Feinberg student receives fellowship to study in Asia

Olivia Exstrum, Reporter

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A first-year student in the Feinberg School of Medicine has been named a 2014 Luce Scholar, a national award that gives students the opportunity to live and work in East or Southeast Asia for a 10-month fellowship.

Andrew Peters, who is one of 18 students to receive the award, will be living in Japan, studying neurolinguistics and conducting research on aphasia and other language disorders.

“There’s a lot of research happening right now on how language works in the brain,” Peters said. “I think it’s an important field that needs research and I think I have the background to do something with it.”

Although Peters is currently unsure of what institution he will be working with, he will be doing research on language disorders in a university setting. Peters, who majored in linguistics during his undergraduate education at Carleton College, said he has always been interested in the study of language. However, he said he did not become interested in linguistics in relation to health until recently.

“Eventually I became interested in the language of the brain, because that’s where the intersection of those two interests, language and medicine, is,” Peters said.

The application process to become a Luce Scholar, which Peters began in September 2013, is lengthy. After NU chose Peters’ application for its nomination, he worked with the University to improve his application for submission to the Henry Luce Foundation, the organization that sponsors the fellowship. After an initial interview with a past winner, he was then recommended to the foundation and had a final interview in San Francisco with other finalists. Peters learned he had won in the first week of February, the evening of his final interview.

Although Peters has studied abroad in Japan before, he said he was mainly spending time with other American students and wasn’t very connected to the culture.

“I think this will be a good opportunity to challenge myself in a cultural immersion experience,” he said. “I’m also excited to be doing independent research.”

Peters will be arriving weeks before his 10-month fellowship, and during his year in Japan, he said he will be living and working on his own. Although the scholars are all placed in different countries, they will spend a week together in New York before traveling to San Francisco to depart separately. There will also be a few meet-ups between the scholars throughout the year.

Peters said he is looking forward to studying both language and medicine, but he said he is even more excited to experience a culture different than his own.

“I want to have gained in kind of a real and deep way a perspective different than what I have now,” he said. “And in terms of how I want to spend my career, I think this year will be a big influence in helping me figure that out.”

Email: oliviaexstrum2017@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @OliviaExstrum