Fulbrights awarded to professor and two students

Kayla Wilson

This year two Lawrence seniors, Katie Peacock and Nicki Dabney, were named Fulbright Scholars and biology professor Beth De Stasio was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship. The selection process for the Fulbright Scholarship, created by Congress in 1946, began in the fall. It was followed by further selection in late winter and the recipients were announced last month.
Peacock, a German and Linguistics major, joins fellow Lawrence alums Monica Felix and Ben Haines as the third graduate since 2006 to become an English teaching assistant in Germany. “Two majors before me got it,” she said about her decision to apply. “I think I’d like to teach and I like Germany, and they coincide.”
She will be teaching in a secondary school but has yet to be placed. “I feel very overwhelmed, but excited at the same time. It’s just really new. It hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Dabney will travel to Kaohsiung, Taiwan in July to be a teaching assistant, a job in which she will spend 20 hours a week in the classroom. Dabney is still unsure of which age group she will be teaching, but says it will be either elementary or middle school students.
“I’m excited about meeting all the kids I’ll be teaching and seeing their reaction to me,” she said. She will also serve as an American cultural advisor, where she will spend 10 to 15 additional hours working mostly on the revision of textbooks.
Differing greatly from the Scholarship, De Stasio’s Fulbright Fellowship awards her 25,000 dollars and will take her to Stockholm, Sweden, where she will continue her research regarding the tiny worms C. elegans and gene expression. Beginning in January, she will spend the following six months working with colleagues to determine patterns of gene expression relating to neuron maintenance and plaque deposition in C. elegans to see which are controlled by a regulatory gene and whether or not that gene has a homologue in humans. If so, C. elegans would serve as a good model for studying Alzheimer’s disease.
De Stasio’s goals are to bring a small piece of her research back to Lawrence and to learn how to use a new technology. “Microarrays analysis,” she explains, “allows you to look at 10 thousand genes at once and see which are turned on and which ones aren’t. ”
Unlike Dabney and Peacock, De Stasio will be bringing her family along with her. Her husband, also a Lawrence biology professor, will conduct research on the Baltic Sea, and their 13-year-old son will attend school.