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Lundquist Fellowship continues to provide profound experiences, lasting memories
Monday, November 09, 2009

White water rafting in the Urubamba river, living in an islander’s home on Taquile island and meeting other travelers from all over the world are only a sampling of the amazing and memorable experiences Emily Zaita took home with her from Peru this past summer as this year’s Lundquist International Fellow.

The Lundquist Fellowship, which began in the International Studies Department, is currently administered by the School of Music.  It is awarded to a full-time freshman, sophomore or junior music major or minor who has attended Fredonia for at least two semesters and is interested in visiting a second-, third- or fourth-world country.

Emila Zaita, last year's Lundquist Fellowship recipient, enjoyed some mountain biking during her trip to Peru.

Each recipient begins with a three-credit, independent study course during the spring semester, learning about the culture, history and geography of a country they wish to visit.  Then, during their trip, recipients keep written accounts of their experiences throughout the summer and, upon returning to SUNY Fredonia, give presentations to various student groups across campus.

Peru appealed to Emily, now a junior from Wading River, N.Y., majoring in Music Education, because of its vibrant culture, as well as the opportunity it offered to meet and assist those less fortunate than she.

“I chose Peru because there was an organization there that I could volunteer at, working with underprivileged children, which is what I wanted to spend my time doing abroad,” she added.  “Traveling alone and living in a third-world country has given me the confidence to feel like I can do anything.”

While in Peru, Zaita volunteered at the Villa Martha Home for Children, working with orphaned 8 to 17-year-old girls.
That confidence has been extremely well earned. During her stay, Emily spent a majority of her time working at the Villa Martha Home for Children, where orphaned and poor children on the streets were given a place to eat, study and sleep. She worked with 8 to 17 year-old girls and, upon the unexpected departure of a staff member, became ultimately responsible for 23 girls.

The Fellowship created a pathway for Emily to experience true diversity and become immersed in an entirely unique culture, an opportunity that many students miss out on.“The Lundquist Fellowship caught my eye because it was so unique,” said Zaita. “The winner can pretty much go anywhere they want, planning and organizing their whole trip, which is an experience in itself. While I was volunteering at Villa Martha Home for Children, I had learned from the people I worked with about their homelands and how unique and beautiful these places were, which inspired an impromptu backpacking trip to Lima, Arequipa, Puno, Lake Titicaca and Cusco.

The Fellowship’s primary mission is to create opportunities for students to have first-hand experiences in other countries that they would not otherwise encounter.  It was established in 1995 by SUNY Fredonia Emeritus Professor Richard Lundquist, a former member of the School of Business who traveled to more than 70 different countries. Dr. Lundquist was heavily involved with the Fulbright Scholarship program, allowing him to interact with people from around the world.  His experiences had such a profound impact on him that he decided to share them with others.

“He believes that by getting to know other people, other cultures and other places, we are not only better people ourselves, but we can also make the world a better place for all,” said Paul Murphy, a former chair of the fellowship. “We share his belief in this and are so fortunate to be able to administer the fellowship for him.  The growth and change that the students undergo is truly amazing; each has returned with some kind of ‘it changed my life’ story.  It’s a wonderful program, and an excellent investment in human beings; all of us are fortunate to be involved in it.”

“The Lundquist program offered me a much-needed scholarship to study abroad in West Africa. Without such a program, I would have missed out on an opportunity that ultimately changed my life in many positive ways," said Christopher Jaquin, '99, a previous Lundquist Fellow and music education major.

SUNY Fredonia students wishing to apply for a Lundquist Fellowship must complete an application form available in the School of Music main office. The deadline for 2010 applications is Nov. 30, 2009.  For more information, contact Dr. Joni Milgram-Luterman, fellowship committee chair, at 673-4648 or

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