4 new graduates head overseas for a year of study

Chris Valente © Melody Ko

Four just-graduated seniors will be spending the next year studying overseas as Fulbright Scholars. “The large number of students receiving scholarships and awards reflects the inherent quality of our student body, coupled with their initiative and imagination,” says Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow.

Chris Valente, A05, an international relations major, Writing Fellow and tri-captain of the men’s varsity swim team, will be traveling to Germany to teach English in a German school.

He says the programs he was involved in at Tufts (he was also the coordinator of the Tufts Wilderness Orientation program and an ATO brother) have left as much of an imprint on him as he’s left on them.

“I could name hundreds of people I’ve met here who have guided me along in my time at Tufts, and I think it’s a very fitting culmination to be able to say ‘thank you,’ because now I can go represent my university abroad in the Fulbright program,” Valente said. “Tufts is a very distinguished university abroad, and I’d like to continue that tradition.”

Timothy Wagner, A05, who received his degree in English, also will be teaching in Germany. He sees the experience as a chance to “boost [his] language ability” as well as broaden his already-strong appreciation for the humanities.

Liz Munsell © Melody Ko

“The humanities—and I think this is true for all the humanities, not just English—are great, not because they provide you with a vast body of practical knowledge, but because they teach you how to think,” says Wagner, who hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in English.

Heading to Chile will be Liz Munsell, A05, who earned her degree in international letters and visual studies. She will spend next year studying community art programs. One day, she hopes to revolutionize the academic study of art history, which she believes is too conservative and restrictive. An avid photographer, Munsell focused her Tufts studies on art and revolution in Latin America, including a trip to Cuba with other Tufts students.

Munsell recalls visiting a school outside Havana where a member of the Cuban parliament introduced the school’s staff—including the principal, teachers and janitors—and explained their roles. “I realized that I had never before attended an event where janitors were recognized for the equally important role they play in making a school function day to day,” Munsell says. “Experiencing differences in Cuban society gave me a basis of comparison for thinking about social order in the United States and helped me to become a more critical thinker.”

Diana Caba, A05, an international relations and art history major, also be traveling to South America, where she will assist in teaching an English class at a university in Argentina.

Diana Caba © Melody Ko

“As a Latina growing up in the United States and [with] my experience in Latin America—visiting my family in the Dominican Republic and studying abroad with Tufts in Chile—my interests have developed within the region,” says Caba, who also will be exploring the country’s community cultural centers.

“I hope that this experience will lead me on a path to continue similar work in arts education,” she says.

Patrice Taddonio, A06, is an English major and a communications and media studies minor.