University News

U.’s largest award will be funded for another year

Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The David J. Zucconi ’55 Fellowship will once again offer the largest internal University award of $25,000 and an opportunity for one student to conduct independent research projects abroad in 2011. In past years, the award has funded research in countries such as Peru, Haiti, England and Germany.

For budgetary reasons, it was uncertain whether the fellowship would be offered in 2011, according to the Dean of the College’s website.

The fellowship was created to honor Zucconi’s five decades of commitment and support for Brown after he passed away in 2003. The award, quintessentially representing Brown, reflects the love and passion he held for his alma mater, said Wilfredo Perez ’08 MD’13, who conducted research in Haiti after receiving the 2008 fellowship.

“The fellowship is meant to honor a student who has been very involved in Brown community, someone who has established a strong relationship,” said Linda Dunleavy, chair of the Zucconi Fellowship and associate dean of the College for fellowships.

“You have to prove that you are involved with Brown for life,” Perez said.

Zucconi fellows are expected to return to Brown and give a lecture or offer a seminar or colloquium.

Between 17 and 30 students apply for the fellowship each year, and a diverse group of faculty members and administrators are involved in selecting the recipient, Dunleavy said. The deadline for the 2011 Zucconi Fellowship is in March.

This ensures that a recipient truly and completely embodies Brown in its many respects, Perez said.

The funds for the fellowship first originated from the Office of the President, Dunleavy said. An anonymous donor recently contributed to the fund and Brown hopes to eventually endow the fellowship.

“It’s planted the seed for everything I do. It’s started everything,” Perez said. “It changed my life. My dream had been to go to Haiti for six years. There was no way I could have gone on my own.”

In Haiti, Perez studied a tuberculosis prevention program and helped to design youth public health and education programs.

“The award changed my perspective on medicine. I wanted an anthropological perspective. I wanted to see what people were interested in, what they wanted,” Perez said. The experience helped Perez realize that he wanted to work with governments to change medical practices around the world, he said.

Every three or four months, Perez returns to Haiti, where he continues to be actively involved in its health programs.

Past Zucconi fellows include Daniel Sterba ‘08.5, who received the 2009 fellowship and studied green house construction in Germany, Dunleavy said. Currently Rebecca Mer ’10 is studying the efficacy and sustainability of arts programs in British prisons.

“The variety of projects speaks to the creativity and breadth of our student body,” Dunleavy said.