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Meet JMC's 2022 Fulbright student scholars

August 4, 2022 - Beth Brauer

Fulbright logo

During the 2021-22 academic year, Michigan State University was named a top producer of Fulbright U.S. Scholars, making it the only research institution in the U.S. to achieve this status for the last eight years. During the 2020-21 year, MSU was one of 17 institutions to receive recognition as a top producer of both students and scholars.

This year, of the more than 9,300 applications submitted, nine MSU students and alumni have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants for the 2022-23 academic year, and four additional candidates have been named alternates.

Since 1983, 22 of MSU’s past Fulbright Student Scholars are alumni of James Madison College. This year, JMC alumna Emily McHarg (IR ’20) will continue to represent the college during an English teaching assistantship in Bonn, Germany.

McHarg is scheduled to begin her Fulbright this September where she will work with high school students in a vocational school for 10 months.

Emily McHarg stands in front of Beaumont Tower with cherry blossoms in the foreground
Emily McHarg stands near Beaumont Tower for a graduation photo in 2020.

Since graduating from JMC, McHarg has worked for the Michigan Legislature; currently, she is a legislative aide for Rep. Matt Koleszar (20th District). As an international relations major, McHarg did campaign work for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. She also spent a semester interning in Berlin, Germany for the program Democrats Abroad. That initial experience was the catalyst for both living abroad again and her Senior Honors Thesis, which examined the 2015 refugee crises and the effect of immigration on Germany’s politics. 

With minors in German and women’s studies, McHarg sought additional opportunities to make an impact in the areas of language learning and women’s rights issues. She has been a volunteer with the Refugee Development Center, which led to her TESOL training and certification.

“Fulbright is such a prestigious program, and it’s really such an honor to be awarded this grant. I’m so grateful for the support JMC and MSU have given me throughout the process,” said McHarg, who plans to attend law school in the future.

Emily McHarg in Germany at the Brühl Palace.
Emily McHarg at Brühl Palace in Germany.

“I am really interested in democracy and women’s rights, and those areas of law. I spent a lot of time working with Professor Robert Braithwaite, researching the rise of the Far-Right political movements and how that impacts social dynamics,” McHarg said. “My time at JMC was filled with opportunities to broaden my perspective about the world.”

James Madison alumnus Solomon Kronberg (CCP ’22) was named an alternate for a Fulbright to Thailand. Kronberg graduated this spring with a degree in Comparative Cultures and Politics with minors in political economy and natural and agricultural resource management. Upon graduation, he returned to Marquette, Michigan where his internship with The Superior Watershed Partnership turned into a full-time position.

“I am really happy where I am currently. I primarily do grant writing proposals, and I feel well prepared because of my Madison experience,” said Kronberg. 

He also credits the support and mentorship he received from JMC assistant professor Amanda Flaim through his teaching assistantship and research he’s done with her and the Mekong Culture WELL.

Solomon Kronberg in Thailand
Solomon Kronberg during a semester in Chiang Rai, Thailand through Mekong Culture WELL.

After returning from a semester in Thailand through the Mekong Culture WELL, Kronberg says he noticed many similarities between his home in the Upper Peninsula and the conditions in Thailand, particularly the relationships Indigenous communities have with water — and how they have dealt with the damage to these landscapes. 

“When I came home, I started to think about what people did in the U.P. and this notion of blastedness, which is damage caused by ecological ruptures and the relationship with colonization,” Kronberg said.

His experiences in both Chaing Rai, Thailand and interviewing people similarly affected in the U.P. helped to inform his Senior Honors Thesis “Haunted Renewal: Stories of blasted landscapes in Changrai, Thailand and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula,” which he and Flaim, who was his thesis adviser, are working to have published. 

Kronberg’s long-term goal is a career in academia with more immediate aspirations to attend Yale University’s hybrid Ph.D. program, which combines environmental science and anthropology.

“My interest lies in ecological anthropology. I loved the undergraduate academic experience at Madison. I got to do some TA-ing while I was in school and discovered I liked the teaching and am really passionate about the research,” Kronberg said.

Although his Fulbright award is contingent upon additional funding, Kronberg appreciates the experience he gained by going through the application process. “I would like to apply to a Ph.D. program in a couple years; the application process for Fulbright really helped me, and I am so grateful for that.”

“Not everything I’ve applied for has worked out, but having those disappointments is an important part of the process in finding your place.”