Meet the 2017-2018 Fulbright U.S. Student Grantees

 

Through this grant, selected U.S. students spend 10 months conducting research in their areas of interest in Nepal.  All five selected candidates are currently in Nepal, working on architecture, ecology, painting, environmental studies, and performance art.

 

1.  Mr. Dane Graham Carlson (Architecture)

M.A. in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Project: "Landscape Past, Landscape Future: Cultural Landscape on the Himalayan Frontier."

 

 

Trained as a landscape architect, Dane Carlson is engaged in landscape design, mapping, and research.  His recent work includes a mapping methodology for humanitarian responders and resiliency-building landscape design proposals in Syangja and Sindhupalchok districts.  He holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture with Honors from Ball State University and a Master of Landscape Architecture II with Distinction from Harvard University. 

His practice REALMS explores the capacity of place-based knowledge and practice to inform resiliency building in the physical environment. REALMS operates in hinterlands where place-based practices remain, utilizing anthropological field methods to inform design practice.  It is built through collaborative processes founded in the agency of people and place, using local resources and working within existing systems of worship, transhumance, and beyond.  It also recognizes the importance of cultural memory and sacred meaning in the function and continued viability of hinterland landscapes.

As a Fulbright scholar, Dane will continue to develop this model of research and design practice in Upper Mustang, including study of field methodologies from anthropology and ethnography.  Through immersive site study over the course of 7 months, his research will document the practices, forms, and beliefs that define this landscape.  It will also explore the emergence of conflicts between place-based practices and contemporary infrastructures with the ultimate intention of building design proposals which emphasize the necessary role of the ancient within the contemporary landscape.

 


 

2.  Ms. Michele Diane Clark (Ecology)

 

Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Life Sciences at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

Project: "Evaluating the Social and Ecological Consequences of an Invading Vine Species in Nepal."

 

 

Forests are an integral part of rural livelihoods, especially in Nepal. I am a plant ecologist interested in the biology, management and perceptions of these invasive species. I am passionate about understanding the local and global drivers of plant invasion and its influence on rural livelihoods, resource availability and biodiversity.

Primarily, I study rapidly growing invading vines and dense toxic shrubs in the Chitwan Valley of Nepal. I plan to conduct social research to understand perceptions and attitudes towards invasive species and ecological research to understand their environmental effects. I aim to coordinate ecologically and culturally appropriate management techniques to help land managers find solutions towards controlling the spread of invading plants.

I am currently pursuing my PhD in Environmental Life Sciences at Arizona State University. Though I have lived in several places across the U.S., I call Reno, Nevada my home. 

I love being outdoors, hiking, camping and spending time with my family. I enjoy listening to new music and going to concerts. I am a novice ukulele player and an awful singer. I have travelled extensively throughout South America and am proficient in Spanish and working hard to learn Nepali. I would like to become a children’s book author to teach kids and parents about plants, conservation, and the environment.

 


 

3.  Mr. Michael Gordon (Painting)

M.F.A. in Studio Practice from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California.

Project: "Between the Sacred and the Sold: Thangka Painting in the Contemporary Market."

 

 

Michael Gordon grew up in Denver, Colorado. When he turned eight, a family friend gave him a copy of Steve Hagen’s Buddhism Plain and Simple, and he was hooked. Meditation and art remain the two constants in his life, and he is thrilled to pursue them both in Nepal.

During his undergraduate studies, Michael double majored in English Literature and Studio Art at Dartmouth College. He played lacrosse, rugby, and ran two student organizations working to provide educational access to under-resourced students around the country. During his junior year, he took a term off to study buddhism and teach English in Nepal. After graduating, Michael taught English in Bogotá, Colombia and Denver, Colorado.

Over the past two years, Michael completed his Master of Fine Arts at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Through his program, he refined both his craft and concept. His work examines the interdependence of consumerism, productivity, and commodity fetishism. Thanks to the Fulbright Scholarship, Michael will spend the next year studying the complex socio economic, cultural, and philosophical landscape of traditional Buddhist Thangka paintings as a microcosm of art’s role as both sacred and sold.

 


 

4.  Ms. Jocelyn Ann Powelson (Environmental Studies)

B.A. in Chemistry and Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Project: "Examining Climate Change Adaptation Solutions For Implementation By Women In Nepal."

 

 

Jocelyn grew up in Richmond, Virginia with her older brother and sister. She attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and graduated in June, 2015 with bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Environmental Studies. Jocelyn has always had curiosity to explore the world; during her time in college, she seized opportunities to study, work, and travel in 8 foreign countries. After graduating, Jocelyn spent 9 months in Nepal, interning with Helen Keller International and Save the Children, conducting a qualitative research study on gender and nutrition. She returned to the US for the summer of 2016 and spent 4 months backpacking from Canada to Mexico along the Pacific Crest Trail (4300km!).

Jocelyn has been back in Nepal since February 2017 and is currently working at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), a mountain and environment research institute based in Kathmandu and working throughout the Hindu Kush Himalaya. From a very young age, Jocelyn has always been a passionate environmentalist, but through her experiences abroad, she has developed a much more nuanced view of human-environment interactions and now desires to further explore the field of sustainable development.

For her Fulbright project, Jocelyn will be based in a community in the mountain region studying climate change adaptation and gender. Jocelyn is a passionate outdoorswoman, and in her free time, she can be found mountain biking, trekking, climbing, or trail running. She also enjoys sharing her love of the outdoors with others, and is particularly excited to introduce more Nepali women to outdoors sports.

 


 

5.  Mr. Peter Duncan Seifarth (Performance Art)

B.F.A. in Theater Arts from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Caroline.

Project: "Nepali Theatre: Sociopolitical Progress Through Movement and Gesture."

 

Peter Seifarth is an actor, director, and theatre maker from the South Eastern United States. He began his theatre studies at an early age with his high-school’s circus program. He received his B.F.A in physical theatre from Coastal Carolina University, and graduated from the year long physical theatre program at Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy. During his year in Italy, he met Nepali theatre artist, Roshan Mehta, another year long student of the program. They lived together, trained, and created five shows, performing for a variety of Italian audiences. Peter is also a co-founder of Panda Head Theatre, a company that aims to transcend lingual and cultural barriers through physically focused theatre.

As a 2017-2018 Fulbright recipient, Peter will spend a year in Nepal working alongside Roshan Mehta to research contemporary Nepali physical theatre.

He will observe, train with, and direct Nepali theatre artists to understand how they successfully use physicality and non-verbal communication in theatre to express complex issues.

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USEF - Nepal
PO Box: 380
Gyaneswor, Kathmandu
Nepal

Phone: +977 1 4444779, 4444780
Fax: +977 1 4410881
email: hhh@fulbrightnepal.org.np