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Two Fulbrights for Calvin
May 18, 2005

A Calvin senior set to graduate this week and a recent alumnus are recipients of prestigious Fulbright Full Grants for 2005.

Aaron Iverson, 22, a native of Radnor, Ohio, earned a Fulbright to spend 2005-2006 studying sustainable agriculture at the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina in Peru. He will graduate from Calvin on May 21.

James Robin King, 22, a 2004 Calvin graduate from Indianapolis, Indiana, will study the application of Islamic teaching on non-violence to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict at the University of Jordan's Center for Strategic Studies in Amman.

Calvin history professor Bruce Berglund helps advise the college's Fulbright candidates and is thrilled that the college will have a pair of Fulbright-funded scholars studying abroad next academic year.

"Fulbright is well-recognized even by people outside academic circles," says Berglund. "For the college to have two students who are honored in this national competition is evidence of the high caliber of students Calvin has and the quality of the academic preparation they receive while they're here."

Both Iverson and King are self-motivated students, making them ideal Fulbright candidates, Berglund says.

"These students have to go overseas, work independently, take courses in a university and do an independent research project," he says. "They need to have the intellectual ability as well as the experience and the temperament to work independently overseas."

Berglund says both Calvin recipients are also well-prepared for Fulbright study by their educational backgrounds and life experience.

Iverson will graduate with both a B.A. in Spanish and a B.S. in biology and has studied third-world development through a Calvin semester program in Honduras and participation in an interim in Belize and Costa Rica. He has also conducted microbiological research in South African gold mines on a 2003 summer program funded by the National Science Foundation.

King, who earned his B.A. in political science and interdisciplinary-Middle East studies, has studied in Cairo with the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities Middle East Studies Program and studied Arabic at Middlebury College Language School. He has also served on a Christian Peacemaker Teams violence reduction project in the West Bank.

Says Berglund: "They both have a genuine interest in service and a commitment to social justice, whether it's demonstrated through sustainable agriculture in South America or non-violence in the Middle East. With both of them, it's clear that their academic work, their personal interests and their awareness of the calling to serve others have all come together in the programs they have proposed."

The United States Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946, immediately after World War II, to foster mutual understanding, among nations through educational and cultural exchange. Senator J. William Fulbright, sponsor of the legislation, saw it as a step towards building an alternative to armed conflict.

The U.S. Student Fulbright Program awards approximately 1,100 grants annually to highly qualified students - advanced doctoral candidates, students in master's and professional programs and recent college graduates - to study, conduct research and teach in one of 140 countries. A Fulbright grant provides the recipient with funding for overseas travel, university tuition, and maintenance, including health and accident insurance, for one academic year.