On July 18, the 2018-2019 Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows presented their research at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. The fellows gathered at the monthly, and for this event, sold-out, Nat-Geo Nights Happy Hour to tell their stories about their time in the field. From the effects of micro-algae in Panama to the past, present and future of cemeteries and burial practices in the United Kingdom and Singapore, the fifth class of fellows epitomize the goal of this program, to bring the networks of the Fulbright Program and the National Geographic Society together.
One highlight of the Nat-Geo Nights event included a selfie with the audience taken by fellow William Tyner, as a thank you to the people at Code for Romania (Code4Ro), an activist group using civic technology to combat corruption in Romania. Another was learning how the local culture and livelihood of peat bogs in Ireland gives off as much carbon as the country’s entire transportation system and the impact that has on global warming.
The night ended with a powerful presentation by fellow Jen Guyton, whose Fulbright took her to the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. Although she started her program focusing on the biodiversity of the park’s recovering ecosystem by creating composite images of wildlife at resource hotspots, a natural disaster changed what being a Fulbrighter meant to her. Cyclone Idai, one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa, reshaped Jen’s Fulbright experience. While feeling helpless to assist in the aftermath of the cyclone, Jen decided to use her photography skills to capture the resilience and community that arises from such devastation.
Jen said “It opened my eyes to my responsibility to give back to the citizens of Mozambique. I remembered that Fulbright was about service. And I hope I was able to give service in my images.”
The Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship, a component of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, provides opportunities for selected Fulbright US Student grantees to participate in an academic year of storytelling on a globally significant theme. The 2020-2021 applications are open until Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at 5 pm EST. This application cycle, National Geographic has expressed a strong interest in project focused on Oceans and Water, with a particular interest in plastics, community coastal and fishery management, and biodiversity. Click here for more information.
-Jordan Bradford, Membership and Chapter Relations Manager