June 29, 2012
Enriching experience: Three graduates named 2012 Fulbright Scholars
From working with elephants in Kenya to teaching English in Mexico and South Africa, three Kansas State University graduates soon will be lending a hand in foreign countries as Fulbright scholars.
Ariel Anib, May 2012 bachelor's graduate in sociology, Olathe, will go to Mexico; Mark Sowers, May 2012 bachelor's graduate in biology, Spring Hill, will go to Kenya; and McKenzie Snow, May 2011 bachelor's graduate in political science, Wichita, will go to South Africa.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Program was established in 1946 to increase mutual understanding among people of the United States and foreign countries. The program fully funds graduating seniors, graduate students or recent graduates for nine months to serve in one of more than 140 countries worldwide.
"The Fulbright program is an excellent program for any student interested in the global outlook, making world-wide connections and learning from others around the world," said James Hohenbary, K-State assistant dean for nationally competitive scholarships. "Ariel, Mark and McKenzie are great representatives for Kansas State University, and I'm excited to see them have the opportunity to learn and serve internationally."
Anib will leave in August for Guanajuato, Mexico. She will teach English part time at the Instituto Tecnologico Superior de Guanajuato. Her remaining time will be spent volunteering with battered woman in the area. By fighting poverty with education, she will play a preventive role against human trafficking -- an issue she has been fighting since she was a freshman.
"Providing equal access to education, such as teaching English, fights poverty and prevents human trafficking," Anib said. "I just see it all as so connected."
Anib has earned many honors and awards for her work while at K-State, including: the Dean of Student Life Outstanding Graduating Senior Award; Pat J. Bosco Outstanding Graduating Senior for the School of Leadership Studies; Truman Scholarship nominee; Commerce Bank Award for Enhancing Multiculturalism; K-State PROUD Hero Award; and Wildcat Peace Award. Graduating from the university cum laude, Anib is the daughter of Rhonda Workcuff and Raymond Moses-Anib, both of Olathe.
Sowers will leave in September to perform research at the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. The project is the longest study of wild elephants in the world. At 10 years old, Sowers became interested in the project after seeing it featured on a nature show and wrote a letter to the project's founder and director, Cynthia Moss.
"I had always been interested in wildlife, elephants in particular, but until I saw it on TV I didn't really realize working with wildlife was something that I could make into a profession," Sowers said.
Sower's letter resulted in continuous communications between him and Moss and three short internships for the project. Working with Kenyans, Sowers will research wild elephants using tracking collars. He has been preparing by taking classes in Swahili and performing undergraduate research at K-State using geographic information systems.
"I am looking forward to learning how people and elephants can coexist," Sowers said. "The human population is there to stay, but we hope we can find a way for elephants and other wildlife to remain in their native range as well. If conservation efforts like this are going to be successful, we have to understand how to make coexistence possible in a way that benefits both humans and wildlife."
Sowers has received the Nancy Landon Kassebaum Scholarship, Civic Leadership Scholarship and the Mark A. Chapman Scholarship. A cum laude graduate of the university, Sowers is the son of Paul and Diana Sowers, Spring Hill.
Snow will leave in January 2013 to teach English to students in South Africa and will return in October 2013, in accordance with the South African school year. Equal access to education remains a problem in South Africa where people are still fighting the aftermath of apartheid -- a system of racial segregation started after World War II, Snow said. Although English is the official language of instruction in South Africa, less than 10 percent of the population speak it as their native language. In addition to teaching English, Snow would like to begin a Big Brothers Big Sisters international chapter in the area.
"I believe that community and public service are not obligations; service is not something one should be stimulated to do out of guilt or in search of an emotional reward," Snow said. "Instead, my commitment to service stems from an innate responsibility and the knowledge that it is a part of leading a full life. I have applied this knowledge to my private and professional life accordingly and hope to awaken this passion in others.
While at Kansas State University, Snow was active with student government, honorary societies and her sorority. She has begun her master's degree at Lund University in Sweden as a Rotary Ambassadorial scholar and has researched in the Ashanti Region of Ghana as a Chapman scholar. She received a 2010 Undergraduate Fellowship for the Study of Classical Liberalism and was a 2010 Truman Scholarship Finalist, among other scholarships and awards. Snow is the daughter of Windell Snow and Brenda Gerleman-Snow, Wichita.