Leadership, learning, and empathy abroad

Trading the classroom for Africa and Central Europe.

This spring two SCU faculty traded their SCU classrooms for international learning venues—one in Africa, the other in Central Europe. The occasion: They’re recipients of prestigious Fulbright grants. So is a recent SCU grad, Catherine Kilbane ’05, who spent the past academic year on a research Fulbright in Peru.

Catherine Kilbane '05
Hiking the Inca Trail: A Fulbright has taken Catherine Kilbane ’05 to Peru. Photo: Courtesy of Catherine Kilbane

In January, Leslie Gray, associate professor of environmental studies, trekked to Burkina Faso to study the effects that U.S. cotton subsidies have on poor farmers in West Africa. In February, Elizabeth Enayati Powers ’80, J.D. ’89, assistant dean for international and comparative law and executive director of the Center for Global Law and Policy, traveled to Poland to teach a course at the law school at the University of Warsaw.

Gray is no stranger to Africa or to Fulbright grants. She and her husband, Michael Kevane, associate professor in economics and chair of the Core Curriculum committee, run Friends of African Village Libraries, a nonprofit organization that has seven small village libraries in Burkina Faso and Ghana. Gray is also co-editor of Hanging by a Thread: Globalization, Cotton, and Poverty in Africa, recently accepted for publication by Ohio University Press. This is her third Fulbright award. Previously she explored land degradation and deforestation issues in Burkina Faso and coping strategies for drought in Sudan.

On her Fulbright teaching fellowship, Powers will offer Polish law students a glimpse of American teaching styles and present U.S. intellectual property laws against a backdrop of European legislation. Powers has been teaching the Protection of Intellectual Property class at SCU since 1996, when she co-authored IP Strategy: Complete Intellectual Property Planning, Access and Protection with Howard Anawalt.

It was at Gray’s prodding, and with the assistance of political science Professor Jane L. Curry, that Kilbane applied for the Fulbright grant that has taken her to Peru.

Kilbane has been monitoring debt-for-nature transactions in Peru. And she has been living out a dream she’s had for more than a decade of working in conservation in Latin America. At Santa Clara she participated in the University Honors Program and double majored in environmental studies and Spanish studies. Even so, she notes, “I never even would have considered applying for a Fulbright had Dr. Gray not first brought it up and then pushed me to go for it.” KCS

post-image Land of cotton: Leslie Gray in Burkina Faso. Photo: David Pace
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