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John B. Linsley '04, of Topsfield, Massachusetts, has been awarded a Fulbright-Hayes Group Projects Abroad scholarship for intensive Swahili, allowing him to participate in the prestigious program's summer component. It is directed by the African Studies Institute of Georgia.

Linsley is one of only three undergraduates to be awarded funding; the additional 14 participants are currently in graduate programs, at institutions including Boston University, UCLA, Michigan State University and the University of Georgia.

In addition to studying Swahili in Tanzania, the program will also enable participants to travel to a number of places where Swahili is spoken, including Zanzibar, and the historic site of Bagamoyo, formerly one of East Africa's largest slave-trading depots. Participants will also spend time living with host families who speak Swahili as a first language.

Linsley, a government major with minors in African studies and history, credits Visiting International Lecturer in Modern Languages and Literatures Mahiri Mwita as "fundamental" in preparing him for participation in the program.

"This year I completed an independent study under his guidance," Linsley says, "which I will present at the Eighth Annual Conference of the African Language Teachers Association. I am currently taking Intermediate Swahili 103 with Mahiri, which is the fourth Swahili course I have taken at St. Lawrence."

An article by Linsley, about market day in Kenya, was published in the Spring 2004 issue of Abroad View Magazine. It is based on his observances and experiences while studying in the University's program in Kenya during his junior year at St. Lawrence. He also received a travel research grant from the University's Center for International and Intercultural Studies, allowing him to conduct research along the Nile River in the summer of 2002.

In recent years, two other St. Lawrence undergraduates received awards from the Fulbright program. Thomas McFadden '97 received a J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board award for the academic year 1997-98, to study the Bavarian dialects of German in and around Munich and take classes in linguistics at the University of Munich. Brendan T. O'Dell '00 was awarded a Fulbright grant to study in Germany, at the University of Leipzig, taking graduate-level courses in mathematics.

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946, at the end of World War II, to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries, through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills. Its primary source of funding is an annual appropriation made by the United States Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions also contribute financial support through direct cost-sharing, as well as through tuition waivers, university housing, and other benefits.

Posted: April 16, 2004