Graduate Student Ioana Sherman Awarded Fulbright IIE Fellowship

By Stephanie Wejbe, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing
April 15, 2004

Graduate Student Ioana Sherman is the first student from the College’s Department of Music to be awarded a Fulbright IIE Fellowship. The Fulbright IIE Fellowship program, a world-wide competition, allows students to apply and study in any country of their choosing. Sherman applied for Romania and was chosen for her project: Transformation and Totalitarianism, Folk Music and Persistence of Romanian Identity. Sherman is currently pursuing her Masters degree in musicology. She completed her B.A. degree in music at UCR in 2002 as a transfer student from RCC in 2000.

Born in Romania and raised there until she was three years of age, Sherman was attracted to what the fellowship offered, “It has been a dream of mine to go study there since I was little. I want to learn more about my heritage,” Sherman commented. Sherman has made two trips back to Romania, however they each lasted only about two weeks. The fellowship program provided the opportunity to travel and study there for a significant period of time.

Sherman will study in Romania for nine months from October, 2004 through June, 2005. She will study at the Archives at the National University of Music in Bucharest. Her research methods include both musicologial and ethnomusicological approaches as she conducts field work based on interviews and attending festivals and rituals.

While in Romania, Sherman will examine folk music before communism, particularly folk songs that have to do with rituals, festivals, and rites of passage. Sherman stated, “It will be exciting to go and attend these events and see how they’ve changed.” Her research will examine how folk music after 1989 has been affected and changed by communist repression, popular resistance, and western cultural imperialism.

The application process for the fellowship proved to be a lot of “hard work” according to Sherman, but has “paid off.” The most arduous aspect of the application process was making the contact with the school, and designing and proposing her desired research project with their approval, “It took time to develop and make it good.” In addition, the application required three letters of recommendations, a language test, a statement of purpose, an on-line application, and other eligibility and application requirements.

Sherman credits College faculty from UCR and RCC as instrumental in her Fulbright award. Dr. Quin from RCC initially encouraged Sherman as an undergraduate to apply for the fellowship, “She was the first who saw that I could actually achieve this.” Professors Deborah Wong, Renee Coulombe, and Dr. Frederick Gable from the College’s Department of Music were influential and “helped me with the whole process,” Sherman stated.

Regarding her distinguished Fulbright honor Sherman added, “I didn’t realize the impact, it is overwhelming.” Sherman believes that her recognition will encourage students from Music as well other students in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences to apply for fellowships, “It is possible.”

For more information on Fulbright IIE Fellowship program, please visit the Institute of International Education website (http://www.iie.org).

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