Fulbright Scholarships let Ustudents research overseas

The scholarship gives students airfare compensation and moderate living stipends to conduct their research abroad.

Emily Ayshford

During World War II, the Nazis used Terezin, a ghetto in Czechoslovakia, as a propaganda tool to display the livability of concentration camps to people suspicious of their activities.

Nazi officers allowed Terezin prisoners to self-govern and create an artistic community, including staging theatrical performances for themselves and visitors.

Through a Fulbright scholarship, University theater arts doctoral student Lisa Peschel will travel to the Czech Republic, as it is now called, to study how those performances affected the prisoners and their time in the camp.

Peschel is one of five University students who were awarded Fulbright Scholarships so far this year.

The scholarships offer airfare compensation and a moderate living stipend for students who wish to perform research abroad for varying amounts of time.

University students Ted Brekken, Kristen Jones, Fawna Korhonen and Laura Hammond also received awards.

From studying wind farms in Norway, to teaching English in a German high school, the students’ research and goals cross several disciplines.

Several other University students, who also applied, have not heard back yet.

University Fulbright Scholarship adviser Alison Stoberg said the review committee receives more than 6,000 applicants per year.

The University averages approximately 25 applicants a year. About 50 percent make the first cut and eight or nine of those usually receive the scholarship, Stoberg said.

The scholarship is open to graduate and doctoral students, but graduating seniors are also eligible.

Through documents at the Jewish Museum in Prague, Czech Republic, transcripts of interviews and interviews with living survivors, Peschel said, she hopes to understand why prisoners performed the plays and how the performances affected them.

She will also take a course at Charles University to understand Czech performance traditions before the war, she said.

Peschel said she became interested in the camp when she taught English in the Czech Republic 12 years ago. Although she speaks some Czech, she said, she will take a language-intensive course this summer.

After her year-long stay, Peschel said, she will use the information to write her dissertation and hopes to publish it as a book.