Montana State University

Three from MSU receive Fulbright Fellowships

July 7, 2011 -- By MSU News Service


Three recent MSU graduates will spend a year abroad as recipients of Fulbright Fellowships. From left, Dan Cornish of Butte will teach in Turkey, Jayme Kreitinger of Manhattan, Mont., will conduct research in Jordan and Sasha Dingle, a freeskier and honors student from Jericho, Vt., will teach in Vietnam as recipients of the prestigious fellowship. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
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Three recent graduates of Montana State University have received Fulbright Fellowships for one year of international research or teaching.

The MSU Fulbright Fellowship recipients are:

  • Dan Cornish of Butte, an MSU graduate in math and photography who is taking pre-med requirement courses at MSU, received a fellowship to teach in Turkey;
  • Sasha Dingle of Jericho, Vt., who graduated magna cum laude from MSU in December with a degree in psychology and is a competitive freeskier, received a Fulbright to Vietnam; and
  • Jayme Kreitinger of Manhattan, Mont., who recently graduated from MSU with a Master's of Public Administration degree and coordinates MSU's study abroad programs, received a Fulbright research grant to Jordan.

In addition, Ivie English, a 2009 MSU graduate from Great Falls who received degrees in Spanish and psychology, received a Fulbright at-large to teach in Mexico.

Sally O'Neill, Fulbright Program adviser in the MSU Office of International Programs, said the awards will allow each recipient a round-trip airplane ticket and a monthly living stipend, which varies depending on country of service.

"A Fulbright is a very prestigious award, extremely well-known all around the world," O'Neill said. "Being a Fulbright grantee opens doors for your professional career.

Cornish, Dingle and Kreitinger said their time at MSU opened doors to new interests and directions that helped them earn the coveted one-year international studies fellowship.

Cornish, who is now completing course requirements that will allow him to apply to medical school, said that when he first arrived at MSU as a freshman he was "unfocused and undirected." He credits excellent faculty at MSU who inspired him -- Ian van Coller and Kyle Bajakian in photography, Nora Smith, then in University Studies, and Russell Walker in math. Active in a variety of organizations he was an ASMSU senator, played MSU team soccer and was a tutor for MSU's TRIO program for underrepresented students. He said he fell in love with both math and photography, which he said "gave him a concrete skill set." While an undergraduate, he received an MSU Undergraduate Scholars Program grant to do a photography project in Turkey.

"And I'm very excited to go back," he said. Since graduating from MSU in 2009, Cornish worked for Canon Photography as a teacher and guide for photography caravan courses in national parks and also became a certified EMT. While he said he loved teaching, he decided to pursue his dream to become a doctor. While in Turkey, he will photograph Turkish youth as well as teach English.

Kreitinger, who has helped countless MSU students see the world with international student exchanges, knows what it is like to have an itch to travel. She completed two exchanges when she was an MSU undergraduate majoring in modern languages. Her first, her sophomore year, was to Spain. While there she took an excursion to Morocco, which she called "a magical experience." She returned to MSU with one thought -- returning one day to Morocco -- and she began to study Arabic through MSU's award-winning, distance-based Arabic language program. She perfected her Arabic skills with an exchange to Morocco her senior year, eventually studying at the University of Jordan. While working in MSU's Office of International Programs as the study abroad coordinator, she also completed coursework for a Master's in Public Administration. Her Fulbright will take her to Aman, Jordan where she will research grass roots democracy initiatives in the Middle East. She eventually plans to obtain a doctorate in Middle Eastern Studies.

Dingle came to MSU to ski on the alpine team and is leaving with a commitment to complete a Ph.D. and pursue a career in global public health and social work. Dingle said her life plans were transformed by her position at the MSU Leadership Institute and a University Honors Program trip to the Dominican Republic, which stirred an interest in international development and health.

During her involvement with the MSU Leadership Institute she was a member of a team that brought national thinkers such as Nicholas Kristof and Tom Brokaw to MSU. She was instrumental in developing MSU Sustained Dialogue, which focuses on finding commonalities in areas of disagreement. While at MSU, she switched from downhill to freeskiing. She now competes on the World Tour. Skiing will be on hold for a year when she teaches English in Vinh City, Vietnam.

"My mother is from Vietnam," Dingle said, explaining that her mother came to the U.S. when she was 16. Dingle said that she plans to learn Vietnamese and more about the country's culture.

O'Neill said this is the largest number of Fulbright grants that MSU has received for several years.

"This is a very good year for MSU," she said. "We had some good applicants and a good success rate. I feel very fortunate to have the privilege to work with these students every year."

To learn more about applying for a 2012 Fulbright, contact O'Neill at (406) 994-7688 or email her at sallyo@montana.edu.

Sally O'Neill (406) 994-7688, sallyo@montana.edu