Two Members of CSUF’s Class
of 2004 Named Fulbright Scholars
May 28, 2004 :: No. 270
Two students who will take part in commencement
ceremonies at Cal State Fullerton this weekend soon will be packing
their bags for trips abroad as Fulbright Scholars.
Political science major Sylvie Widjaja of Walnut is
scheduled for a nine-month stay in Singapore, where she will examine
that country’s role and its relationship with the United States
in the war on terrorism. Stanton resident Trangdai Tranguyen, a
graduate history major, is headed for Stockholm University in June
to study the Vietnamese immigrant community in Sweden.
Sponsored by the State Department, the Fulbright U.S.
Student Program offers opportunities for recent graduates, postgraduate
candidates, and developing professionals and artists to conduct
career-launching study and research abroad.
Widjaja, who came to California when
she was 9, jump-started her college career by passing the GED and
enrolling at a community college at the age of 15. She soon became
interested in political science, but the desire to delve into terrorism
and its root causes developed while attending a National Security
course taught by Chad Briggs, assistant professor of political science
at Cal State Fullerton. He reports being stunned when he learned
that the young woman surpassing many senior ex-military students
in the course was only 18 years old.
“I have been teaching at the university level
in three countries since 1995, and I do not hesitate to say that
Sylvie has the most potential of any student I have yet encountered
in my career. She is exceptionally bright, quick to learn, and her
dedication and sense of responsibility to her goals is quit remarkable,”
Widjaja is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the political
science honor society, and was a member of its executive board for
2003-04. She also is a member of the national Golden Key Honor Society,
as well as the University Honors Program. She is a teaching assistant
for two upper-division political science courses and is a member
of the CSUF Model United Nations Team. She was a paper presenter
at this year’s Western Political Science Association Conference
The issue of terrorism has intense general and personal
interest for the Indonesian-born scholar. “Since 9/11, there
have been several bombings in Jakarta, so it hits close to home,”
When she returns from Singapore, Widjaja hopes to
enter a doctoral program in political science and specialize in
the politics of Southeast Asia. She is pondering a career as a university
professor or a counterterrorism analyst.
“In an age of globalization and complex interdependence,
nation-states become more and more susceptible to terrorist attacks,
thus significantly increasing the important of international collaboration,”
notes Widjaja, who will attend National University of Singapore
while conducting her research, beginning in July. “Fighting
this war on terrorism requires us to once again acknowledge and
remember the words of John F. Kennedy: ‘We seek not the worldwide
victory of one nation or system but the worldwide victory of man.’”
Tranguyen, who will participate in
commencement exercises Saturday, is learning Swedish in preparation
for her studies that begin next month at Stockholm University.
She presently serves as the director of the Vietnamese
American Project, a research initiative based out of the university’s
Center for Oral and Public History. In studying the Vietnamese American
community in Southern California, she has drawn upon and perfected
skills in documenting the personal experience of first-generation
immigrant populations through oral history.
“I have come to appreciate oral history for
its democratic, human and intimate qualities in research, conducing
better understanding and human solidarity,” she noted. “I
look towards conducting research in the Vietnamese Diaspora to bring
forth the beauty of world cultures through migration and acculturation
experience of ethnic Vietnamese communities across the continents.”
Of Vietnamese immigrants in Sweden, Tranguyen will
document their immigration experience, their lives and prospects
in their adopted country, and how the Vietnamese culture interacts
with pan-European cultures.
Following her Fulbright studies, she plans to pursue
doctoral studies in the area of social and cultural anthropology
in the United States.
“As a representative of your country in Sweden,
you will help fulfill the principal purpose of the Fulbright Program,
to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S.
and the people of the 150 or so countries that currently participate
in the Fulbright Program,” stated Steven J. Uhlfelder, J.
William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board chair.
||Pamela McLaren of Public Affairs
at 657-278-4852 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Katsaros, Public Affairs 657-278-4854
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