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ADAPTATION AND CELEBRATION


In May 2017, Queens’ Associate Professor of History Sarah Griffith, PhD, left for Kyoto, Japan as the leader of a John Belk International Program team. Griffith observed


that Japan’s civilized culture felt in stark contrast to the polarized political environment in the United States. This prevalent sense of peace stirred


her desire for an immersive Japanese experience, so the Asian American studies expert researched fellowships and quickly identified the Fulbright Scholar program as her top choice. Once she applied, she waited four


months to learn that her application was rejected. “After licking my wounds and wiping my tears, I read the rejection letter,” said Griffith. “It mentioned that they had been impressed by my application, but wanted me to reapply and focus more on how my teaching in Japan could further the relationships between our two countries.” Using the same tenacity that Griffith


employs as a competitive cyclist, she applied again in September 2018, emphasizing her potential as a cultural ambassador. In January 2019, she received the coveted Fulbright award. “Initially I was nervous about taking


this time away, but Barry Robinson, John Sisko and Sarah Fatherly were incredibly supportive, saying that this was the opportunity of a lifetime,” recalled Griffith. Within seven months, a visiting professor was hired, Robinson rescheduled his sabbatical and Griffith was on her way back to Japan. The Pacific Rim translation specialist


department. “I wanted students to be able to take courses that reflect their identity and culture,” she said.


8. A finger painting by one of her seven-year-old twins contains Bowers’ favorite quote, “There are years that question and years that answer” by Zara Neale Huston. “That quote,” said Bowers, “is a capital ‘T’ truth—I have found meaning in it throughout my life.”


9. The sketch notebook reflects an ongoing research project among Bowers, Assistant Provost Greg Pillar, PhD, and Assistant Professor of Chemistry and General Education Yvette Clifton, PhD. Together they are studying how imagery helps students with content recall. “As a doodler, I have witnessed firsthand how much it [imagery] aids retention,” she said.


—Dorothy Lineberger


described teaching at both Tsuda University, one of the oldest and most prestigious higher educational institutions for women in Japan, and at the 20,000-person Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, a public research university. “This was a time of constant adaptation. A time to fully engage in a culture that I’ve studied as an academic discipline. A time to celebrate the differences and the points of commonality between our two cultures,” said Griffith. “There were countless ‘aha’ moments.”


—Dorothy Lineberger 7


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