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May 26, 2005



Carolyn Kay

Read about other 2005-06 Fulbright winners from Bryn Mawr:

Add Carolyn Kay '05 to the list of Bryn Mawr students and faculty who have won Fulbright awards (see the May 12 issue for news of three Fulbrights that were announced earlier). The just-graduated double major in biology and mathematics has won a 2005 Fulbright-Hays Exchange Program Grant to support a year of teaching English in Korea.

Kay, whose parents are both Korean immigrants, has visited relatives in Korea but has never lived there.

"I'm expecting to make some profound cultural adjustments," she says. "Even though my parents are from Korea and I've learned some Korean language and culture from them, I'm very much an American."

Kay will leave in July for a six-week orientation program in Korea, after which she will learn where in the country she has been stationed.

"I'll spend 20 hours a week teaching," Kay says, "but the Fulbright Foundation also asks us to undertake a small research project. I'll be looking into ways in which students with learning differences are served by the Korean educational system."

That topic interests her, Kay says, because she has Korean relatives whose learning styles "don't really fit into the educational system. My impression is that the educational system has a one-size-fits-all approach. I'll be interviewing educators and observing classrooms to see what sort of programs are available for students with learning differences, comparing them to what is offered in the United States, and looking at ways new teaching approaches could be adapted to the Korean classroom."

As an undergraduate, Kay played flute in the Haverford-Bryn Mawr Orchestra and, in 2004, won the Gail Ann Schweiter Prize, which is awarded annually to a student in the mathematics or sciences who participates in a public musical performance. She was active in Harvest Christian Fellowship and founded the Bryn Mawr chapter of Unite for Sight, a worldwide nonprofit that works to empower communities around the world to improve eye health and eliminate preventable blindness.

Last year, Kay went to Benin, West Africa, through a a summer-internship grant from Bryn Mawr's Ariadne Solter Fund. There she performed vision screenings, distributed eyeglasses, and promoted eye-health awareness as a Unite for Sight volunteer. During the same summer, ahe also participated in the undergraduate summer science research program. The research she did under the supervision of Associate Professor of Biology David Prescott formed the basis of her senior thesis.

After her Fulbright year, Kay hopes to pursue graduate education, but she hasn't yet settled on a field: "I hope that I'll be able to decide on a focus during the next year!" she says.


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