Research fellows in religion and conflict win prestigious awards

Undergraduate Research Fellows at the Center for the Study of Religion and Confl

The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University is pleased to announce that four students from the center’s Undergraduate Research Fellows Program have received prestigious scholarships to help them continue their studies in the United States and abroad.

Alysha Green and Cristian Cirjan have both received national awards to extend their studies overseas. Green, a 2013-2014 undergraduate research fellow, has been awarded a Fulbright award to teach in Brazil, and Cirjan, a 2012-2013 fellow, has a received a Boren award for international study in Romania.

Additionally, Abbey Pellino and Emily Fritcke have been awarded elite fellowships that will offer mentorship and training as they pursue careers in public service. Pellino, a 2014-2015 fellow, has been selected as one of 20 undergraduates nationwide for the Undergraduate Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, and Fritcke, a 2012-2013 fellow, has been awarded ASU’s College of Public Programs Spirit of Service Scholarship.

The undergraduate fellows program accepts motivated students from diverse areas of study to participate in faculty-directed research projects that are relevant to the study of religion and conflict. Students also participate in a seminar facilitated by the center’s director, Linell Cady, where they have the opportunity to meet with scholars and experts who visit the center each year.

“It is a pleasure to work with the fellows as they move through the program and go on to pursue their own research and professional goals,” said Cady, also a professor of religious studies at ASU. “They are an immensely talented group, and we are grateful to our Friends of the Center for their support of the fellowship program.”

Green, a global studies student and recent graduate of ASU, will travel to Brazil in March to participate in the English Teaching Assistantship Program as part of her Fulbright award.

While in Brazil, Green will work at a college campus teaching English to university students. In addition to developing and leading language learning activities, Green plans to take Portuguese classes, learn to cook traditional Brazilian cuisine and volunteer for local non-profits.

Green says her experience as a fellow and the mentorship of the professor she worked with, Angelita Reyes, played a significant role in her achievement. “I didn’t know what a Fulbright was until Dr. Reyes encouraged me to go to an informational meeting and apply. Outside of introducing me to the program, the discussions I was able to participate in during the fellows’ seminars made me aware of how much more there is to learn and see around the world.”

Cristian Cirjan, a biomedical engineering student, was awarded David L. Boren funding to spend a year in Romania studying the Romanian language and seeking to understand the trends and problems in the Romanian health care system from the perspective of health care professionals.

Cirjan plans to use his background in biomedicine and his knowledge of the Romanian language to explore ways to improve conditions in Romania’s health care system. He hopes this experience will prepare him for a career either in the U.S. Department of Defense Public Health Service Commissioned Corps or as an international public health analyst in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In addition to his research into Romania’s health care system, Cirjan will take advanced Romanian language classes, and will take advantage of the vibrant intellectual and cultural community of Cluj-Napoca – home to his academic institution abroad, Babes-Bolyai University.

Abbey Pellino, a senior majoring in global studies and sociology, will receive financial support for her senior year at ASU and her first year of graduate study from the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship.

The fellowship will cultivate her interest in pursuing a career in foreign service by offering her the opportunity to participate in relevant internships and receive mentoring from foreign service officers.

She believes her interest and involvement in the center’s programs played a significant role in having her stand out among other applicants. “Applying for the center’s programs was a great choice for me. It has allowed me to continue to work on my concurrent degrees while providing me the opportunity to pursue more specific interests through the center's certificate and research fellowship programs.”

Similarly, Emily Fritcke, a senior studying English literature and history, has also had the opportunity to investigate topics relevant to her career goals through her participation in the center’s fellows and certificate programs. Fritcke will further explore her interests in education and national security through the Spirit of Service Scholarship.

As part of the program, Fritcke will receive mentorship from high-profile leaders, and education on core topics for a career in public service. “The knowledge of world issues and the mentorship I gained as a fellow cultivated my desire to be a more active member in my local and global community,” says Fritcke. “I owe much of my success to the center and its staff for the support they have showed me throughout my undergraduate career.”

To learn more about the center’s undergraduate programs, please visit our education section.

To find out how you can support the Undergraduate Fellows Program, join the Friends of the Center.