The Chosen

Prestigious Scholarships Offer World of Opportunity to Four Young Rollins Standouts

Brooke Harbaugh with students in China.

Onstage in Argentina

By Maureen Harmon

The process to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship can take a while. Brooke Harbaugh ’06 knows. There are applications to fill out. A “first round” of acceptances to get through. Fulbright committee members to charm. “You go about your life and do other things,” Harbaugh said, “…just in case.”

Though she had applied for an English teaching assistantship with Fulbright, Harbaugh couldn’t just wait around. So after graduation, she moved to China. Scholarship or not, she’d be doing what she wanted to do: teach children English. It was the perfect way to pass the time. When she did hear that she had been accepted for the Fulbright and would be teaching English in Argentina, she had quite a move ahead of her—a nearly 12,000-mile trip (with a 12-day layover in Florida to hang out with her family whom she hadn’t seen for more than a year and wouldn’t see again for another 10 months).

Harbaugh arrived in the city of Bariloche, Argentina in March 2008. “While Fulbright was generous with their stipend, I chose to save up travel money by spending some of my time there living frugally in a dilapidated little house with a terrible landlady and spiders and a roof that leaked when it rained,” she said. “I had what I needed, though.” That’s shelter, food, and a classroom full of teenagers eager to learn English.

Harbaugh’s unique approach to teaching English—she used theater as a backdrop—surely fueled her students’ enthusiasm. Their main assignment was to put on plays, among them The Secret Garden and The Wizard of Oz, and work through the English script in rehearsals and the final performances.“I was happy to offer something fun,” Harbaugh said, “and not make learning such a chore.”

Harbaugh, who returned to the States in December, misses the students she spent 10 months getting to know. “You remember all of them. They’re all different, all lovely,” she said. Now, she’s on to a very different adventure: living in New York City, where she’s looking for work, interviewing with children’s theater organizations, and hoping to pursue social/community activism through the arts.

Shannon Brown mimics a statue of Woody Allen in Spain.

Involved in an International Affair

By Laura J. Cole ’04 ’08MLS

Shannon Brown ’10 has a new opportunity to explore the world, learn about other cultures, and enhance global relationships. Named one of 20 recipients from among hundreds of applicants, Brown was awarded the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, which funds award recipients for three years of foreign study in exchange for four-and-a half years of work in the Foreign Service.

An international relations major and Spanish minor, Brown spent her first two years on campus discovering an interest in and commitment to international affairs. In addition to being a member of the Honors Degree Program, the Philosophy Club, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, as well as an editor of the Rollins Undergraduate Research Journal, she led a student effort to start an Arabic program at Rollins. Not one to miss an opportunity to learn more, she spent her summer in the Rollins Student-Faculty Collaborative Research program researching sustainable energy policies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Last fall, Brown extended her studies off campus by spending the semester in Oviedo, Spain as part of the Rollins in Asturias program and by traveling— in her free time—around Europe. Brown is spending the spring semester in Morocco, where she hopes to learn more of the language she canvassed to bring to Rollins and to pursue the interests sparked at Rollins: democratization, human rights, conflict resolution, and the Middle East.

Sally Woods in Spain.

Lessons Taught—and Learned—in Madrid

By Maureen Harmon

Sometimes it’s the most mundane things that can be the most nerve-wracking when you’re in a land far from home. Like signing a lease for an apartment in Madrid when the lease is written entirely in Spanish— and you’re from Fort Lauderdale. Just that small task of signing her name on the dotted line made Sally Woods ’05 nervous. Sure, she knew some Spanish— she had to in order to be in Madrid on a Fulbright Fellowship teaching English to elementary-school children. But the intricacies and legalese of a lease? In the end, Woods decided to go with the laid-back spirit that’s abundant in Spain and signed away.

While the relaxed way of life has been a bonus, says Woods, who arrived in Madrid on her Fulbright Fellowship in September 2008, it has also presented plenty of challenges to her American way of thinking. “The banks there are only open until 2:00 p.m.,” she said. “There’s no 24-hour Walmart. There just aren’t a lot of the same conveniences we’re used to.” But she does get two-hour lunch breaks, and during that time she can take a walk in a local park, or go out to eat, or sit down to tapas with her fellow teachers at the school.

Woods’ first day on the job led her to one student in particular who was exhibiting signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Woods mentioned her observation to the child’s teacher, who confirmed her belief. “I’m drawn to those kids,” said Woods, who taught students with special needs near her hometown of Parkland, Florida and during a brief stay in New Orleans, where she taught in a public school for Teach for America—a stay that was cut short by Hurricane Katrina.

When she isn’t working with the students, Woods leads conversation groups with her fellow teachers. They play ice breaker games, watch clips from American movies, and discuss current events—all in an effort to help perfect the teachers’ English-speaking skills. And the learning goes both ways. “I’d taken plenty of Spanish courses, but I’ve found that actually experiencing everyday life in another place is the best way to learn another language and gain an understanding of another culture.”

After she completes her fellowship this summer, Woods plans to resume teaching elementary school in Broward County, Florida while pursuing a master’s degree in linguistics. “I plan to draw from my experiences in Spain to help improve communication with Spanish-speaking parents,” she said. “And I hope to find a place in South Florida where I can continue my flamenco dancing!”

Nicholas Horton stands in front of the Bush Science Center. Photo by Laura J. Cole '04 '08MLS.

Scholar in Motion

By Laura J. Cole ’04 ’08MLS

A physics major and chemistry minor, Nicholas Horton ’09 is passionate about how energy, forces, and motion work and how substances interact. Not wasting any time in setting in motion his goal of converting a lifelong passion for science into a successful career, he applied for—and was awarded—a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, which is helping to fund his educational endeavors. The scholarship, which requires students to be nominated by faculty representatives, is aimed at providing a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.

One of 321 scholarship winners selected from a pool of over 1,000 students, Horton is used to being at the top of the class. Even before arriving at Rollins, he was selected as one of 10 students from an entering class of more than 400 to be awarded a Cornell Scholarship, which provides full tuition, fees, and room and board for four years. As a first-year student, he was one of the youngest scientists selected to participate at the Polar Aeronomy and Radio Science (PARS) Summer School program, which also included graduate students from MIT and Stanford. To prepare for the program, Horton was given one-on-one instruction by President Lewis Duncan, who helped to school him in ionospheric science, solar flares, radio waves, space plasma, and high power radar. Horton also was a semifinalist for the Hertz Scholarship.

While he has achieved stellar academic accomplishments, Horton credits Rollins for providing him with learning and research opportunities he would not have been able to receive elsewhere. As an example, he cites the original research he was able to conduct on landmine detection using laser technology, under the guidance of Professor of Physics Thomas Moore as part of the Student-Faculty Collaborative Research program. In addition, he spent the fall 2008 semester studying in Hong Kong.

Horton, who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in optics or applied physics, has been accepted to several prestigious graduate schools and is applying for a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.