Eleven UCLA graduate students have been awarded Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad fellowships. The awards provide opportunities for doctoral candidates to comprehensively study the geography, history, culture, economy, politics, international relations and languages of a society or societies.

UCLA and UC Berkeley tied for the most fellows among all universities. The 11 honorees is the largest group of UCLA students since 2010.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, the Fulbright-Hays program is designed to contribute to the development and improvement of the study of modern foreign languages and area studies in the U.S. The 2021 awardees, representing a wide range of disciplines, will conduct their research in Japan, Ghana, Ethiopia, Morocco, Rwanda, Spain, France, Mexico and the Philippines.

The Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship Program at UCLA is administered by the graduate division. 

The awardees are: 

Julia Hansell Clark, Asian languages and cultures, will study in Japan. Clark’s research examines mid-to-late-century literature emerging from Ikaino, an ethnically Korean neighborhood of Osaka. Clark is interested in the influence of Zainichi Korean women’s writing within the broader field of Japanese literary studies and in the way that Ikaino authors engaged with emergent feminist movements in both Korea and Japan.

Yasmine Krings, Asian languages and cultures, will study in Japan. Krings will examine changing conceptions and representations of race, identity and social belonging in postwar Japan (194570s). Krings will focus on negotiations of “mixed-race-ness” of hafu and konketsuji, or Japanese people of mixed race — the latter term translates to “child of mixed blood” — and its relation to Japan's postwar historical trauma and future.

Talia Lieber, art history, will study in Rwanda. Lieber’s research examines the art of the Rwandan kingdom in the Great Lakes region of eastern Africa. Her project investigates how environmental and political conditions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries shaped artistic creativity in Rwanda. Lieber will be looking specifically at the kingdom’s agricultural and pastoral landscapes, centralization and expansion, and encounters with European missionaries and colonial powers.

Rebeca Martinez, history, will study in Mexico. Martinez’s research focuses on women and bigamy in New Spain (modern Mexico) from the 16th to the 18th century. She uses inquisition trials to understand why women chose to be married to two men at the same time and why others denounced their bigamous husbands. Her project will help scholars better understand colonial Mexican women and other women who resisted colonial patriarchal structures.

Stefanie Matabang, comparative literature, will study in the Philippines. Matabang’s research aims to explain the complex role of medievalism in the Philippines throughout the late Spanish, U.S. and Japanese colonial periods. By using media that depicts a distinctly Filipino idea of the Middle Ages, she will look at medievalism’s role in the development of Filipino nationalism and identity. The project aims to reorient the idea of the medieval period by centering a Filipino perspective.

Ethan Mefford, history, will study in France and Morocco. Mefford's project examines olive production and the olive oil trade in northern Morocco from the late precolonial period through the years of French and Spanish rule. Mefford’s research is interested in how the history of these industries can inform understanding of the period’s rural livelihoods and the changing social and political dynamics of the region.

Melissa Mendoza, education, will study in Mexico. Mendoza’s research follows the implementation of Mexico’s law of inclusion that provides people with disabilities the right to professional training and access to education. Her study will analyze policy and those implementing the law, as well as those utilizing its programs, to better define support networks.

Nicholas Muench, political science, will study in Morocco and Spain. Muench’s project examines the communities of Muslims who remained in Spain after the defeat of the last Muslim state on the Iberian Peninsula in 1492. By looking at the closeted lives of these people — many of whom secretly remained devout Muslims — Muench will explore how a political movement materialized during the Spanish Golden Age.

Miranda Saylor, art history, will study in Mexico. Saylor’s research analyzes a collection of paintings from colonial Mexico that aggrandized the role of the Virgin Mary. These works were inspired by the writings of the Spanish nun María de Ágreda (1602–1665), who argued that the Madonna was the co-redeemer of the world. Saylor’s project explores how such paintings redefined scripture and reshaped Marian devotion throughout the Spanish Empire. 

Tatiana Sulovska, history, will study in Japan. Sulovska examines avant-garde film, art, literature and cultural criticism in postwar Japan. Her study traces the theorization of both state and political violence by non-state actors as part of a notion that extends to the present and is thematically centered on the Japanese Red Army, a militant organization that emerged from the 1960s protest movement.

Azeb Tadesse, education, will study in Ghana and Ethiopia. Tadesse’s research focuses on the potential of online learning to increase the instructional capacity of African higher education institutions. She is investigating the decision-making matrix in selecting and integrating educational technology at the University of Ghana, Legon, and Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.