Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I've moved this blog to a new site. In the future please refer to

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Honors Recap

Alpha Lambda Delta
Wrangler's Inc. Scholarship
SCION Scholarship

Waseda/Oregon Japanese Study Program
Town and Gown Scholarship
Phi Alpha Theta
Blackstonians Pre-Law

Phi Beta Kappa
Golden Key
Pi Sigma Alpha
Associate's Scolarship

Phi Kappa Phi

My advice: start early and as my grandfather says "keep your nose to the grind stone!" It's true though, most people blow their freshman semester. As a Senior when you're trying to boost your GPA for grad school you'll wish you had that frist year back. Do the best you can. It's a good life message too: do your best now when it counts, for you never know how the future may turn out.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Graduation Pictures

Graduation Bovard 2 5/11/06
Graduation Bovard 5/11/06
Wall of Scholars 5/11/06

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Some Awards

Adding to the list of honors stemming from the Fulbright award, I was invited to attend the Student Academic Recognition Ceremony in Bovard Auditorium the day before graduation and the Wall of Scholars induction in Leavy Library. I’m still not exactly sure what the Wall is, but my advisor claims that it's something quite prestigious; this claim seems valid given that President Sample is giving the address at the Wall ceremony.

I’m missing my induction into PKP for, of all things, an exam. One of the gals in Academic Recognition Programs told me that my professor for the offending class was on the PKP board and was likely to understand if I asked to have the exam moved, but I wasn’t tempted to add another point to my graduation logistical dilemma. Too bad for you PKP, but PBK beat you to the punch with an induction ceremony last year. Still, I do like the PKP stole that I get to wear at graduation, so most likely I’ll have to stop by and pick it up before my exam.

On another note… I was awarded a medallion by the Political Science Honors society Pi Sigma Alpha which will accompany my PBK key on graduation day. As a whole, my honors have become weights of their own. I had to stop getting cords for my regalia because I didn’t want to look like a walking pawn shop. So, on graduation day I’ll be wearing in no particular order: PBK key, PSA medallion, LAS honor cords, PKP stole. Sorry PAT, Golden Key, and Blakstonians honor cords, maybe next time!

For anyone interested below is a list of my fellows receiving high honors at graduation:

Fulbright Graduate Study and Research Abroad Grants
Nathan Collett-2006
John Leisure-2006
Kaitlin Solimine-2006
Amanda Weiss-2006

David L. Boren Scholarships
National Security Education Program
Michelle Enriquez-2006
Aleah Houze-2006

Andrew W. Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowships
Raquel Chavez-2006
Shauna France-2006
Tamiel Holloway-2006
Vanessa Hongsathavij-2006
Adriana Resendez-2006
Ebenge Usip-2006

Luce Scholarship
Roberto C. Padilla-2006

University Trustees Award
Alexander Georgakis-2006

Emma Josephine Bradley Bovard Award
Kavitha Sivaraman-2006
Christina To-2006

Rockwell Dennis Hunt Scholastic Award
Mark Lescroart-2006

Kavitha Sivaraman-2006

Renaissance Scholar Prize
Ramona Davoudpour-2006
Daniel Goldman-2006
Adam Johnson-2006
Sarah Levy-2006
Michelle Martinez-2006
Genette McGrew-2006
Henry Mecke-2006

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Current Reading (or rereading in this case:

McClain, James L. Kanazawa: A Seventeenth-Century Japanese Castle Town. New Haven: Yale UP, 1982.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Project Details

For anyone wondering what my research will consist of, here is the project description taken from proposal that can be found on my website.

Research Project Objectives
The primary aim of my research project is to explore structural changes in the composition of and interaction between Kanazawa’s bureaucracy and local industry, both twenty-five years before and after 1868. Looking at how the bureaucracy and industry changed from late Tokugawa to early Meiji should be a strong indicator for determining the bureaucratic and industrial framework that contributed to Kanazawa’s urban development during the period mentioned, as well as in the years after 1868. While focusing specifically on Kanazawa, I will attempt to weave in elements of bureaucratic and industrial change on a more national level in order to appropriately contextualize Kanazawa within a larger political entity. In addition, I hope that this project will allow me to familiarize myself with the various ways in which academic research is conducted in Japan.

Project Background and Significance
Kanazawa lends itself to the study of city and urban development in Japan because of its historical significance as a major castle-town during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as well as its geographic location. Kanazawa today is a city located on the Japan Sea side of Honshû in Ishikawa Prefecture, and roughly halfway between the two historic capitals Tokyo and Kyoto. Kanazawa, founded in 1583, eventually rose to prominence as the administrative center for Kaga han, the largest daimyo domain in the region during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Since this time the population of Kanazawa has grown from 150,000 to about 450,000 and has become an important place of study for scholarship on urban development and castle-towns. Kanazawa is an appropriate point of focus for continued urban study because some research in English, such as that by James L. McClain, has provided grounding in the development and significance of castle-towns as urban communities in Japan. However, besides the works of McClain and a few others, such as John W. Hall, there is a striking paucity of knowledge regarding the development of Japanese cities in English. In conducting this project, I hope to promote exposure for work on Japanese cities in English and to eventually publish a journal article based on my findings.

Resources and Preparation
Presently, a modern detailed and in-depth study of Kanazawa is both possible and achievable because a number of lauded Japanese scholars in Kanazawa have paved the way through studies conducted on government, city life, and urbanization in the city. Moreover, Kanazawa City Library and Ishikawa Prefectural Library contain other materials such as city maps, city ordinances, local histories, and descriptions of city social life that are necessary for such a study. In addition, I will focus on conducting interviews with local Kanazawa historians regarding changes in bureaucratic and industrial forms around 1868, allowing me to approach this project using the more modern language skills that I have developed. My training, as a History and Political Science double major, has provided me with the methodological analytical skills necessary to employ these resources in producing a cogent picture of Kanazawa’s development. Until my departure time in late August 2006, I will be researching the available scholarship in English on Kanazawa.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A View to the Sun

A Note on this Journal:

In an effort to provide family and friends with information on my Fulbright project, I will be updating this journal at regular intervals throughout the course of my year long project that begins in September 2006. Although the project will formally commence once I arrive in Japan, I thought people might be interested on the background of the project as well as the Fulbright process. As such, I have created a few preliminary articles which speak to both my current research, as well as the latest developments in the Fulbright process.

Please also keep in mind that I will be updating my primary website bi-monthly to include research summaries as well as links to Fulbright and Kanazawa material.

The Fulbright Grant

A few people may be wondering exactly what Fulbright, though I am sure many of you who are reading this at least have some idea, so I will keep my comments brief and to the point.

The Fulbright Scholarship was established in 1946, just after the end of World War II, in order to “increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries, through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills.” The scholarship is a namesake to Senator William J. Fulbright, who proposed the scholarship and advocated international exchange for American’s in order to promote awareness and mutual understanding of foreign peoples and cultures.

The Fulbright scholarship is open to graduating seniors, Ph.D. candidates, and current Professors. Scholarships typically last from six months to one year. As of last year, there were roughly 5,000 applicants for 1,000 spots globally. Since Fulbright is an international scholarship, each country has a quota for the number of available grants and the specific requirements for getting the grants. Japan had 10 slots this year for graduating seniors.

For more information please see

Fulbright Application Overview

In September of 2005, I began applying for the Fulbright grant. The application is about 9 pages including biographical information, essays, and language forms, which does not include faculty recommendations from three professors and a language teacher. Undoubtedly, the most difficult part of this first stage was coming up with an effective project proposal and personal statement. The process, much to my annoyance, was eerily reminiscent of the college application process. There were long hours of application review and then an essays in which I had to pitch myself and my project without being immodest, corny, or worst of all, boring.

Fortunately as far as the project was concerned, I was able to rope in my would-be honors history project in and convert it into a Fulbright proposal. The information I used to write my proposal specific to Kanazawa and the influence of urban development on Japanese and world history reflected a good deal of research I had already done over the summer and in the weeks when I was writing my application. It would be impossible to write a good essay without some niche knowledge.

On top of crafting essays, I also had to seek out faculty at the university who I felt knew me personally enough to recommend me in a way that would let the Fulbright commission know that I was interested in scholarship, and not just a random student who drifted in to office hours with the “what’s going to be on the exam,” question. For this part of the process I am greatly indebt to Professors Piggott, Robison, and Webb for their sincere and supportive recommendations, without which I would not have gotten as far as I have.

I mentioned above that crafting a “winning” project proposal and personal statement was the hardest part of the application process, but I should mention that developing the credentials for the Fulbright is really the hardest part of the process. Building up the GPA, faculty friendships, and language abilities, necessary for a successful application has been no less than four years in the making. Although I didn’t know Freshman year that I’d be applying for a Fulbright award during my Senior year, I realize that all the work I have done thus far was essential for producing a competitive application. For anyone considering a Fulbright, my advice is: start early and don’t give up. The scholarship is based heavily on merit.

Around the first week of February, I received a nice birthday present in the form of a letter from the IIE telling me that I’d made it past the first round. In the application process there are two cuts. One made in late January and early February letting people know if they made it past the U.S. based IIE screening, and he second cut, the country specific approvals and grant award, made between the middle of March and late June. Well, let me tell you, that February letter was both a blessing and a curse, quite literally. After I’d finished the initial application process, I’d tried to put the idea of Fulbright out of my mind, having worked non-stop from October to November just on the application and accompanying essays in what seemed like countless hours of writing and rewriting. With the February IIE letter, however, hopes of receiving the scholarship returned.

Passing the first stage of the IIE process is by no means an acceptance. Rather, it indicates that you’ve made it to the country specific process and that your odds are no worse than 50/50, since the council never recommends more than twice as many applicants as there are available spots. While that’s an increase over the 1/5 national odds, its no comfort, because the other people that made it to the country specific process are the most highly qualified. As such, from February to late March, when I received my acceptance, I languished in scholarship hell; a kind of purgatory between acceptance and denial during which my dreams reflected a manic state of scholarship psychosis, fooling me that I’d won the scholarship at times, and lost it at others. Fortunately, as reality would have it, things worked out well for me in the end.
Jubilant as I was over receiving the scholarship, I realize that now the Fulbright “road to Japan” is just beginning. However, this part of the process is much more fun and much less stressful.