June 09, 2020

Recent Alumnus Awarded Fulbright Grant in Uganda

Cole Harris BA ’20 is Lewis & Clark’s most recent alum to receive a Fulbright award following his undergraduate degree. Next year, Harris will travel to Kampala, Uganda, to conduct original research on the effects of Pentecostalism on community development.

by Scout Brobst BA ’20

Cole Harris BA '20 undertaking research in Zanzibar. Cole Harris BA ’20 undertaking research in Zanzibar.Lewis & Clark College is continuing its legacy of consistently producing Fulbright scholars, even in the midst of a pandemic. Cole Harris BA ’20 is the latest recipient of the highly competitive award, which will see him in Uganda in January of next year.

The Fulbright Scholar Program, widely regarded as the most prestigious international exchange program in the world, allows students, faculty, and professionals the opportunity to teach or research abroad in a subject of their choice. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1946, the program has long offered distinguished individuals the resources and support to bring nations together through intercultural dialogue.

Harris, who majored in international affairs and minored in political economy, will spend one academic year in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, researching the rise of Pentecostalism in developing countries and the effects of Pentecostal churches on community development. Pentecostalism, or the “born-again” movement, makes up a quarter of the world’s Christian population and is fast growing in developing countries, lending itself to further research.

“I am going to Uganda to learn, not to teach,” Harris says. “However, I think my research will help others understand the selection of community development programs internationally.”

According to Harris, this research project will engage a range of his interests including religion, development economics, and community building. These interests began during his overseas program to East Africa, where Harris was able to study across northern Tanzania and Zanzibar under the leadership of Associate Professor of International Affairs Elizabeth Bennett.

“Going to Tanzania was my first time overseas,” Harris says. “Without Lewis & Clark, I would not have gone abroad during college, especially on such a nontraditional program.”

It is this program that he credits with sparking his passion for social justice and international community development, work that he intends to continue in the fields of international affairs or development economics. In addition to his Fulbright award, Harris was also selected for the intensive Critical Language Scholarship, although the CLS Program has been canceled this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Before he begins his time as a Fulbright scholar, Harris will spend the summer as an equitable banking and curriculum development fellow with Beneficial State Foundation, an organization dedicated to financial justice and inclusive banking practices.

His advice to students is to seek out and seize every opportunity that Lewis & Clark has to offer. During his time at the college, Harris earned both a Gilman International Scholarship and an Oregon Consular Corps Scholarship, which he cites as essential for his ability to study overseas.

“Only you can determine how rigorous your four years will be,” Harris advises incoming students. “This is a time to grow, so push yourself, and you’ll be rewarded.”

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