jewish family survive persecutions and repressions of the last century. Published by New Directions Press and highly praised by the MLA committee as “the work of a poet,” Sasha’s translation contributes a unique interpretation and perspective on the power and potential of personal and cultural memory.

Jennifer Grotz and Piotr Sommer

Jennifer Grotz and Piotr Sommer received an honorable mention for the 2021 MLA-Roth Translation Award for their translation of Jerzy Ficowski’s Everything I Don’t Know: Selected Poems. Their translated selections of the poetry published by Jerzy Ficowski from 1957 to 2006, offering an excellent representation of the development of his poetic voice. Ficowski writes about a drop of water, a stove burner, one single louse, or a bird’s flight yet succeeds in evoking immense historical loss, cultural resilience against the odds, and at times also the sheer pleasure of being alive. In a thoughtful afterword, Sommer explains that Ficowski’s inventiveness with language makes him a translator’s nightmare.

Mariana Past and Benjamin Hebblethwaite

Marianna Past and Benjamin Hebblethwaite won an honorable mention for their translation of Michael Rolph Trouillot’s Stirring the Pot of Haitian History. Originally published in 1977 and one of the first nonfiction books to be written in Haitian Kreyòl, the book offers an in-depth analysis of a durably divided society in the wake of the Haitian Revolution. The combination of proverbs, wordplay, and songs from popular culture and Marxist criticism provide the readers a glimpse into Haiti’s rich oral storytelling traditions. Mariana Past and Benjamin Hebblethwaite have rendered this unprecedented verbal performance sharply.

Carina Isbell

Carina is conducting research on the agroecology movement and its impact on policy in Uruguay. This award will support her transcription and translation needs as she travels to conduct interviews with community members. Having recently completed her Master’s degree in Community Development and Applied Economics from the University of Vermont, Carina intends to pursue a PhD and conduct further research across the Americas in climate resiliency and food chain sustainability.

László Vizsy

László Vizsy is an Emerging Voices Specialist in the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, Hungary. During László’s thirty-plus years of service, his innovative leadership in outreach to tens of thousands of students, management of five American Corners, interpretation skills, and supervisory skills have been instrumental in furthering cultural understanding and educational opportunities for both countries. Although the relationship has waxed and waned over the years, the overall positive impression of America in Hungary is largely the result of cultural programming led by László Vizsy.

Sami Saaied

Sami Saaied is a Strategic Public Engagement Specialist in the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia. Over more than twenty years managing PD outreach and speaker programs, Sami has used his expertise in grants management, his broad contact base and deep knowledge of the academic scene in Tunisia to bring U.S. perspectives to thought leaders and decision-makers across a wide spectrum of urgent and long-running issues, including PRC influence, business higher education, security cooperation, anti-trafficking, and DEIA. He is recognized for his lasting contributions throughout Mission Tunisia.

Josita Ekouevi

Josita Ekouevi is a Public Engagement Specialist for Established Opinion Leaders in the U.S. Embassy in Lomé, Togo. For twenty-five years, one thousand exchange alumni have considered “Auntie Josita” part of their family for her skill in guiding them to successful exchange experiences. Membership in the self-run Global Alumni Association of Togo is viewed as prestigious and an advantage in Togo’s difficult job market. Generously sharing her expertise with colleagues in other Bureaus and in DC, Josita’s work with participants and alumni represents the highest ideals of U.S. cultural and educational exchanges.

Irina Colin

Irina Colin is an Established Opinion Leaders Specialist in the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau, Moldova. Over twenty-six years, mentoring dozens of new staff, Irina has built a culture of high achievers by her example. A strategic thinker, skillful implementer and trusted colleague, Irina deciphers complexities from Moldova’s culture to the PDSI process to make her section better. Across every segment of Moldovan society there are former USG exchange participants applying their knowledge to Moldova’s challenges thanks to Irina Colin’s years of dedicated service.

Sharon I-Hua Hsieh

Sharon I-Hua Hsieh is recognized for greatly expanding people-to-people ties by spearheading the efforts to launch a new U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative. By nurturing partnerships with several Taiwan ministries, she increased both U.S. and host-country funding for exchanges, making Taiwan’s Fulbright/Foundation for Scholarly Exchange program one of the largest in the region and its English Teaching Assistant Program one of the biggest in the world. She followed up with a strategic plan to make the initiative a sustainable pillar in our bilateral relationship.

Maria Eugenia (‘Jenny’) Verdaguer

Since 2007, Jenny has led a team of international exchange professionals supporting 1,700 participants per year from thirty countries. Jenny pioneered multi-country Fulbright collaborative research initiatives, including the Fulbright Regional Network for Applied Research (NEXUS) Program, and the new Fulbright Amazonia Initiative reflecting current multi-disciplinary and team-based research approaches to academic cooperation on climate change and conservation issues. In a further example of innovative leadership, Jenny introduced regional webinars for Fulbright Commissions and U.S. Embassy staff on mental health and cross-cultural adaptation strategies to strengthen structures of support and inclusion for diverse Fulbright participants. As a bicultural and bilingual Latin Americanist, herself the product of international exchange, Jenny understands first-hand the transformational power of international education, and strives to multiply and enhance Fulbright life-changing experiences across the Americas.

 

Bernice Affotey

Berenice Affotey has motivated and prepared thousands of students to follow their dreams of studying in the United States. In addition, Ms. Affotey generously serves as a trainer and mentor to institutional contacts, her fellow Sub-Saharan African Advisers and at many international education conferences. Every school break brings former students returning from the United States, who are the future civic and cultural leaders of Ghana, to pay a visit to “Auntie Bernice,” as she is affectionately known, to share their deep gratitude for her work, a sentiment shared by the entire Mission.

Laurence (Larry) Socha

Three years after the restoration of U.S. diplomatic presence in Mogadishu after a nearly 30 year absence, Larry Socha is updating the U.S.-Somalia narrative popularized by Hollywood scripts now decades old to an authentic account of partnership with Somali institutions.  Larry kickstarted programs for artists, exchange participants, English Teaching Fellows, a new American Corner and events like his “Family Room Film Series,” that have opened the doors of our Embassy to Somalis living outside the security barriers of the airport and achieved that “last three feet” of people-to-people diplomacy.

Christienne Carroll

Christienne has applied her vision of bringing disparate peoples together and improving their chances for success during a series of assignments in the toughest PD environments. In Iraq (twice), Tunis and her current post, Christienne uses her superior foreign language, programming and grants management skills to offer a broad swath of publics carefully-crafted civic and educational programs with lasting impact.

Dr. Kayln McDonough

Dr. Kayln McDonough is a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Melbourne and an advocate for social justice through sport, particularly for youth and using sport to strengthen communities. Her home institution is University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences’ Partnership for Healthy Communities.

She is applying post doctoral research to sport programming she is leading at a youth detention center in partnership with the Queensland Department of Children, Youth Justice, and Multicultural Affairs, the National Indigenous Sports Foundation (NISF), Confederation of Australian Sport (CAS) and Lacrosse Australia. The objective is to increase access to physical activity, specifically lacrosse, among incarcerated youth. The collaboration of NISF and Lacrosse Australia marks a first of its kind, and can be used as a model for culturally-informed programming among other national sporting bodies.

*The Prix Coindreau Prize, The Jeanne Varnay Pleasants Prize for Language Teaching, and the CASVA-Henry & Judith Millon Award are currently inactive.