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Moravian’s Cynthia Dretel '10 Receives Prestigious Fulbright Scholarship

Cynthia DretelBethlehem, Pa., April 29, 2011--Moravian College alumna Cynthia Dretel '10 was recently named a Fulbright Scholar, the eighth Moravian student to be awarded a prestigious Fulbright in the past twelve years. A member of the Class of 2010, Dretel will study at the Wroclaw University in Poland. She will be continuing her research into Polish music from the Holocaust that she began as an Honors student last year.

Dretel discovered manuscripts of szopki, Polish Nativity puppet plays, that written in two Holocaust concentration camps. The musical manuscripts were filed away in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and little or no scholarly work had been done on them. During the year of her Honors project, Dretel learned Polish in order to translate and analyze the plays to show their historical importance and how the symbols were code for life in the concentration camps.

"Cynthia's project was unlike any other Honors project I have directed. She literally brought to life a musical manuscript," said Dr. Larry Lipkis, professor of music, and composer-in-residence at Moravian who served as Dretel's advisor. "She transcribed the music, created a modern edition that can be performed by choirs, and researched the background of the szopki tradition. It was a prodigious task--practically two honors projects in one--and necessitated an inordinate amount of hard work. Cynthia met the challenges she put to herself and in the process grew enormously as a scholar and editor. She has now set herself on a path for many years of advanced study in Polish Holocaust research. When Cynthia's szopkis from the Dachau and Ravensbruck concentration camps are eventually published, she will have created a singular and significant addition to Holocaust studies. Choirs in Polish Catholic congregations whose members may have lost relatives in Dachau and other camps will have a poignant musical connection to their past."

Dretel joins a growing number of Moravian College students and alumni to receive the prestigious award. Rebecca Brandt '05 received a Fulbright in 2006 and traveled to Germany and served as a teaching fellow in Berlin, researching the existence of an unspoken divide between the former East and West Germany. In the 2005 academic year, two Moravian College students, Julie Anderson '05 and Leigh Ann Caruso '04 received Fulbright Scholarships to pursue studies in Germany. Anderson received a teaching fellowship in Berlin and researched German critical sources regarding Fulbright scholar, author and poet, Sylvia Plath. Caruso received a research fellowship and studied colonial Moravian emotional culture in Erfurt, Germany.

In 2002, Fulbright scholar: M. Leslie Smith, spent her Fulbright year in Madrid, Spain, studying the literary influences on Spanish women at the Universitario de Studios de la Mujer. Her honors project was a study of a short-lived but influential magazine for women published during the Franco era.

Previously three other Moravian College students were chosen Fulbright scholars: Marianne Zwicker '99, Daniel Byrne '00, and Courtney Rice '01. Zwicker spent a year in Berlin studying the Sinti and Roma (Gypsies) who were tribes targeted by the Nazi racial extermination policies. She then spent years working in Berlin as an English tutor and playing Celtic fiddle in a band. Byrne served as a teaching fellow in history in a German high school and continued his research on Nobel Prize-winning writer Heinrich Boll. Rice taught English at a middle school in Oberschonau in Saxony and continued research on 18th- and 19th-century Moravian education.

Brandt, Anderson and Caruso were mentored by Josef Glowa, who was an assistant professor of German at Moravian College. Zwicker, Byrne, and Rice were students of Hans Wuerth, professor emeritus of German at the College. M. Leslie Smith was advised by Carmen Ferrero, associate professor of Spanish. Previous students who received Fulbright Scholarships in the 1960's were: Patricia McAndrew, class of 1968, an honors history student who received a Fulbright to translate the major work of renowned Danish ballet master, August Bournonville; and Helen Kovach Bachochin, class of '65, received a Fulbright award to study at the University of Madrid, Spain.

The U.S. Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946, immediately after World War II, to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges. Today the Fulbright Program is the U.S. Government's premier scholarship program. It enables U.S. students, artists and other professionals to benefit from unique resources all over the world.

Each year the Fulbright Program allows Americans to study or conduct research in over 100 nations. The Institute of International Education (IIE) coordinates the activities relevant to the U.S. graduate student program and conducts an annual competition for the scholarships, most of which are for one academic year of study or research.

The Fulbright (Full Grant) provides round-trip transportation; language or orientation courses, where appropriate; tuition, in some cases; book and research allowances; and maintenance for the academic year.

The U.S. Student Program is designed to give recent B.S./B.A. graduates, masters and doctoral candidates, and young professionals and artists opportunities for personal development and international experience. Most grantees plan their own programs.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Moravian partners with students to build a strong foundation for their future. Visit the College's Web site at www.moravian.edu.