Three Clark students receive Fulbright Awards; will study in Germany, Poland and South Korea

Clark University graduate students Michael J. Geheran and Joanna Sliwa, and recent graduate Serena T. Pham, are spending the 2011-12 academic year studying abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The three scholars were selected on the basis of academic or professional achievements, as well as for their demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Geheran of Natick, Mass., will work on his dissertation, “Betrayed Comradeship: German-Jewish WWI Veterans under Hitler,” which focuses on the experience of Jewish war veterans during the Third Reich. Geheran will analyze the self-identities, coping behaviors, survival strategies, and habitus of veterans of Jewish descent under the Nazi regime. His research focuses on three major, interrelated issues: the evolution of Nazi policy regarding Jewish former soldiers; relations between German-Jewish and non-Jewish veterans; and identity. Geheran will spend his summer at Yad Vashem before heading to Germany to search state and local archives for unpublished primary documents, including diaries, letters, personal papers, and official government records in places such as Freiburg, Munich and Berlin-Lichterfelde.

Geheran is pursuing his doctoral degree in Holocaust studies at Clark. He received his bachelor’s degree from Norwich University in 1993 and his MLA from Harvard University in 2005. Geheran graduated from Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in 1989.

Sliwa, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, has received a Fulbright to Poland to pursue research on "Jewish Children in Nazi-Occupied Kraków." Her dissertation examines young people’s experiences from multiple perspectives: the German authorities, Jewish community, gentile neighbors, the Jewish family, and the youth themselves. Hers is a multi-dimensional study of young people’s lives from the moment German forces invaded the city (September 6, 1939) until the liquidation of the ghetto (March 13-14, 1943) or, for those children in hiding, until liberation. Sliwa will work with Edyta Gawron, professor at the Judaic Studies Department at Jagiellonian University, and director of the university’s prestigious Center for the Study of History and Culture of Kraków Jews. While in Warsaw, she will work with Professor Barbara Engelking-Boni, director of the renowned Polish Center of Holocaust Research at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Sliwa is a doctoral student of Holocaust history. She received her master’s degree in Holocaust and Genocide Studies in 2008, and her bachelor’s degree in political science in 2006, both from Kean University.

Pham, of Denver, Colorado, has received funding for "Public Health Outreach to South Korea.” She will conduct a Korean public health-related study and organize volunteer projects for members of socio-economically disadvantaged groups. Pham will also continue a service project she began last summer, securing opportunities for orphans to learn and play in an English-speaking environment, providing emotional and physical support to disabled children, and helping the elderly repair their homes and farms through BEAN Seoul and the Seoul Volunteer Center.

Pham graduated from Clark magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in biochemistry and molecular biology in May.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.