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2024 Fulbright grant recipients

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Two UD students prepare to immerse themselves in the cultures of Scotland and Mozambique

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Hailey Kremenek (left), an honors art conservation and art history double major, and Meliha Tokay, an honors international relations major, will travel to Scotland and Mozambique as 2024 Fulbright Award recipients.

Two University of Delaware students have accepted 2024 U.S. Department of State Fulbright scholarships. Hailey Kremenek, an honors double major in art conservation and art history, will study textile conservation at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, while Meliha Tokay, an honors international relations major, will head to Mozambique through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program.

The Fulbright Program, the nation’s premier international scholarship program, is designed to foster mutual understanding between United States citizens and people of other countries. A third UD student was offered a Fulbright scholarship but accepted a 2024 Boren Scholarship instead.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards allow young graduates and graduate students the opportunity to conduct research, study or teach English in more than 140 countries.

Hailey Kremenek

Hailey Kremenek became interested in textile conservation after taking an art history course that explored how women were represented in art in ancient Greece and Rome. That class shaped how she views inherent bias and historical methodologies that traditionally omitted female perspectives.

“It could be that the only remnant of a woman’s life is something they wove,” she said.

In her Fulbright application, Kremenek included an extensive portfolio of her work at UD, documenting projects from start to finish and demonstrating her understanding of treatments for different types of textiles and the chemical processes needed in conservation work. Her portfolio included her senior capstone project conserving pieces of lace from Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library’s study collection.

“UD and the Department of Art Conservation, specifically, gave me every opportunity to advance myself as a conservation student,” she said.

Last summer as a Plastino Scholar, Kremenek traveled through Ireland, Belgium and France, meeting with female textile artists and learning the history of what was considered “women’s work.” She is looking forward to delving into Scotland’s textile history, as well as exploring the roots of American craft work, much of which is based in England and Scotland.

The University of Glasgow’s program is one of the few graduate programs that focuses exclusively on textile conservation, which is what drew Kremenek to apply.

“I’m excited to experience the education completely based in textiles, because I’ve breached the surface, but this will establish the foundation for me,” she said.

Meliha Tokay

Last summer, Meliha Tokay interned with UD’s Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Student Leaders, a program that invites young women from sub-Saharan Africa to campus to develop their leadership skills. The experience inspired Tokay to apply for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program in Mozambique so she could learn more about the region.

“Through Western education, I’ve learned about European countries, and I’m Latina, so I have a good background in that culture, but after the internship I realized I want to know more about sub-Saharan Africa,” she said.

Tokay is first-generation American; her mother is from Brazil and her father is from Turkey. Her first language was Portuguese, the official language of Mozambique, and she is looking forward to immersing herself in the language as well as the culture.

“I feel like it’s wrong to want to help a certain area of the world without understanding their culture, and there is only so much you can learn from a textbook,” she said. “How can you be a policymaker if you don’t understand the culture?”

An honors international relations major from Maryland, Tokay plans to work in national security or government relations, and this semester she expanded her experience in public policy as a legislative fellow with the Delaware House Majority Caucus conducting policy research for Delaware legislators.

“I’m honestly just excited to experience something new and come back older and wiser and have a different perspective on the world,” she said. “I don’t want to come back the same person I was when I got there.”

Fulbrights at UD

In 2023-2024, UD was officially designated as a Fulbright Top Producer. The University has had more than 100 Fulbright U.S. Student Program recipients since Donald M. Stewart received an award to study Romance languages and literature in France in 1951.

The 2025-2026 Fulbright U.S. Student Program application cycle is underway, and UD’s deadline is Sept. 8, 2024. Interested seniors, graduate students and alumni are encouraged to contact the UD Fulbright Program Advisor in the Honors College at honors@udel.edu.​

Article by Megan M.F. Everhart 

Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson 

May 22, 2024

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Two UD students prepare to immerse themselves in the cultures of Scotland and Mozambique
Art Conservation; Art History; Political Science and International Relations
 
5/22/2024
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2024 Fulbright grant recipients
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