Oberlin Conservatory Claims Record Number of Fulbright Finalists

May 13, 2020
Erich Burnett
Fulbright Program
Photo credit: courtesy Fulbright

Honored students for 2020-21 plan musical studies across Europe, teaching in India, and more.

Five students with ties to Oberlin Conservatory have been named Fulbright Finalists for 2020-21, a record year for an institution already renowned for producing Fulbright honorees.

Among this year’s finalists, four are current students at Oberlin scheduled to graduate this month; a fifth finalist is a recent alumna who applied through Oberlin.

The conservatory’s five Fulbright Finalists for 2020-21 and their areas of study are as follows:

Rania Adamczyk ’20 (double degree in composition and cinema studies): English-language teaching assistantship in India.

Sophia Bass ’20 (degree in musical studies): Study of Carnatic music in India.

Maggie Kinabrew ’20 (double degree in vocal performance and math): Study of Finnish song in Helsinki, Finland.

Karisma Palmore ’20 (double degree in flute performance and independent major in Romance languages): Study of flute and influence of foreign languages on learning in Rennes, France.

Celina Kobetitsch ’18 (degree in piano performance): Study of organ in Leipzig, Germany.

Dating to 1946, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the nation’s largest international exchange program, with approximately 8,000 grants awarded annually in support of graduate study, advanced research, and teaching in more than 160 countries around the world. The Fulbright Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, with support from numerous foreign and domestic organizations.

“The Fulbright Program is a transformative experience for students,” says Dana Jessen, director of Conservatory Professional Development at Oberlin. “Not only are they engaging on a professional level with leading practitioners in their field; they are also immersing themselves in the culture of the country where they reside. During their time abroad, these students serve as cultural ambassadors as well as Oberlin ambassadors throughout the world. Many report back that the experience was life-changing for them, both personally and professionally.”

All told, 13 students representing Oberlin College and Oberlin Conservatory were named Fulbright Finalists for 2020-21. Oberlin has long been a leading producer of Fulbright students and has been named to Fulbright’s Top Producing Institutions list for 11 consecutive years.

“Conservatory students have been a part of that long tradition of success,” says Nick Petzak, Oberlin’s director of fellowships and awards. “Having five this year is fantastic, and a real testament to the extent Oberlin students and supportive faculty and staff have embraced the Fulbright mission to promote mutual understanding and cultural exchange in all fields, including the arts.”

The conservatory’s previous high-water mark for Fulbrights in a single year was four, which happened in 1959.

As the Fulbright Program reacts to the global situation regarding the spread of the novel coronavirus, the status of current and newly announced Fulbright awards remains in question. In March, Fulbright suspended all programs for U.S. participants in accordance with the State Department’s Global Level 4 Health Advisory, which called for all Americans abroad to return to the states or prepare to shelter in place. Some Fulbright projects for the coming year have already been postponed, while others have been delayed to late fall or early 2021.

Learn more about Oberlin’s past recipients of Fulbright awards and other top honors.

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